Euro 2020 group permutations: Who could each team play in the last-16?

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal could be in trouble and England face either a nightmare or dream next round… while third-placed teams cross their fingers: Permutations explained for all the Euro 2020 groups as knock-out rounds near

  • A brilliantly competitive Euro 2020 group stage comes to an end on Wednesday
  • Italy, Wales, Holland and Belgium have already sealed a spot in the last-16 
  • Providing they qualify, England, Scotland and the rest will soon learn their fates  
  • But despite four third-place teams progressing, Portugal could be in trouble 
  • Find out the latest Euro 2020 news including fixtures, live action and results here

The European Championship has gripped the attentions of the footballing world perhaps even more so than initially anticipated, with a fantastically competitive group stage now reaching its crescendo. 

Aside from the quartet from Group A, where Italy and Wales have sealed a spot in the last-16, the remaining 20 teams each have one group game remaining, with a mouth-watering Group F finale bringing an end to the daily matches on Wednesday night.  

Pre-tournament favourites England have all-but booked a place in the last-16 yet still have some work to do in their final group game against the Czech Republic, after a pair of lacklustre performances against Scotland and Croatia. 

Scotland, who are playing in their first major tournament since 1998, are still within a chance of progressing after their heroic performance against bitter rivals England last week. 

Both teams could be the beneficiary of an expanded tournament – which we first saw at Euro 2016 – with 16 of the 24 teams qualifying for the round of 16, including the best four third-place sides in the group stage.  

Below, Sportsmail outlines the permutations that lie ahead for every team and explains just how qualification will work.  

Scotland could yet progress to the last-16 after a phenomenal result against England

Before we delve into the group specifics, it’s important to first outline just how qualification works. 

A 32-club World Cup format, for example, is more straightforward, with the top two teams from the eight groups progressing to the knockout stages. 

However, in a copy of Euro 2016, there are six groups of four teams, with the top two progressing from each, as well as the four best third-placed teams. 

The standings in the group tables are first determined by who has the most points. But if two teams are level, then head-to-head record becomes the first tie-breaker to determine ranking.   

This is subsequently followed by goal difference and then goals scored in the matches between those teams in question, before overall goal difference, goals scored, wins and disciplinary records are taken into account.  

Crucially, if the two teams in question are playing against each other on the final day and finish level on points, goals scored, conceded and aren’t level with another team, their position will be determined via a penalty shootout. 

Then comes the four best third-place finishers, which are determined by number of points, goal difference, goals scored, number of wins, disciplinary record and position in the overall European Qualifiers rankings – in that order.

So, what are the permutations ahead? 

Last-16 fixtures and dates

Saturday, June 26

  • Wales vs 2B (5pm, Amsterdam)
  • Italy vs 2C (8pm, London)

Sunday, June 27 

  • Netherlands vs 3D/E/F (5pm, Budapest)
  • 1B vs 3A/D/E/F (8pm, Seville)

Monday, June 28

  • 2D vs 2E (5pm, Copenhagen)
  • 1F vs 3A/B/C (8pm, Bucharest)

 Tuesday, June 29

  • 1D vs 2F (5pm, London)
  • 1E vs 3A/B/C/D (8pm, Glasgow)

Group A

Italy topped Group A with victory over Wales on Sunday, with three wins from as many games

Roberto Mancini’s Italy finished top of Group A, with Turkey going home before the knockouts

Group A was finalised on Sunday evening, with Roberto Mancini’s Italy – who have emerged as one of the tournament favourites – coming out on top. 

They beat Wales 1-0 on Sunday to clinch top spot, meaning they didn’t concede a single goal throughout the group stages. 

Switzerland finished marginally below Wales in third, but they could well be one of the four best third-placed teams to qualify. Turkey, on the other hand, are out. 

In winning the group, Italy will play on Saturday, June 26 against the runners-up from Group C, which we already know will be either Ukraine or Austria, with Holland having guaranteed top spot. 

In finishing second, Wales will also play their last-16 match on Saturday night. They will come up against the runners-up of Group B, which as it stands would be Russia, but could also be Belgium, Finland or Denmark.   

Group B

Kevin De Bruyne has played a starring role in Belgium’s opening two fixtures, both wins

Belgium are top of Group B, though qualification remains up for grabs for all four teams

Belgium are one of four teams who have already booked their spot in the last-16, though whether they win the group or finish second remains to be seen. 

Group B will be completed on Monday, with Finland taking on Belgium and Russia playing Denmark, with both games kicking off at 8pm. 

Belgium only need a draw against Finland to secure top spot in the group. 

Meanwhile, Russia can secure second spot by beating Denmark, or with a draw – should Finland fail to do the seemingly impossible and beat Belgium.

Currently third-placed Finland would qualify for the round of 16 (either in second or third) with a win, or they could finish second with a draw, so long as Denmark beat Russia.

And though without a point, Denmark could yet finish second if they beat Russia, Belgium beat Finland and they finish with a superior goal difference to Finland and Russia.

As stated, the runner-up will play against Wales in the last-16, while the winner will play the third-place team from either Group A, D, E or F.

