For each of the four leagues there is one EURO berth to be contested. These are the 16 group winners from the Nations League 2018:
league A: Switzerland, Portugal, Netherlands, England
league B: BosniaHerzegovina, Ukraine, Denmark, Sweden
league C: Scotland, Norway, Serbia, Finland
league D: Georgia, FYR Macedonia, Kosovo, Belarus
However, when a group winner qualifies directly their spot in these playoffs goes to the next best ranked, not directly qualified, team in their own league. When there are not enough teams in a league available to fill all empty spots (vacated by directly qualified group winners), best ranked and not directly qualified teams from the overall Nations League ranking can occupy the empty playoff spot. All this under the restriction that a group winner can not compete in a playoff against teams from a higher league.
When the 16 participants for the playoffs are determined (in the order from league D to league A) the four playoff paths are populated in the same order of leagues and under the following conditions:
 a group winner can not be in the same path as a team from a higher league;
 when there are 4 or more teams from a league under the participants, a path of 4 of them has to be formed by drawing from all teams of the specific league;
 there is a special case when hostcountries of EURO 2020 are destined to be paired together in a path, when UEFA will perform a seeded draw to separate these teams.
All in all a somewhat complex procedure to determine the composition of the four playoff paths.
Each of the four playoff paths consists of two (oneoff) semifinals and a final with the winner qualified for EURO 2020.
Here are the probabilities (in %) generated over 10.000 simulations for each UEFA team to qualify for EURO 2020, directly (Qdirect) or via the playoffs (posemi, pofinal and powin). In column Qtot the total probability to qualify for EURO 2020 as the sum of Qdirect and powin. Teams are ordered by this last column.

The usual suspects top this list, I would say of course :)
Great probabilities to qualify for their first EURO for the established teams in the league D playoff: Georgia, FYR Macedonia and Belarus. Kosovo has to pull off a miracle though.
I will keep track of the developments in these qualification probabilities after each pair of qualifiers matchdays next year.
About me:
Software engineer, happily unmarried and nonreligious. You won't find me on Twitter or other so called social media. Dutchman, joined the blog in March 2018.
Ed, can you give us the currently most probable playoff semifinal pairs in all four leagues?
ReplyDeleteHi nogomet, here is a full matrix of all pairs for both the semi finals and the finals:
Deletehttps://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1WAT8U8HzqHOm214PMq1PBlLCz4KTJTCRx_8X8KSd8A/edit?usp=sharing
Hm... How can Iceland have a 22.76% chance of playing in League C playoffs? In fact, all League A teams have a certain probability of playing in League B and League C playoffs. How can that be?
DeleteIt's not being in league C playoffs, but playing a team from league C.
DeleteIn fact there is no guarantee that there will be a seperate playoff for each league (it is guaranteed only if a NL group winner does not quaify from that league)
To elaborate: there were 12 teams in League A. In order for a playoff consisting only of League A teams to be formed, no more than 8 of them should qualify directly. But given the strength of the League A teams, it's likely that at least 9 of them will qualify directly, so the remaining spots in the League A playoffs will be filled by teams from League B.
DeleteBut bear in mind that UNL group winners cannot play playoffs against teams from a higher league. So, if in League B there are too few teams that neither won their UNL group nor qualified directly, the remaining spots in the League A playoffs will have to be filled by League C teams.
That is understood. But still, I'm looking for the answer what are the most probable playoff semifinal pairs per league at the moment? I cannot find anywhere the static predictions that would say, e.g. currently the most likely League A playoffs would be: Iceland  Slovakia, Poland  Bulgaria. League B playoffs: Northern Ireland  Austria, Ireland  Israel. And so on all the way to League D.
DeleteAs I said, it is not even guaranteed that there would be a playoff for each league. If for example exactly 8 teams from leagues A and B would qualify, the other 8 would be mixed in a seeded draw among all of them.
DeleteIn the matrix you could see each pairing, it covers all possible options (and the host of the semi finals is the higher ranked in NL overall rankings)
If there are 4 nonqualified teams from League A and 4 nonqualified teams from League B  aren't teams from League A supposed to play together, and teams from League B also together?
DeleteBTW, can you give me the currently projected semifinal parings for all 4 playoff paths?
