GROUP-H

This just in from my mate Andy:

Nik and I went along to see the Moldova game last night and as we left, folks were crowing about us being top of the group. But this is a rather false position, we think – and will the 9 goals scored by Ukraine come back to haunt us? Should we have kicked on to score more goals, rather than take our feet off the gas?

Interestingly, Ukraine still have San Marino to play again, and it started us thinking about the real position in this group. A three goal loss in Ukraine (six goal swing), followed by another 9 goal thrashing and our goal difference won’t look as clear as it does currently.

We looked at the remaining games and the various permutations.

Tuesday 10th September 2013
San Marino v Poland 19:45
Ukraine v England 19:45

Friday 11th October 2013
England v Montenegro Kick-off TBC
Moldova v San Marino Kick-off TBC
Ukraine v Poland Kick-off TBC

Tuesday 15th October 2013
England v Poland Kick-off TBC
Montenegro v Moldova Kick-off TBC
San Marino v Ukraine Kick-off TBC

Assuming that San Marino lose all their games and Moldova only win against San Marino, the final points position will be:

PointsMatches leftFinal Points
Montenegro (Mn)15E, Mv18+E (Points against E)
England (E)15U, Mn, P15+U+Mn+P
Ukraine (U)14E, P, S17+E+P
Poland (P)10S, U, E13+U+E
Moldova (Mv)5S, Mn8
San Marino (S)0P, Mv, U0

In other words, we (England) are in third place with the following four meaningful games to play:

1. U v E
2. E v Mn
3. U v P
4. E v P

Since each of these games can be a home win (a), draw (b) or away win (c), there are 81
permutations to look at. And I have! 🙂 Here are the final points for each team, for each possible outcome for the four matches above:

1-2-3-4 resultEMnUPEngland FinishGroup Winner
a-a-a-a211823132U
a-a-a-b191823142U
a-a-a-c181823162U
a-a-b-a211821141/2E/U
a-a-b-b191821152U
a-a-b-c181821172U
a-a-c-a211820161E
a-a-c-b191820162U
a-a-c-c181820162U
a-b-a-a191923132U
a-b-a-b171923143U
a-b-a-c161923163U
a-b-b-a191921132U
a-b-b-b171921153U
a-b-b-c151921174U
a-b-c-a191920162U
a-b-c-b171920163U
a-b-c-c161920194U
a-c-a-a182123133U
a-c-a-b162123143U
a-c-a-c152123164U
a-c-b-a182121143U (Mn)
a-c-b-b162121153U (Mn)
a-c-b-c152121174U (Mn)
a-c-c-a182120163Mn
a-c-c-b162120174Mn
a-c-c-c152120194Mn
b-a-a-a221821131E
b-a-a-b201821142U
b-a-a-c191821162U
b-a-b-a221819141E
b-a-b-b201819151E
b-a-b-c191819171/2E/U
b-a-c-a221818161E
b-a-c-b201818171E
b-a-c-c191818191E (P)
b-b-a-a201921132U
b-b-a-b181921143U
b-b-a-c171921163U
b-b-b-a201919141E
b-b-b-b181919153U (Mn)
b-b-b-c171919173U (Mn)
b-b-c-a201918161E
b-b-c-b181918172/3Mn
b-b-c-c171918194Mn/P
b-c-a-a192121133U (Mn)
b-c-a-b172121143U (Mn)
b-c-a-c162121163U (Mn)
b-c-b-a192119142/3Mn
b-c-b-b172119153Mn
b-c-b-c162119174Mn
b-c-c-a192118162Mn
b-c-c-b172118173Mn
b-c-c-c162118194Mn
c-a-a-a241820131E
c-a-a-b221820141E
c-a-a-c211820161E
c-a-b-a241818141E
c-a-b-b221818151E
c-a-b-c211818171E
c-a-c-a241817161E
c-a-c-b221817171E
c-a-c-c211817191E
c-b-a-a221920131E
c-b-a-b201920141/2U/E
c-b-a-c191920162U
c-b-b-a221918141E
c-b-b-b201918151E
c-b-b-c191918171E (Mn)
c-b-c-a221917161E
c-b-c-b201917171E
c-b-c-c191917191E (Mn, P)
c-c-a-a212120131E (Mn)
c-c-a-b192120143Mn
c-c-a-c182120163Mn
c-c-b-a212118141E (Mn)
c-c-b-b192118152Mn
c-c-b-c182118172/3E/U
c-c-c-a212117161E
c-c-c-b192117172Mn
c-c-c-c182117193Mn

Out of 81 permutations

33 Ukraine wins group
28 England wins group
4 Ukraine or England wins group (goal difference)
15 Montenegro wins group
1 Montenegro or Poland wins group (goal difference)

If England win in Ukraine, out of 27 permuations

19 England wins group
2 Ukraine or England wins group (goal difference)
1 Ukraine wins group
5 Montenegro wins group

If England draw in Ukraine, out of 27 permutations

8 England wins group
1 Ukraine or England wins group (goal difference)
10 Ukraine wins group
7 Montenegro wins group
1 Montenegro or Poland wins group (goal difference)

If England lose in Ukraine, out of 27 permutations

22 Ukraine wins group
1 Ukraine or England wins group (goal difference)
3 Montenegro wins group
1 England wins group

If England draw in Ukraine, then beat Montenegro, out of 9 permutations

6 England wins group
1 Ukraine or England wins group (goal difference)
2 Ukraine wins group

If England draw in Ukraine, then draw with Montenegro, then beat Poland, out of 3 permutations

2 England wins group
1 Ukraine wins group

Conclusions

We may have a fall coming…

(a) Ukraine are favourites to win the group, not England
(b) Out of the 81 permutations, there are no less than 31 – over a third! – where England doesn’t even secure second place
(c) Montenegro are a decent outside bet still
(d) Poland are effectively out of it, but could cause some embarrassment on the last day.

and so for the future:

(e) Neither Ukraine nor England can afford to lose in Kiev on Tuesday
(f) A draw in Ukraine leaves things roughly even
(g) A draw in Ukraine followed by a win against Montenegro makes us favourites, but not certain winners.
(h) Two draws and a win against Poland also makes us favourites, but not certain winners.
(i) The four permutations where Ukraine and England finish level on points are intriguing, so San Marino may yet have a part to play on the last day when they play Ukraine again!