Group C

Memphis Depay as risen to the occasion as Holland have booked their spot in the last-16

North Macedonia became the first team to be knocked out the tournament with defeat to Ukraine, who moved up to second with victory

Holland have secured their spot as Group C champions and have qualified for the knockouts

Holland are also one of the four teams to have qualified, and with wins over Ukraine and Austria, they have already confirmed top spot. 

Group C will be completed on Monday with Holland playing North Macedonia, while Ukraine take on Austria in an intriguing battle for second-place. 

Unfortunately for North Macedonia, their 2-1 defeat to Ukraine last week ensured they became the first team to be eliminated from the tournament. 

With Ukraine in second-place as things stand, they will go through with a draw against Austria, who must win if they are to prevail as runners-up.   

Holland already know they will be playing on Sunday, June  27 in their round of 16 clash, up against the third-placed finisher from either Group D, E or F. We won’t know who that will be until Wednesday night. 

As for the team that does finish in second, they will play Italy at Wembley on Saturday, June 26. 

Group D

England captain Harry Kane (left) is yet to score in the tournament, while Scotland have been dealt a major blow, with star midfielder Billy Gilmour testing positive for coronvirus

The Czech Republic are currently top of Group D, though all teams could still qualify

Group D is set for a thrilling finale, with none of the four teams yet to officially qualify. 

The table will be settled on Tuesday, June 22, with England playing the Czech Republic and Scotland taking on Croatia. 

As stated, England’s four points should (though it is not guaranteed) have already secured them a place in the last-16. Even a loss against the Czech Republic would likely see them take one of the four best third-placed finishes at the very least.

A win on Tuesday is the only way England can top the group, while a draw would see them progress as runners-up, with the Czech Republic finishing first. Additionally, if Scotland fail to beat Croatia, England are guaranteed second regardless of their result.

Only a victory will do for Scotland if they have any hope of reaching the last-16. A win would guarantee at least third, with a possibility of second should England lose and the Scots finish with a higher goal difference.

There is still a possibility that the Czech Republic finish in third – though they’d still likely go through anyhow – if they lose to England, while Scotland win and obtain a higher goal difference.

Finally, Croatia find themselves in a tough spot, though they could still finish second if they beat Scotland and England beat the Czech Republic – and they finish with a higher goal difference than the current group leaders. 

The team that finishes in first will play one of France, Germany, Portugal or Hungary, while the team that finishes second will play the runners-up from Group E, being Sweden, Slovakia, Spain or Poland.

Group E

Spain have been one of the more disappointing teams so far, with just two points from two 

It’s Sweden who are currently the leaders of Group E, with Spain surprisingly in third place

Group E is also set for a spectacular conclusion, with possibilities remaining for all four nations to claim a spot in the top-two. 

The conclusion of Group E will come on Wednesday, June 23, with Spain taking on Slovakia and Sweden playing Poland, with both matches kicking off at 5pm. 

Sweden have already all-but confirmed their participation in the round of 16 with four points in the bag, and a draw on Wednesday would guarantee their progression.

However, should Sweden lose and the other Group E finale end in a draw, they, Poland and Slovakia would all be tied for points and results.

As for second-placed Slovakia, they would qualify if they beat Spain – or with a draw, so long as Poland don’t beat Sweden.

Spain most likely need to win if they are to see the round of 16. A draw might just be enough as a third-place finisher, but Poland could still leapfrog them with victory – leaving the Spaniards fourth and out. 

Finally, Poland can still finish second if they beat Sweden, providing Spain vs Slovakia does not result in a draw.

The winner of Group E will play the third-place side from Group A, B, C or D, while the runner-up will play the team that finishes second in Group D.

Group F 

Cristiano Ronaldo is the joint-top scorer at Euro 2020, but Portugal could yet bow out early

Hungary earned a shock draw with France to keep their Group F hopes alive

The ‘group of death’ is certainly living up to its reputation, with a good chance Portugal could go out, while France and Germany are also not guaranteed a last-16 spot. 

Finally, we get to the ‘group of death’, which could see Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal bow out early, despite the spectacular displays from the Juventus star. 

And again, none of the four teams have yet officially confirmed their place in the last-16, with each nation still able to progress. 

The group was blown wide open on Saturday, with France drawing with Hungary in a shock result, while Germany beat Portugal 4-2 in a classic.  

The Group will be finalised on Wednesday, June 21, with France and Portugal going head-to-head, while Germany play Hungary, with both games kicking off at 8pm. 

It’s currently France who are in the lead, and they could guarantee their progression with a draw against Portugal, or if Germany vs Hungary ends a draw.

A win will take Germany through, and they could take top-spot if they beat Hungary and France don’t beat Portugal. They could also finish third, however, if they lose and France win, or if they draw and Portugal win. 

Hungary, meanwhile, will finish in second if they beat Germany and France emerge victorious against Portugal. Additionally, if they win and France lose, second-spot would go down to goal difference.

Should they beat Germany, while France vs Portugal ends in a draw, they could qualify in third.

The winner of the group will play the third-place team from Group A, B or C, while the runner-up will take on the winner of Group D.   

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