Group E is the one group Ireland need to avoid in this weekend's Euro 2016 draw

The draw takes place on Saturday in Paris

BY Daniel Kelly 09:25 Tuesday 8 December 2015, 9:25 8 Dec 2015

Zinedine Zidane draws out Ireland during the Euro 2012 draw. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Action Images/Kai Pfaffenbach

The focus of the Irish footballing public will be on the Palais des Congres in Paris for the Euro 2016 draw.

24 teams including Ireland will be involved in the draw, which will see those who have qualified broken down into six groups of four teams. It is the first time that more than two teams from a group will qualify for the knock out stages with the four best third placed teams reaching the Last 16 along with top two in all six groups.

That changes the structure of the process to reach the knockout stages slightly however, and a paper by Sebastian Wolsing details why all teams should hope to avoid Group E in the tournament.

Six venues will be used in Group E for games that will take place between June 13th and 22nd. Saint-Denis, Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice will host games in the group over the ten day period.

The final draw for the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying is displayed on an electronic board, after the draw ceremonyin 2014. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

According to Wolsing, given how games in the Last 16 and the quarter finals have already been arranged, those who end up in Group E are at a clear disadvantage as they would face the most difficult opponents from other groups.

"The winners of group A, B, C and D get to face third-placed teams, when the winners of group E and F move on to face runner-ups (A clear disadvantage).

The runner-ups of group A, B, C and F get to face other runner-ups, when the runner-ups of group D and E move on to face winners (A clear disadvantage).

Group A, B, and C gets the advantages of both.

Group D and F gets advantages of one, and disadvantages of the other.

Group E gets the disadvantages of both".

Wolsing simulated 100,000 scenarios that may happen throughout the tournament next summer, and concludes that teams in Groups A, B and C have a "much easier way" of reaching the quarter finals. He also claims that a team from Group E are "28% less probable" to reach the quarter finals when compared to teams in Group A, which will include the hosts France.

Whatever happens on Saturday, Ireland will be happy to be in France next summer, but let's just hope they avoid Group E.


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