Commentary

Odds of Euro 2012 qualifying

Germany, Spain and Croatia are the favorites to advance

Updated: March 24, 2011, 4:53 PM ET
By Albert Larcada | ESPN Stats and Information
England Soccer TeamIan Kington/AFP/Getty ImagesAfter failing to qualify in 2008, England has good odds to win its group this year.

As European club leagues take a brief hiatus for international play this weekend, the soccer world will return its attention to Euro 2012 qualifying. It has been more than four months since the last qualification match, so let's catch up on where each group stands using ESPN's Soccer Power Index.

As a reminder, SPI is a predictive algorithm designed to forecast future soccer events internationally and domestic leagues in Europe. We can use SPI to find individual match predictions, international tournament predictions or domestic club league predictions. In this case we will use SPI to simulate all of the remaining matches in European Championship qualifying 10,000 times to find out each country's chances of making Euro 2012.

There are nine groups in Euro qualifying, six groups with six countries and three groups with five. The winner of each group will advance automatically to the Euros. The second-place team with the most points from matches versus the first-, third-, fourth- and fifth-placed teams in its group also advances automatically. The remaining eight second-placed teams will play in four home-and-home contests with the winners advancing through.

Thus, the only way to guarantee a spot in the Euros is to win your group.

With that knowledge, here is a group-by-group breakdown of each team's chances of finishing first or second in its group (check out the current standings here):


To read more which teams have the best chance of advancing in Euro Cup Qualifying, you must be an ESPN Insider.

Albert Larcada is an Analytics Specialist in ESPN's Stats & Information group. Among other analytics projects, he maintains, advances and writes about ESPN's Soccer Power Index (SPI) algorithm.