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50K Ansichten12 SeitenThis "report" gives you an understanding to why the EURO 2016 is unbalanced. Simulations show that teams from Group E has an approximately 28% lower chance of reaching the finals than teams from group A. UEFA is switching to having 24 teams in the EURO cup, and it's noticable that they haven't thought the mathematics through.

© © All Rights Reserved

PDF, TXT oder online auf Scribd lesen

This "report" gives you an understanding to why the EURO 2016 is unbalanced. Simulations show that teams from Group E has an approximately 28% lower chance of reaching the finals than teams from group A. UEFA is switching to having 24 teams in the EURO cup, and it's noticable that they haven't thought the mathematics through.

© All Rights Reserved

Als PDF, TXT **herunterladen** oder online auf Scribd lesen

100%(1)100% fanden dieses Dokument nützlich (1 Abstimmung)

50K Ansichten12 SeitenThis "report" gives you an understanding to why the EURO 2016 is unbalanced. Simulations show that teams from Group E has an approximately 28% lower chance of reaching the finals than teams from group A. UEFA is switching to having 24 teams in the EURO cup, and it's noticable that they haven't thought the mathematics through.

© All Rights Reserved

Als PDF, TXT **herunterladen** oder online auf Scribd lesen

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Sebastian Wolsing

November 21, 2015

Introduction

As we know, the qualification stage for the European football cup in 2016

is over and the teams are waiting for the upcoming draw for the group

stage. The tournament is played in France, and starts on the 10/6-2016. If

you are new to the concept of football tournaments, the things you need to

know are basically that teams qualify and get seeded into different seeding pots as seen in Table 1. The better teams are seeded into pots with low

numbers, and the teams with a lower seed are put into a higher-number

pot.

Each group (A-F) will consists of one country from each seeding pot, to

make the tournament more fair.

Pot 1

Pot 2

Pot 3

Pot 4

Spain

Italy

Czech Republic Turkey

England Russia

Sweden

Republic of Ireland

Germany Switzerland Poland

Iceland

Portugal Austria

Romania

Wales

Belgium Croatia

Slovakia

Albania

France*

Ukraine

Hungary

Northern Ireland

* since France is the host, they are already put into Group A.

Table 1: Seeding pots for EURO 2016

When making the draw, most of us can make the assumption that it doesnt

matter which group we end up in, it only matters what teams we face in

the group stage. But in this particular Euro cup, this is not the case.

If we take a look at the playoff-structure from when the group stage is

finished, the match-ups for the round of 16 looks like this:

(1A means the winner in group A, and 2F means the runner-up in group

F for example)

Match 1 2A vs. 2C

Match 2 1D vs. 3B/E/F*

Match 3 1B vs. 3A/C/D*

Match 4 1F vs. 2E

Match 5 1C vs. 3A/B/F*

Match 6 1E vs. 2D

Match 7 1A vs. 3C/D/E*

Match 8 2B vs. 2F

* decided by another table, see UEFAregulations (article 17.03, p.16)

Table 2: Structure of the round of 16

We can see in Table 2 that since we have six groups, with one winner and

one runner-up in each group, we only get 12 teams advancing to the playoffs. These 12 teams together with the four best third-placed teams form

the 16 participating in the playoffs. This means that the mathematical symmetry in the normal eight-group system they use in the FIFA world cups

can now not be used anymore.

From Table 2 we can conclude a few things:

1. The winners of group A, B, C and D get to face third-placed teams,

when the winners of group E and F move on to face runner-ups (A

clear disadvantage)

2. The runner-ups of group A, B, C and F get to face other runner-ups,

when the runner-ups of group D and E move on to face winners (A

clear disadvantage).

2

4. Group D and F gets advantages of one, and disadvantages of the

other.

5. Group E gets the disadvantages of both.

This would in theory mean that teams that move into the playoffs from

group E already has a lower probability of reaching the quarterfinals just

by getting drawn into group E. For group D and F this means that they

will have a higher probability than the teams from group E, but a lower

probability than the ones from group A, B or C.

This can also be seen in Table 3, which illustrates what opponents the

different teams get in the first round of the playoffs.

Winners = 1

Runner-up = 2

Third-placed = 3

Group

Winner

Runner-up

Sum*

A

B C D

Third placed (3) 3 3 3

Runner-up (2)

2 2 First placed (1)

3+2=5

5 5 4

* lower value indicates higher difficulty

E

2

1

3

F

2

2

4

We see in Table 3 that teams from group E are at a bigger disadvantage

when it comes to moving through the round of 16.

If we look at the quarterfinal structure in Table 4 we notice one thing. The

winner of match 1 (from the first match in the Round of 16) and the winner of match 8 (last match in the same round) will be runner-ups from the

group stage, so the winners of match 2 and match 7 will automatically face

a runner-up in the quarterfinals.

