The Super Computer has spoken and, well, it sounds a little like the Wizard of Oz. It's international football tournament time and that can mean only one thing: big, booming predictions in a flood of promotional emails from bookmakers and their partners trying to sell their wares.

Here's Werner Becher, a regional chief executive at data company Sportradar, who have predicted the outcome of every match at Euro 2020, to explain.

“We’ve tapped into the breadth of our technical capabilities to simulate the tournament, processing millions of data points from the last 20 years in order to identify the winning team,” says Becher.

Okay, we're all ears Werner. It's Spain, isn't it? Nope? France, surely? Oh, go on, tell us.

“Football is unpredictable, it’s one of the things we love most about the game, but few fans would have put Czech Republic and Denmark in the final,” adds Werner, sounding a little like Donald Trump talking about Covid science when he claims the Czechs will beat England, Spain, Germany and Portugal on their way to defeating the Danes in next month's final at Wembley.

Just as Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion learned that the Emerald City's resident soothsayer was really a snake oil salesman from Kansas, full-scale simulations of football tournaments are not to be trusted.

Thus, there will be no outlandish claims in what you read next. Instead, this is a simple look at the key trends that apply to previous winners of a European Championship and which teams at this year's finals fit them best. In the interests of maintaining a credible sample we have discounted records from 1960-1976 when the final competition was played out by just four teams.


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A very experienced coach

Throughout the history of the European Championship, a man who has walked the miles as manager has guided his team to the title. The youngest was Berti Vogts, who was 49 when he presided over Germany's victory at Euro 96. While he was a relative spring chicken at the time, Vogts had been coaching for 21 years when achieving the feat. Since then, no coach with fewer than 25 years' experience has coached his team to the crown, with Otto Rehhagel (36 years) topping the list with Greece in 2004.

It's a positive trend for Austria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and, of course, Scotland with Steve Clarke boasting 22 years to his name.

Average caps

It stands to reason that a little bit of extra knowhow goes a long way when sides are of similar abilities – and previous tournament winners share one thing in common: players with lots of experience. This magic number is skewed somewhat by Spain's win in 2008 but that was a generational team – and there were seasoned internationals in the squad such as Iker Casillas and Xabi Alonso – that subsequently won the World Cup two years' later and the 2012 Euros with a side that was by then the most-experienced in the tournament. If we omit Spain in 2008 the average number of caps won by the winning side comes in at 30.8 – add them in and it's 29.7. Either way, it's not hard to work out where the sweet spot is and it's a thumbs up for Belgium, Portugal, France, Italy, Croatia, Sweden but not such good news for Scotland, Czech Republic, Hungary, England or Turkey.

Current form

This is a big indicator of who does what at a European Championship. Rarely does a team land from the clouds to win one. Denmark's players were famously on the beach when they got the call telling them they were replacing Yugoslavia at the 1992 finals. Nevertheless, they were not just makeweights – they had won four, drawn two and lost just one of their previous seven international matches heading into the tournament. It stands to reason that teams brimming with confidence will carry that with them. That's a plus for the aforementioned Danes but also Italy, Wales, Belgium, Netherlands, England, Spain, France, Portugal and Hungary.


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Competition history

The same six teams recur in a trawl of previous winners, runners-up and semi-finalists since 1980. That's a big tick beside the names of Germany (7), Portugal (5), Italy (4), France (4), Spain (3) and Netherlands (3).

Odds and sods

It's not a tournament for back-to-back winners. As noted above, Spain (2008 and 2012) are the only team to manage it in the 61-year history of the Euros. Nor is it a competition for host countries which is a minor negative for England. Despite matches being played in 11 different cities, they are de facto hosts with games at Wembley all the way to the final should they proceed as expected. Only France, in 1984, have taken full advantage of home status. France and Spain have lifted the Euros after winning the previous World Cup but that has tended to be the exception. Three previous Euro winners did not qualify for the World Cup two years earlier – a plus for Italy and Portugal. Finally, a quick look at the pre-tournament odds does nothing really to sharpen the picture. Greece were 150/1 outsiders in 2004 and Portugal could be backed at double-figure odds five years ago but the market wasn't far away for Spain's two wins and France's in 2000, while Germany were 5/1 to win Euro 96.


It's hard to look past Italy, France (5/1 favourites) and 2016 winners Portugal (9/1) as the names for the shortlist. All three have the pedigree required to lift the Henri Delaunay on July 11 but if it's a single golden ticket you want then we'll plump for a win bet on Italy at a best-priced 8/1. Coach Roberto Mancini has the necessary experience and an exuberant squad which is in red-hot form having not lost a match since September 2018.