England head into this summer’s European Championships looking for glory.
But instead of a glorious summer for the Three Lions, it may instead simply be more agony.
According to a simulation played out by a supercomputer teed up by football experts at Sportradar, it is predicted to be a tournament where an underdog triumphs… and where England suffer a familiar fate.
Via Sportradar’s innovative Simulated Reality solution, outsiders Czech Republic are tipped to triumph this summer, defeating Denmark in the Euro 2020 final next month.
The Czechs are predicted to oust the Danes – who themselves beat England at the semi-final stage – in a thrilling 3-2 final, to be crowned European champions for the first time.
Of course, the European Championships is known to throw up plenty of surprise winners and finalists – most recently when Greece lifted the trophy in 2004.
Both the Czech Republic – who reached the final in 1996, losing to Germany – and 1992 winners Denmark (who were only in that tournament version after Yugoslavia were disqualified), already know how it feels to come from nowhere to the main event.
On the England front, it’s predicted that Gareth Southgate’s side win all three group games.
Their opener vs Croatia ends 5-2, before edging out Scotland 1-0 and then bettering eventual winners Czech Republic 2-1 in their final group game.
England are then set to down France 3-1 at the Round of 16 stage before beating Poland 3-2 in the quarter-finals.
But they will then go down to the Danes at the last four stage – just three years after losing out to Croatia at that same round of the World Cup.
The Czechs run to the finals is set to include multiple shock results as they take the scalps of Spain, Germany and Portugal on their way to the final. Very Greece.
Jaroslav Silhavy’s side have four England-based players in his squad for the tournament including West Ham United duo Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal, alongside Burnley forward Matej Vydra and defender Tomas Kalas of Bristol City.
Werner Becher, Sportradar’s regional chief executive officer for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, said: “After such a long delay there’s a real sense of excitement about this tournament amongst fans.
“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.
“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.”
So how does it all work and how are the outcomes predicted?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning drives the Simulated Reality, drawing upon Sportradar’s historic database to create a huge number of different game situations, outcomes and game plays.
Becher added: “Simulated Reality football matches reflect team form and normal match conditions, using more than a decade’s worth of historic and statistical data to produce an immeasurable number of data points.
“We have created a product that truly reflects the fan experience when watching and betting on a real game. It is completely new and unique to the industry.
“Simulated Reality gives us the opportunity to model how real games would take place as they would happen in real stadiums. It’s all so fan-friendly.”