All the important permutations with one Group game to go


Tie-breaker Rules

Before I explain each group, below I’ve listed the order in which two or more teams are separated should they finish level on points in the same group.

1. Head-to-Head record between teams tied

2. Superior Goal Difference between teams tied*

3. Higher number of Goals Scored between teams tied*

4. Superior Goal Difference in all group matches

5. Higher number of Goals Scored in all group matches

6. Higher number of Wins in all group matches

7. If after 1-6 is applied and two teams are still level, and they face each other in final group game, then a penalty shoot-out between the two sides will determine who finishes higher

8. If after 1-6 is applied and two teams are still level but don’t face each other in final group game then whoever has the lowest disciplinary points in all group games will determine who finishes higher

9. Higher position in European Qualifiers overall ranking

*rules 2 and 3 only applies when at least three teams are tied – if just two teams are tied and they have an identical head-to-head (ie, they drew their group game) then goal difference and goals scored between the two sides will be identical also

Group A – Italy are through and Wales should join them

Remaining games:

– Italy v Wales, Sunday, 17:00

– Switzerland v Turkey, Sunday, 17:00

What we know:

Italy have already qualified for the Round of 16 thanks to impressive back-to-back 3-0 wins over Turkey and Switzerland respectively. Their remaining group game is effectively a home match against Wales on Sunday, where Roberto Mancini‘s men just need to avoid defeat to finish as group winners.

Following their excellent 2-0 win over Turkey on Wednesday Wales are guaranteed to finish in the top three, while Turkey now have no chance of qualifying automatically via a top two finish.

In order to qualify automatically:

– Wales need to avoid defeat against Italy
– Wales will qualify automatically if Switzerland fail to beat Turkey
– Switzerland need to win and Wales to lose, and have a better goal difference than Wales*

*should both Switzerland and Wales finish on four points and have an identical goal difference, then the team that scored the higher number of goals in the group will qualify automatically

And what about a third place finish?

Wales are guaranteed at least a third-place finish, and should they indeed finish third then they will almost certainly qualify for the Round of 16 on four points as one of the best third-placed teams (three points was enough to qualify in Euro 2016). The same will be true of Switzerland should they finish third on four points.

Switzerland will finish third with two points should they only draw with Turkey, and that will almost certainly see them eliminated, however a win for Turkey will see them finish third on three points and it will then be a waiting game for Senol Gunes’ men to see if they qualify as one of the four best third-placed nations.

Group B – Belgium through but who joins them is all to play for

Remaining games:

– Finland v Belgium, Monnday, 20:00

– Russia v Denmark, Monday, 20:00

What we know:

Belgium have already qualified for the Round of 16 thanks to back-to-back wins over Russia and Denmark respectively, and they now just need to avoid defeat against Finland in their final game to top the table. Should Finland win however then it will be them who top the group due to a better head-to-head record over Belgium, which comes into play should two nations finish on the same points.

Kevin de Bruyne Belgium - 1280.jpg

In order to qualify automatically:

– Russia must beat Denmark, or avoid defeat against Denmark if Finland fail to beat Belgium
– Finland must beat Belgium, or avoid defeat against Belgium if Russia lose to Denmark
– Denmark must beat Russia by at least two clear goals as long as Belgium beat Finland

And what about a third place finish?

It’s undoubtedly the most complicated group as should the remaining two games go as the markets expect – Belgium beat Finland and Denmark beat Russia – then all three of Denmark, Finland and Russia will have three points.

Head-to-head and then goal difference comes into play, so as Finland beat Denmark by one goal, and Russia beat Finland by one goal, then should Denmark beat Russia by at least two goals then they will finish second (better goal difference of the three nation’s head-to-head games) and Russia will finish third as they have a better head-to-head than Finland.

A more straightforward outcome would occur if Denmark fail to beat Russia. This would mean Finland will finish third on three points if they lose to Belgium. Finland will also finish third – but on four points – should both remaining games finish as draws, while Russia will finish third on four points if they draw with Denmark and Finland beat Belgium.

Group C – Dutch delight and either Ukraine or Austria to join them

Remaining games:

– North Macedonia v Netherlands, Monday, 17:00

– Ukraine v Austria, Monday, 17:00

What we know:

Netherlands have already qualified to the Round of 16 as group winners thanks to wins over Ukraine and Austria respectively.

North Macedonia have finished bottom of the group as even a win in their final game against Netherlands won’t be enough to overtake Ukraine or Austria because of a worse head-to-head record.

