England fans might have been disappointed to see their football team crash out of the Euro 2016 tournament earlier this week, but they never stood much chance of winning. According to the statisticians at the Norwegian Computing Center (NCC), the probability of England lifting the trophy never got above 5%. Spain is perhaps the biggest surprise: at certain points in the tournament, the probability of the team finishing first was 20% or more.
With Euro 2016 and the Copa América providing ample entertainment for soccer lovers the world over, you may be forgiven for missing the culmination of two of North America's 'big four' sports this week. On Sunday the Pittsburgh Penguins overcame the San Jose Sharks to win the National Hockey League's (NHL) Stanley Cup, while basketball's Golden State Warriors can clinch their second national title in two years with a win in Friday's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Just as quickly as the English Premier League came and went, the European Championship in France approaches. In the build up it is likely that there will be a long and hard debate over whether the captain of the England team, Wayne Rooney, should actually be in the starting eleven.
It doesn’t take a sophisticated analysis to conclude that the England team was a disappointment at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. No other host nation had failed to survive the group stage, as England did. At the opposite extreme, New Zealand won both of the last two World Cups, certainly giving the All Blacks top marks in achievement. However, a more comprehensive look at the last three World Cups reveals the real overachievers, underachievers and spot-on achievers compared to the team ratings just before each tournament.
This weekend sees the start of the 2016 Six Nations Championship, in which rugby teams from England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales compete. For England fans, who saw their team crash-out unceremoniously in the group stages of last year’s Rugby World Cup (RWC), this latest contest offers the chance for redemption. And it would seem that they have cause to be hopeful.