Euro 2012: England to Meet Germany in Semifinals, According to Statistics Expert

Michael CummingsWorld Football Lead WriterJune 7, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 02:  Theo Walcott of England and Jan Vertonghen of Belgium
 in action during the international friendly match between England and Belgium at Wembley Stadium on June 2, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Today at Set Piece, we bring unexpected tidings of Euro 2012 joy for England—along with a dose of depressingly familiar reality.

The Three Lions, it would seem, are destined to reach the semifinals of Euro 2012. But once they get there, the usual suspects will send Roy Hodgson's boys home.

The predictions come courtesy of one Dr. Ian McHale of England's Salford University. Dr. McHale is a senior lecturer in statistics at Salford, and apparently quite the football fan.

From The Guardian:

After running a million computer simulations of the tournament, Dr Ian McHale … says the data suggests that England are the third best team at the championship—behind Spain and Germany—and that they will face Ireland in the quarter-finals before losing to Germany. France and Italy, meanwhile, are statistically unlikely to get out of the group stages.

BLOEMFONTEIN, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 27:  Wayne Rooney of England is challenged by Arne Friedrich of Germany during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Round of Sixteen match between Germany and England at Free State Stadium on June 27, 2010 in Bloemfontein
Clive Mason/Getty Images

So, England and Ireland in the quarterfinals, with England winning. Then, yet another loss to Germany in the semis.

The predictions are interesting, to say the least. Besides the part about Spain and Germany, Dr. McHale's forecast is likely to raise quite a few eyebrows.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 02:  John Terry of England shouts instructions during the international friendly match between England and Belgium at Wembley Stadium on June 2, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

France have gone 21 games without defeat after crushing Estonia 4-0 on Tuesday. The Irish, on the other hand, are generally considered outsiders, even among their own ranks.

Nonetheless, Dr. McHale has numbers behind his predictions. He says England have a 68 percent chance of advancing to the knockout stage and a seven percent chance of winning the entire tournament.

Dr. McHale gives Spain 12 percent odds to win Euro 2012.

Agree or not, the man's methods are fascinating. For more details (and there are plenty) on the process, be sure to check out the full article at The Guardian.