Goldman Sachs says England will still make it to the final — but lose to Belgium

Analysts from Goldman Sachs have predicted England’s path to the final of the Euros will see them tie against Ukraine and beat Denmark, only to cede the cup to the Belgians in the final.

The bank’s statistical model, which stimulates the European Cup, was updated on 30 June, after England beat Germany in a highly anticipated match.

Goldman’s analysts built their model by looking at the number of goals scored by each team using a dataset of international football matches since 1980.

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That research found that teams’ goal-scoring abilities could be explained by four criteria: the strength of the squad, goals scored and conceded in recent games, home advantages and a “tournament effect”, which shows some countries tend to outperform their usual rating in major competitions.

According to the note, Belgium, which is playing Italy today in the quarter-finals, will win 2-1 and face Spain in the semi-finals. The model predicts the Spaniards will tie with the Swiss later today.

Goldman’s team first predicted that Belgium would win the finals for the first time in history, but playing against Portugal, not England.

“The reason the model gives Belgium the edge is primarily its high Elo score, where it is ranked first amongst European nations,” said the bank’s introductory note published on 30 May. The World Football Elo Rating measures the strength of a team.

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“While we capture the stochastic nature of the tournament carefully, we also see that the forecasts are highly uncertain, even with sophisticated statistical techniques, simply because football is quite an unpredictable game,” the analysts added.

“This is, of course, precisely why football is so exciting to watch.”

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Bérengère Sim

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