"If there are 4 nonqualified teams from League A and 4 nonqualified teams from League B  aren't teams from League A supposed to play together, and teams from League B also together?"
DeleteThe answer is no, only a NL group winner is guaranteed to play against teams from its league or a lower one.
I can calculate the specific 8 pair combination that is the most likely, but it is very sensitive to small changes (1 team change could change every pairing), and has a lower than 1% chance of happening exactly like that, so I see no point in that...
DeleteAmir, there is also the condition that if there are 4 or more teams from a league participating in the playoffs, a playoff path of four of those teams must be formed. In the case of more than 4 teams from a league UEFA performs a draw among all the playoff teams from the specific league to populate the specific playoff path.
DeleteI think nogomet is right in the described example.
You right Ed, I forgot about this rule, so change my example to 3 teams from league A and 3 from league B (none of them group winner) not qualifying directly
DeleteTop 5 matchups in the semifinals of each playoff path (playing home and away or vice versa is summed). Generated over 10.000 simulations.
Deleteleague A
Iceland  Poland 2,86%
Iceland  Russia 2,20%
Iceland  Israel 2,01%
Iceland  Czech Republic 1,94%
Iceland  Bulgaria 1,94%
league B
Northern Ireland  BosniaHerzegovina 4,97%
Northern Ireland  Ukraine 4,38%
Republic of Ireland  BosniaHerzegovina 3,37%
Republic of Ireland  Ukraine 3,03%
Ukraine  Sweden 2,62%
league C
Serbia  Norway 11,68%
Norway  Finland 9,91%
Scotland  Finland 8,86%
Serbia  Finland 8,05%
Norway  Israel 7,65%
league D
Kosovo  FYR Macedonia 34,91%
Georgia  Belarus 33,38%
Georgia  Luxembourg 11,36%
Kosovo  Belarus 10,74%
Luxembourg  FYR Macedonia 3,14%
What do you mean playing home and away is summed? In each matchup, the higher ranked team will always play at home...
DeleteYou're right Amir, but I was too lazy to check that and just summed both halves of the matrix. I just haven't paid attention to the home and away playing team in each matchup. That's what I wanted to express.
DeleteI also just discovered that the presented percentages for the matchups should be doubled. I thought yesterday that all matchups in a path had to sum to 100% but of course it concerns TWO semifinals in each path so the division by two was incorrect.
So f.i. Georgia  Belarus has a 66,76% probability.
Thanks, Ed! Still not quite what I was asking for, but it's a start. :)
DeleteMaybe someone else can calculate what the most proabable semifinal pairs and predicted playoff winners are at the moment, provided that most probable teams qualify via regular qualifiers.
I'm talking about the static predictions, where we assign a 100% probability that the two teams with the highest probability of qualifying in each qualifying group indeed qualify.
DeleteAlthough it's not what you asked exactly (which was: Ed, can you give us the currently most probable playoff semifinal pairs in all four leagues? See above :D ) I understand your question better now. Taking per group the top two with highest probability to qualify directly out of the equation, the following 8 semifinals in the 4 playoff paths will remain:
DeleteLeague D (4 groupwinners)
Georgia  Belarus
FYR Macedonia  Kosovo
League C (4 groupwinners)
Scotland  Finland
Norway  Serbia
Those were the two easy paths to form :)
Then there remains Iceland (A), Slovakia, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (B) and Bulgaria, Israel, Hungary and Romania (C).
As there are 4 teams from C they must form a path together, and the remaining teams will form the path for league A:
League 'B' (actually C)
Bulgaria  Romania
Israel  Hungary
League A (mostly B though)
Iceland  Northern Ireland
Slovakia  Republic of Ireland
No draws required to form these paths.
Resulting qualifiers for EURO 2020 based on current probabilities: Georgia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Slovakia.
Yes, that's it! Sorry for not being clear enough. :)
DeleteIs it too much to ask that you include these static projections after each update in the main post? I think it provides a clearer picture of what the most probable final outcome is.
No problem, will do !
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Delete@Ed, it is not correct that a draw will not be needed (having group RU having easier path is exactly what UEFA tried avoiding with the complicated rules it set up).
DeleteLeague C group winners will play against each other as you said, but Bulgaria, Romania, Israel, Hungary, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Slovakia, Republic of Ireland will all be seeded in 4 pots with 2 teams each and be drawn into 2 paths.
