Czech Republic crowned Euro 2020 winners… in simulated reality

Simulation of the tournament played out on a supercomputer predicts unlikely winners of the football tournament.

Czech Republic are placed 40th in football's world rankings [David W Cerny/Reuters]

Czech Republic have been crowned European football champions after beating Denmark 3-2 in the final of the delayed Euro 2020, a simulation of the tournament played out on a supercomputer, that analysed teams and their results over the last 20 years, has predicted.

The European Championships, which will kick off in Rome on Friday, were scheduled to be held last year but were postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Czech Republic and Denmark have both won the tournament once in the past but few would back them to repeat that at this year’s event.

Denmark are ranked 10th in the global football rankings and Czech Republic are at 40.

The simulation, undertaken by Sportradar, a sports data provider, used “millions of data points from the past 20 years and fed into an AI algorithm to forecast the results”, the company said in a statement.

The AI algorithms not only predict the finalists but also an exit in the semi-finals for England and Portugal, a round-of-16 loss for former winners Italy and France, and Germany bowing out at the quarter-final stage.

“Football is unpredictable, it’s one of the things we love most about the game, but few fans would have put Czech Republic and Denmark in the final.” Werner Becher, Sportradar’s regional CEO for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Latine America, was quoted as saying in the statement.

“After such a long delay, there’s a real sense of excitement about this tournament amongst fans. We’ve tapped into the breadth of our technical capabilities to simulate the tournament, processing millions of data points from the last 20 years in order to identify the winning team.”

For the first time in the tournament’s history, it will be taking place across the continent with 11 host cities in all: London, Saint Petersburg, Baku, Munich, Rome, Amsterdam, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Glasgow and Seville.

“Simulated Reality football matches reflect team form and normal match conditions, using more than a decade’s worth of historic and statistical data to produce an immeasurable number of data points,” the Sportradar statement added.

“Simulated Reality gives us the opportunity to model how real games would take place as they would happen in real stadiums. It’s all so fan-friendly.”

Portugal, who are grouped with Hungary and past winners France and Germany, are the defending champions, having won the 2016 edition.

A total of 24 teams divided into six groups will be taking part in the tournament, which comprises 51 matches.

Source: Al Jazeera