UEFA Euro 2024 forecast: Netherlands vs. Austria

Detailed probabilistic forecast for the match Netherlands vs. Austria at UEFA Euro 2024 in Group D, accompanying a conference presentation at Imagine 2024.

Machine learning ensemble

In a recent blog post, prior to the start of the tournament, probabilistic forecasts for the UEFA Euro 2024 were provided based on a machine learning approach. In short, the approach obtained a number of highly informative inputs about the 24 participating teams before the start of the tournament: Historic match abilities from all national matches in 8 years, bookmaker consensus abilities based on quoted odds from 28 bookmakers, average player ratings from goal contributions of individual players in club and national matches, as well as further team-specific information like market value or FIFA rank etc. Then an ensemble of a random forest, a lasso, and an XGBoost learner were trained on matches from the UEFA Euro 2004–2020. The outcome was a prediction for the mean goals for both teams in all potential matches at the UEFA Euro 2024. Based on these predictions the entire tournament was simulated 100,000 times yielding probabilities for all possible outcomes of the tournament.

Match forecast

The prediction from the machine learning ensemble above for the match Netherlands vs. Austria is summarized in the following table.

  Mean goals Win probability
🇳🇱 1.3 48.6%
Draw 28.1%
🇦🇹 0.8 23.4%

This means that if the Netherlands were to play Austria in lots of matches, the Netherlands are predicted to score 1.3 goals on average in these matches while Austria scores an average of 0.8 goals. Assuming a certain probability distribution for the goals per team in each match, not only the mean goals can be predicted but also the probability for each possible combination of goals by the two teams. The probability distribution employed here is a bivariate independent Poisson model, a relatively simple and standard model that fits empirical scores in football matches very well. The resulting probabilities (for up to five goals per team) are displayed in the heatmap below. Aggregating all probabilities for a Dutch win, a draw, or an Austrian win yields the probabilities shown in the table above (which do not sum to 100% exactly due to rounding).

Heatmap: Probabilistic forecasts for the possible outcomes of the match

Conference presentation

The Imagine conference hosted by the Austrian Ministry of Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology celebrates its 10th birthday today. The final highlight of the conference program is a public viewing of the match Netherlands vs. Austria where the forecast above will be presented alongside a live data-driven analysis by colleagues from the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. The presentation slides are linked from the screenshot below.

HTML presentation slides