Maybe that's what confused you:
Delete"If four or more teams from a league enter the playoffs, a path with four teams from the league in question must be formed."
That doesn't mean that if 8 teams from a league are in the PO, 2 paths of these teams must be formed.
Amir, it's all about art 16.03 from the EURO 2020 regulations:
DeleteThe UEFA administration conducts a draw to allocate teams to the different playoffs path, starting with UEFA Nations League D, subject to the following conditions:
a. A group winner cannot form a path with a team from a higherranked league in the overall UEFA Nations League rankings.
b. If four or more teams from a league enter the playoffs, a path with four teams from the league in question must be formed.
c. Additional conditions may be applied, subject to approval by the UEFA Executive Committee, including seeding principles and the possibility of final tournament host associations having to be drawn into different paths.
In this specific case the teams participating in the playoffs come from leagues:
A: 1
B: 3
C: 8
D: 4
I interpret b) as I described: there are 4 teams from C left (after path D and C were formed), so they should be put together in one path.
You argue that there is already one path formed with teams from league C and that the rest of the league C teams land in a seeded draw together with the A and B teams.
I have seen sofar one example in an official UEFA document which comes closest to this case, but in that example there were 2 from A, 3 from B and 3 from C remaining. And in that case indeed a seeded draw was performed over all 8 teams to form the paths for A and B.
So for now, as far as I'm concerned, it remains unclear how UEFA is going to proceed in this specific case with 1 A, 3 B's and 4 C's remaining. Could be what I assumed, could be what you assumed :)
These rules have to be applied in the order from path D to A, so for the composition of each path these 3 conditions should be applied again, given the situation (regarding the remaining teams and the leagues they are from) at the moment the specific path is formed.
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DeleteEven if you are right, which is very possible, After reading it again I believe a seeded draw would take place to determine how to divide these 8 league C teams into 2 paths.
DeleteIf Serbia would qualify directly instead of Ukraine for example, then surely all other group C winners would play the same playoff path, to avoid playing team from a better league. That's what I meant earlier that the predictions are not stable... One small change changes a lot
DeleteThat's right Amir, I think I can agree with your 1:10 PM post :)
DeleteThere should indeed be a seeded draw between the 8 Cteams with 4 pots of two teams. Place the teams in order of their league C ranking in the pots. The first two pots contain the 4 groupwinners from C and the last two pots contain the four remaining Cteams. First team drawn from each pot goes to path C, the other team from the pot goes to path B. In that way it is assured that the two groupwinners in each path play in separate semifinals against a non groupwinner. The fairest solution indeed.
Is the simulation based on Elo or something else? It puzzles me why the Qdirect probabilities don't line up with the Elo ranking. For example Serbia is ahead of Ukraine in Elo, they're in the same group, but Ukraine is more likely to qualify directly. The same happens with Netherlands / Germany, Switzerland / Denmark, Austria / Poland, Israel / Macedonia and Finland / Greece, at least. Additionally, Israel and Slovenia are tied on Elo but Slovenia is 11 %points more likely to qualify directly?
ReplyDeleteI'd get it if it was a tiny difference one way in Elo and a tiny difference the other way in the simulation, that can happen, but some of the differences are sizeable.
Perhaps the fixture schedule is to blame. Serbia start with a bye followed by two toughest away games in their opening three rounds  Portugal and Ukraine. By round four they might be behind Ukraine on Elo points, which is what could give Ukraine the projected edge over them.
DeleteTimoteus, the result of each scheduled match is calculated with ClubElo's probability distribution functions for goals scored for each team in the match. These functions are dependent on the winexpectancy of the home team according to elo at the moment the match is played.
ReplyDeleteSo nogomet is right, the order of matches in a group according to the match schedule influences the hometeam win expectancy of the next match a team plays.
Generally the qualification probabilites should follow the eloranking, but small distortions are always possible, because I work with probability distribution functions.
After all that's the reason why a simulation gives insight in possibilities instead of just predicting the groupstandings based on the eloranking.
I ran 100K simulations without changimg the Elo between the matches after each simulated result, and therefor my simulations follow Elo more closely:
ReplyDeletehttp://simtheworld.blogspot.com/2018/12/uefaeuro2020qualifyingsimulations.html