France is the favorite! EM forecast of the Chair of Epidemiology

The 2020 European Championship, postponed by a year due to the COVID 19 pandemic, starts Friday, June 11. The (statistical) favorite this time is France with a probability of winning of 14.8 percent. This is what an international team of researchers led by Gunther Schauberger (Chair of Epidemiology of Prof. Dr. Stefanie Klug), Andreas Groll and Franziska Popp (both TU Dortmund), Kristophe Ley and Hans Van Eetvelde (both University of Ghent/Belgium), Achim Zeileis (University of Innsbruck/Austria) and Lars Hvattum (Molde University of Applied Sciences/Norway) found out with the help of machine learning.

The forecast combines several statistical models for the teams' playing strengths with information on team structure (such as market value, number of Champions League players, club match performance of individual players) and socioeconomic factors of the country of origin (population and gross domestic product).

The entire European Championship was simulated 100,000 times using match results randomly generated by the model, match by match, following the tournament draw and all UEFA rules. This results in probabilities for the advancement of all teams in the individual tournament rounds and ultimately for the European Championship victory. The favorite this time is France with a probability of winning of 14.8 percent, followed by England (13.5) and Spain (12.3). Of course, the tournament is still not over - this is also shown by the relatively narrow gaps in the win probabilities at the top, as well as the already low probability of even the top nations.

So far, however, the forecasts have been quite successful: Achim Zeileis' Innsbruck model, which is based on adjusted odds from the betting providers, was already able to correctly predict the EURO final in 2008, as well as World and European Champions Spain in 2010 and 2012, among others. This year, it will be used as part of the more comprehensive combined model developed by teams led by Gunther Schauberger (TU Munich), Andreas Groll (TU Dortmund) and Christophe Ley (Ghent University), which even outperformed the betting providers' forecasting performance at the 2018 World Cup.

"I've been involved in these simulations since 2014 ahead of major tournaments such as the men's European or World Cup or even the 2019 Women's World Cup," explains Dr. Schauberger. "We have steadily improved on the statistical side over time and have been able to add more and more new information and methods."

In the German group, the forecast sees a probability of 85.3 percent for both Germany and Portugal to make it to the round of 16. For France, that probability is slightly higher at 89.7 percent. Germany's 10.1 percent probability of becoming European champion is well below that of the favorites and on a par with Portugal.

"Based on the solid statistical modeling, it will be really exciting to see whether the forecasts come true and how the 2020 European Championship will turn out in the end," says Prof. Klug. "Of course, I hope that the statistics are wrong and Germany becomes European champion!"


To the entire forecast with interactive graphics

To the homepage of the Chair of Epidemiology



Dr. Gunther Schauberger
Chair of Epidemiology
Georg-Brauchle-Ring 56
80992 München

phone: 089 289 24955
e-mail: gunther.schauberger(at)


Text: Stefan Hohenwarter/Uni Innsbruck/Romy Schwaiger
Photos/Graphics: Pixabay/private/Groll, Popp, Ley, Eetvelde, Schauberger, Zeileis & Hvattum