The Euro 2020 group stages are over, and we now know the final eight teams remaining and who stands in their way of playing in the semifinals. England will face off against Ukraine, with the winners facing either Denmark or the Czech Republic. The other half of the draw includes Belgium, Spain, Italy, and Switzerland.
Super Computer Predicts a Shock Winner
Despite the draw’s lopsided nature, Sportradar’s Supercomputer has gone ahead and predicted a shock tournament winner, and it is a team that England has already beaten.
Sportradar’s Simulated Reality had tipped the Czech Republic to lift the trophy before the tournament started, but it had predicted them to beat Denmark in the final. However, because of how the matches played out, this final between the Czechs and the Danes is not possible as the two will meet in the quarterfinals after the Czechs beat the Netherlands and the Danes beat the Welsh.
The Czechs won 2-0 against Scotland in their first match at Hampden Park, drew 1-1 versus Croatia in their second match, and then lost 1-0 to England at Wembley to finish third in their group and set up a Round of 16 matches with the Netherlands, whom they beat 2-0.
Jaroslav Silhavy’s team has four players that play in England, and these are Vladimir Coufal and Tomas Soucek from West Ham, Matej Vydra of Burnley, and Tomas Kalas who plays for Bristol City. Most of the other players play for Slavia Prague, so there is a good team spirit among the group as they know each other very well.
Now, if you take a look at a good comparison site such as bettingonlinesverige.se, you will see that none of the top sports betting sites in Europe are giving the Czech Republic any chance of winning the tournament. Also, many football fans will laugh out loud at the idea of the Czech Republic winning the European Championship. For example, the likes of William Hill and 888sport have given them odds of 80/1 to win the trophy.
However, this is a competition that has thrown up a lot of surprise winners and finalists over the years. For instance, who would have expected Greece to lift the trophy back in 2004? Also, there would not have been many people who would have thought that Portugal would go on to win Euro 2016 by only winning one game and barely making it out of the group stage.
So How Does The Predictor Work?
The Simulated Reality is driven by machine learning and Artificial Intelligence, making use of Sportradar’s huge database to create a variety of different gameplays, match situations, and outcomes. The Simulated Reality landed five perfect scores and ten correct results during the group stages. It predicted that Belgium would win 3-0 against Russia, France would beat Germany 1-0, and that Austria would beat Ukraine 1-0 too. It also correctly predicted that Switzerland and Wales would play out a 1-1 draw and that Spain would also draw 1-1 against Poland.
Werner Becher, who is Sportradar’s Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Middle East Regional Chief Executive, says that their Simulated reality makes use of 20 years of historic footballing data to give fans an experience that is as close to reality as possible. He goes on to say that the Euro 2020 has shown just how accurate their simulations can be, so those fans who laughed at the Czech Republic being predicted to win the competition might want to reconsider based on how well they did in the group stage.
The Czechs made it to the final of the 1996 European Championship and were beaten thanks to a Golden Goal by Germany’s Oliver Bierhoff. Nobody expected them to get that far, since they had only been an independent country for three years, so what is stopping them from shocking everyone once more and going deep into the competition.
They Have Proven They Can Compete with the Best
Jaroslav Silhavy’s appointment as the Czech Republic coach in 2018 was a turning point in the country’s football fortunes, and they have shown that they can compete with some of the best teams in Europe. There is no doubt that Silhavy has benefited greatly from Slavia Prague’s success at the club level, knocking out the likes of Rangers and Leicester City in this year’s Europa League.
During the qualifiers for Euro 2020, they got an impressive 2-1 win against England, which was the first time that England had lost a qualifier in ten years. They also got a very credible 1-1 draw with Belgium in a 2022 World Cup qualifier. Silhavy is reliant on a rock-solid defense and direct, quick play. In Soucek, he has one of the best midfielders in the Premier League at his disposal, while Coufal has shown that he can keep some of the best players in the world quiet.
The Czech Republic might not have better players than the likes of Belgium and England, but they can make it difficult for teams thanks to their cleverness, aggression, and ferocity.
Our Opinion on This Prediction
Now, while we would love this prediction to be correct, and while we also agree that the Czechs can give the big boys a game nowadays, we do not think that we will go on to lift the trophy as we believe that the likes of France, Italy, and Belgium will prove too strong.
However, if we can somehow make it past the Danes, then there is no reason why we cannot beat England or Ukraine in the quarters. We have already shown that we can compete against England, while the Netherlands defeated Ukraine in the group stage. If we managed to make it to the semi-final, we would likely be playing one of Spain or Italy, and if a little bit of luck goes our way, there is no reason why we cannot go deep into the tournament. Although, as we said, our chances of winning it are probably pretty slim. Whatever happens, let’s just enjoy the ride!