In order to qualify automatically:

– Ukraine must avoid defeat against Austria*
– Austria must beat Ukraine

*should Ukraine v Austria end in a draw then it will be Ukraine who qualify automatically as their head-to-head and goal difference with their opponents will be identical, so the next criteria is goals scored in the group (Ukraine have scored one more goal than Austria)

And what about a third place finish?

Either Ukraine or Austria will finish third. Should their match end in a draw on Monday then it will be Austria who finish third on four points. Should Ukraine win the game then Austria will finish third on three points, and vice versa, should Austria win on Monday then it will be Ukraine who finish third on three points.

Group D – Everything up for grabs but Czech Republic and England almost certainly through

Remaining games:

– Croatia v Scotland, Tuesday, 20:00

– Czech Republic v England, Tuesday, 20:00

What we know:

Absolutely nothing has yet been decided. No team is guaranteed to finish in the top two and no team is yet ruled out of finishing in the top two.

What we do know in terms of winning the group is that it will be either Czech Republic or England. If Czech Republic avoid defeat against England they will finish as group winners while a defeat will mean Gareth Southgate’s men will top the group.

In order to qualify automatically:

– Czech Republic need to avoid defeat against England
– Czech Republic will qualify automatically with a defeat to England if Croatia don’t beat Scotland
– Czech Republic will qualify automatically with a defeat to England, and if they are not overtaken on Goal Difference should Croatia beat Scotland
– England need to avoid defeat against Czech Republic
– England will qualify automatically with a defeat to Czech Republic if Scotland don’t beat Croatia
– England will qualify automatically with a defeat to Czech Republic, and if they are not overtaken on Goal Different should Scotland beat Croatia
– Croatia must beat Scotland and overtake Czech Republic on Goal Difference should they lose to England
– Scotland must beat Croatia and overtake England on Goal Difference should they lose to Czech Republic

And what about a third place finish?

Both Czech Republic and England are guaranteed at least a third place finish because neither team can be overtaken by both Croatia and Scotland because of head-to-head results, and should either Czech Republic or England finish third on four points then they are almost certain to qualify as one of the bets third-place teams, hence their To Qualify odds of 1.011/100.

A draw between Croatia and Scotland is no good to either nation as Croatia will finish third on two points which won’t be enough to qualify. Should there be a winner in that game then they are guaranteed at least a third place finish on four points, which will almost certainly be enough to qualify.

Group E – Sweden in the driving seat, Spain in trouble

Remaining games:

– Slovakia v Spain, Wednesday, 17:00

– Sweden v Poland, Wednesday, 17:00

What we know:

Absolutely nothing. All possibilities are still on the cards in Group E, any of the four nations can qualify and any of them can finish top of the group.

Robert Lewandowski Poland 1280.jpg

In order to qualify automatically:

– Sweden need to avoid defeat against Poland
– Slovakia need to beat Spain
– Slovakia will also qualify automatically if they draw with Spain and Poland don’t beat Sweden
– Spain must beat Slovakia
– Poland must beat Sweden and hope the other game is not a draw

And what about a third place finish?

As with the ‘What we know’ section absolutely any permutation can still happen in Group E. Any of the four nations can still finish third though Sweden are the only nation guaranteed at least a third-place finish, which is where they will finish if they lose to Poland and the other group game doesn’t finish in a draw. Spain will finish third on three points if they draw with Slovakia and Poland fail to beat Sweden.

Group F – Group of Death not disappointing

Remaining games:

– Germany v Hungary, Wednesday, 20:00

– Portugal v France, Wednesday, 20:00

What we know:

Similar to Group D and E nothing has been decided yet as any of the four nations can still qualify automatically, though in terms of group winner we do know that Hungary cannot finish top.

In order to qualify automatically:

– France need to avoid defeat against Portugal
– France will also qualify automatically if they lose to Portugal and Germany fail to beat Hungary
– Germany need to beat Hungary
– Germany will also qualify automatically if they draw with Hungary and Portugal fail to beat France
– Portugal need to beat France
– Portugal will also qualify automatically if they draw with France and Hungary beat Germany
– Hungary must beat Germany and hope that Portugal lose to France

*there are a few tie-break possibilities in this group but no more than two teams can finish on the same number of points, which means a simple head-to-head could come into play. Currently France are ahead of Germany, Germany are ahead of Portugal and Portugal are ahead of Hungary on head-to-head results

And what about a third place finish?

Lots of possibilities here. France are guaranteed at least a third place finish on four points which means they are almost certain to qualify for the Round of 16. Germany will finish third on four points if they draw with Hungary and Portugal beat France, while Hungary will finish third if they beat Germany and Portugal avoid defeat against France.

Portugal will finish third if they fail to beat France (third on three points with a loss, third on three points with a draw) and Hungary fail to beat Germany.