The draw for next summer’s UEFA European Championship is made on Saturday. There’s plenty of excitement in the United Kingdom, with England, Wales and Northern Ireland in the hat for the newly-formatted 24-team event.
In anticipation of the draw, betting giants Bwin have gathered together some very interesting facts and figures.
Firstly, they looked back over the past five tournaments to see which pots the winners have come from.
It appears that being seeded first often counts for very little, with three of the last five winners coming from pots three and four.
What were Spain doing in pot three to start with, though!?
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Greece proved in 2004 that – with plenty of discipline and even more luck – a bottom-seeded team can go all the way.
But Greece are not the only side to impress from pot four…
Wales are making their first ever appearance at a European finals.
History tells us that debutants tend to do very poorly. Only once has one reached the quarter-finals.
All six seeds are big names – Spain, Germany, England, Portugal, Belgium and hosts France – but there is plenty of power elsewhere in the draw too.
Bwin have picked out Italy from pot two, the Czech Republic from three and Turkey from four as the best of the rest.
The pessimist in charge of stats is all doom and gloom when it comes to England and Germany.
Both are being tipped to flop based on what history tells us.
Finally, to summarise just how little seeding means, Bwin share this graphic, showing the relative success of teams from pots one and four since Euro 96.
Top seeds have only narrowly outperformed nations from pot four!