Euro 2016: How do the economies compare?
Ahead of kick-off in the 2016 UEFA European Football Championship (Euro 2016), we looked at the economic health of the 24 nations involved and pitted the nations against each other in a game of economic “Top Trumps” to find out who would come out on top.
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With the global economy and its struggles a major focus for investors, we took a look at the economic health of each nation involved in the Euro 2016 football tournament.
Top Trumps tournament structure
We used seven criteria to compare each nation:
- GDP growth
- Debt to GDP
- Unemployment rate
- Human Development Index (HDI) ranking
- Corruption ranking
- FIFA ranking
How does the tournament work?
As with Euro 2016 there is a group stage where each nation within their respective group goes head-to-head once. That is followed by the knockout stages: a round of 16, quarter finals, semi-finals and final.
A match involves two nations playing directly against each other. Each individual criteria is compared against the other like-for-like. A nation gets one point for each indicator which has the most favourable value.
For example, low unemployment beats high unemployment = 1 point; high growth beats low growth = 1 point; and inflation as close to the global long-term average of 3.18%1 beats inflation further away = 1 point, and so on.
The nation with the most points out of a possible 7 is declared the winner. In the event of a tie the nation with the best odds of winning the Euro 2016 football tournament is declared the winner.
Just like in Euro 2016, 3 points are awarded for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 points for a loss.
To find out how the group stages played out click the links below to reveal the infographics:
Group A - Albania, France, Romania, Switzerland
Group A – Swiss delight
Despite being favourites for the football tournament, hosts France were swept aside by the economic reliability of Switzerland (group winners), and the robust performance of Romania (group runners up).
France, which suffered from weak growth and high unemployment, secured one of the four best third-place positions, and a place in the round of 16, in a tight play-off with Slovakia in group B.
Group B - England, Russia, Slovakia, Wales
Group B – England triumphant
For the sake of clarity we used UK economic data for England and Wales, but their own country's FIFA rankings.
England swept the group with three wins and Wales came in second. Both nations benefited from the combined strength on the UK economy.
Slovakia finished third in the group after sneaking past Russia by virtue of its HDI and corruption ranking. However, it lost out to France as one of the best third-placed teams as the French stormed back from 3-0 down to take the match-up 4-3, winning on inflation and better HDI, corruption and FIFA rankings.
Group C - Germany, Northern Ireland, Poland, Ukraine
Group C – German efficiency shines
For the sake of clarity we used UK economic data for Northern Ireland, but its own FIFA ranking.
Germany’s powerhouse economy saw it finish comfortably as the group winner. Northern Ireland benefited from the combined strength of the UK economy.
Poland finished as one of the best third-placed countries with victory over Ukraine.
Group D - Croatia, Czech Republic, Spain, Turkey
Group D – Czech Republic hold off Spain charge
Despite struggling on HDI and corruption rankings the relative strength of the Czech Republic’s economy saw it come out as the group winner.
The crunch match-up in the group was between Spain and Turkey. Despite faltering in the early exchange Spain beat Turkey into second place with the help of better HDI, corruption and FIFA rankings.
Turkey went into a play-off with Austria of Group F for a place in the last 16, but it lost out after Austria fought back from 2-0 down to take an unassailable 4-2 lead.
Group E - Belgium, Italy, Republic of Ireland, Sweden
Group E – Sweden sweep the group
Ireland pushed Sweden and Belgium all the way but could only finish runners-up, despite a resurgent economy.
Sweden won the group with comfortable victories over Belgium (one of the best third-placed finishers) and Italy, whose struggling economy saw it beaten into fourth place.
Group F - Austria, Hungary, Iceland, Portugal
Group F – Hungary run out surprise winners
Hungary won the group with three tight 4-3 victories over the other countries in Group F.
The strength of its economy saw Hungary pull out to a quick lead in all three matches. Despite faltering on HDI and corruption rankings it managed to hold on for victory each time.
Iceland's steady performance in all criteria saw it finish runner up ahead of Austria, which secured a place in the last 16 as one of the best third-placed countries following a play-off win against Turkey.
Find out which country was crowned Euro 2016 Economic Top Trumps champion in two weeks' time.
1. Average annual inflation 1913-2015: http://inflationdata.com/Inflation/Inflation/DecadeInflation.asp↩