France likely to be EURO 2016 champion, statisticians predict

London: As Europe's best national football teams kick off the EURO 2016 on June 10, statisticians have predicted that France will be the most likely winner of the tournament defeating defending champion of the competition Spain in the final. By applying their statistical model based on bookmakers' odds, the team of researchers previously correctly predicted the 2008 EURO final and Spain as the 2010 FIFA World Cup Champion and the 2012 EURO Champion. According to this model developed by the researchers, France will be the most likely winner of the tournament in 2016 with a winning probability of 21.5 percent, closely followed by Germany with a winning probability of 20.1 percent.  The defending European Champion Spain follows with 13.7 percent, while England and Belgium are the "best of the rest" with lower winning chances of 9.2 and 7.7 percent respectively. There is a high probability that the friendly game between France and Germany, which took place in Paris on November 13, 2015 and was abruptly interrupted by the terror attacks, will be replayed as a tournament match at this year's EURO semifinal, the researchers said. The winner of this match will most likely play against Spain, according to the model. The scientists have applied a statistical model that proved reliable in forecasting the results of the last two EURO and FIFA World Cup events -- the bookmaker consensus model.  To forecast the winner, the academics obtained long-term winning odds of 19 online bookmakers, which, in combination with complex statistical models, allow for the simulation of all possible courses of the tournament and results.  The bookmaker model also allows the prediction of the likely teams for the final game, by simulating the whole tournament 100,000 times and assessing who will proceed from the group-phase to the round of 16, the quarter and semifinals and eventually to the final.  "In all models, France and Germany are determined the clear winners within their group. Therefore, it is much more likely that these two teams will meet in the semifinal rather than in the final -- the winner of the semifinal will most likely play against Spain," explained Achim Zeileis, one of the researchers from University of Innsbruck in Austria, in a statement. Since both teams are estimated to be equally strong, with France having a very small lead, the probability to meet Spain in the final is 5.7 percent for France and 5.4 percent for Germany.  Both teams are estimated to win against Spain with France having slight edge over Germany.