Match 9

Match 10

Match 11

Match 12

Winner of Match 1

Winner of Match 3

Winner of Match 5

Winner of Match 7

vs.

vs.

vs.

vs.

Winner of Match 2

Winner of Match 4

Winner of Match 6

Winner of Match 8

If we look at what groups they come from, it could be one of the following:

1. Winner of groups A or D

2. Third placed team from group B/E/F*

3. Third placed teams from group C/D/E*

(*less likely since they face a winner in the round of 16.)

What we expect to see here is that the groups A and D will be at an

advantage in the quarterfinals, since the winners of group A and D will be

the only ones who can never face another group winner until the semifinals.

2.1

Summarizing

winners to be higher for a team from group A than a team from any other

group.

Table 5 describes the hardest way for each advancing team (assuming

the best ranked team always win). For example, in order for the winner of

group A to win the tournament, their hardest road to become champions

are one third-placed team (3), one runner-up (2) and one winner (1)

3+2+1 = 6 in total. The higher this value is, the easier it is for the team (in

theory) to win the championship.

Group

Winner

Runner-up

Sum*

A

B

C

D

E

3+2+1 3+1+1 3+1+1 3+2+1 2+1+1

2+1+1 2+1+1 2+1+1 1+1+1 1+1+1

10

9

9

9

7

* lower value indicates higher difficulty

F

2+1+1

2+1+1

8

Simulations

Of course, simulations were made to illustrate this issue more. The following histograms show 100.000 iterations of EURO 2016 simulations and

the corresponding winners. The simulations are weighted so that the best

team gets a high probability of winning against the worst team.

We can clearly see that group E and F are at a big disadvantage compared

to the other ones.

We can see that Figure 1 shows what Table 3 illustrated before, that

groups A, B and C have a much easier way of reaching the quarterfinals

than the other groups, and that group E trails behind.

Figure 2 shows the outcome of the quarter-finals, and that this way

of matching the playoffs (like said before) would increase the chances of

teams from group A and group D slightly in the quarterfinal rounds.

Finally, Figure 3 shows simulations which is in complete sync with Table 5, which shows the complete probability of winning the playoffs from

the different groups. Based on these results, it is 28% less probable that a

team from group E will win compared to a team from group A, which (to

me) seem to be outside of the fair game-range.

Improvements

So, how to improve the results? You could easily argue that this is not the

optimal way of organising a European championship, so what should you

do instead?

Well first of all you could start of by saying that a six-group system is

useless from a mathematical point of view, but that isnt very helpful. You

could also state that 24 teams in a tournament where 16 teams advance

to the playoffs is not a good idea either. But there are ways of fixing the

problem.

The things UEFA want to take in consideration are:

1. Teams from the same group should not face each other in the first

round of the playoffs. (Condition 1)

2. The playoff-tree should be symmetric (i.e. three winners on one side

and the other three winners on the other side, same goes for the

runner-ups and the third placed teams) (Condition 2)

Trying to take this into account, we can draw the following conclusion:

Six teams of first place 6 1 = 6

Six teams of second place 6 2 = 12

Four teams of third place 4 3 = 12

Since the sum of these (6 + 12 + 12 = 30) is not divisible by the number

of matches in the round of 16 (8), then the teams can not be symmetrically

distributed. However, if there would be four groups of six teams in each

instead, the sum would be 4 1 + 4 2 + 4 3 + 4 4 = 40 which is divisible by 8.

Since UEFA desperately want to make this work with six groups, then

we need to discard our first condition from before. We can then form a

symmetric playoff-tree by ranking all the the teams that advance by 1-16

(according to the way the best third placed teams are ranked), and then

9

Match 1

Match 2

Match 3

Match 4

Match 5

Match 6

Match 7

Match 8

W(1)

R(2)

W(3)

W(6)

W(5)

W(4)

R(1)

W(2)

vs.

vs.

vs.

vs.

vs.

vs.

vs.

vs.

T(4)

R(3)

T(2)

R(5)

R(6)

T(1)

R(4)

T(3)

In Table 6, the best winner is denoted by W(1), best runner-up by R(1)

and the best third placed team by T(1).

Simulations of this (Figure 4 and 5) show that this playoff structure is

more fair, but maybe it is less practical for the teams. They would not

know where their matches were to be played until all of the group stage

would be finished. Still considering mathematical fairness, this is the way

to go. One could also argue for a winner/loser bracket system, but I think

it would cost too much to have so many games. Otherwise that would be

the best.

10

(a) Quarter-finalists

(b) Semi-finalists

4.1

Final thoughts

One thing worth noting is that the rules state that the host country is

supposed to be in group A, where there should be a higher probability

of winning. Also since the host country is automatically seeded in Pot 1

regardless of skill, one could argue that with this system, group A is a pot

of gold. When I watch the draw at the 12/12-2015, I will make sure to

cheer a little extra for the teams in Group E, because they will need it.

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