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The Southgate Parallel: Euro 2008

Southgate Rankings are an attempt to quantify the subjective sense of belonging that accrues around a team over time. The further a team is over the red line in the table—the Southgate Parallel—the more strongly they are felt to belong in whatever class the line delimits (in this case, the quarterfinals of Euro 2008). For more information about the Southgate Rankings and how they work, see this post.

Southgate Rankings, Euro 2008

SgR Team Trending Group
8 Germany + B
7 Italy / C
6 Portugal + A
5 France C
4 Spain / D
3 Holland C
2 Croatia + B
1 Czech Rep A
Russia + D
Romania + C
Sweden / D
Greece / D
Poland / B
Turkey / A
Switzerland A
Austria B
+=Improving -=Declining /=Static

The table reflects the growing consensus among fans and the media that Germany are the favorites to win the tournament. Portugal have received enough attention (largely thanks to the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo) to move them provisionally above a declining French team, although I sense that they could trade places after just one or two matches. (The ethereal shared consciousness that the rankings reflect is quick to respond to any positive showing from France due to their recent record of success, while Portugal are relatively unproven.) Interestingly, the table also reflects the fact that Greece have retained very little of the respect they gained after winning the tournament four years ago.

If the rankings above are accurate, they suggest that the tournament draw was relatively in line with popular sentiments, with only one “deserving” team structurally barred from reaching the quarterfinal—and, conversely, one “undeserving” team structurally guaranteed to take its place. The deserving team will come from Group C, where one of France, Italy, or Holland will fail to pass the group stage, and the undeserving team will come from Group D, where one of Sweden, Greece, or Russia will pass.

Of course, it’s possible that more teams from below the line will reach the quarterfinals, and more teams from above it will be kept out. I’m talking about the maximum possible convergence between the collective sense and the results of the tournament, and the structure of the group stage means that if the collective sense of these teams’ belonging is completely predictive of match results, one deserving team will still be left out.

What do you think? Does this SgR set match your sense of these teams’ places? As ever, it was thrown together with little forethought, as excessive thinking can numb the connection to the field of collective apprehension on which SgR depends. I sense a great deal of fluidity in the spots between -2 and -6, and am, as always, open to arguments if you think a team should be moved.

Updated Southgate Rankings will be published throughout Euro 2008 (although as they are meant to quantify something deeper and murkier than on-pitch results, they may not precisely reflect a team’s win-loss record in the tournament).


The Southgate Parallel: Euro 2008

by Brian Phillips · June 7, 2008

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