The drama is guaranteed. That’s typically been the case for the final round of group-stage matches in any major tournament and it is no different at Euro 2021.
The top two teams from each group at Euro 2021 receive automatic berths to the Round of 16. The four best third-place finishers will join them.
In cases that teams are tied on points, tiebreakers come into play and it starts with head-to-head matchups between the teams tied on points. We already had a three-way tiebreaker in Group B and could have another in Group E.
Here are the updated scenarios for each team entering their last group match (X = teams that have booked a ticket to the knockout rounds). The final matches in each group are played simultaneously to ensure competitive integrity.
Euro 2021: How each team can advance
Group A Scenarios
How Italy (9 pts) advanced:
- Win vs. Wales: Italy had already clinched a berth in the knockout round. But a 1-0 win over Wales locked up the top spot in the group.
How Wales (4 pts) advanced:
- Loss vs. Italy: The Welsh held on to second place in Group A despite the loss. The slim 1-0 defeat and Switzerland’s inability to put more goals past Turkey meant Wales went through on goal difference (+1 vs. -1). Wales and Switzerland tied 1-1 in the head-to-head group matchup, leading to the overall goal difference tiebreaker being used.
How Switzerland (4 pts) advanced:
- Win vs. Turkey: The Swiss got the win they needed vs. Turkey (3-1) and after the results from Group B and Group C, they are certain to be among the four best 3rd-place teams.
How Turkey (0 pts) was eliminated:
- Loss vs. Switzerland: Turkey needed a win at all costs against Switzerland to give them any shot of qualifying as a 3rd-place team. They didn’t get it and the loss officially eliminated the Turks, who failed to pick up a single point.
Group B Scenarios
How Belgium (9 pts) advanced:
- Win vs. Finland: Belgium had previously qualified and sealed their top spot in Group B with the win.
How Denmark (3 pts) advanced:
- Win vs. Russia: After starting the day in last place, the Danes incredibly finished in 2nd place after a three-way goal-difference tiebreaker that was triggered following Finland’s loss to Belgium. Beating Russia by three goals gave Denmark the edge in goal difference that catapults the nation into the knockouts.
How Finland (3 pts) can advance:
- Loss vs. Belgium: Few expected Finland to beat Belgium and the 2-0 loss led to the three-way tiebreaker that left Finland in 3rd place with a -2 goal difference. That figure also doesn’t give them the greatest chance to be among the top third-place teams.
How Russia (3 pts) was eliminated:
- Loss vs. Denmark: The Russians knew going in that a loss by two or more goals would eliminate them. It happened. They’re out.
Group C Scenarios
|4. North Macedonia||0||3||0||3||0||2||8||-6|
How the Netherlands (9 pts) advanced:
- Win vs. North Macedonia: The Netherlands were already mathematically assured of going through as the No. 1 team in Group C and they do it with a perfect record after three matches.
How Austria (6 pts) advanced:
- Win vs. Ukraine: Austria advanced as the second-place team thanks to the 1-0 win.
How Ukraine (3 pts) can advance:
- Loss vs. Austria: Ukraine would have been the ones to advance as the second-place team with a win or draw, but now it will need to hope results in other groups fall their way to qualify as one of the best 3rd-place teams. It doesn’t look good with just three points and -1 goal differential.
How North Macedonia (0 pts) was eliminated:
- Loss vs. Netherlands: As the first team eliminated at Euro 2021 after just the second match, North Macedonia was guaranteed to finish in last place in Group C. They did it with zero points after their 3-0 loss to the Oranje in the group finale.
Group D Scenarios
|1. Czech Republic-X||4||2||1||0||1||3||1||+2|
How Czech Republic (4 pts) can advance:
- Win or Draw vs. England: Czechs advance as 1st place team.
- Loss vs. England: Czechs can finish 2nd if Croatia-Scotland draw or Scotland wins. If Croatia wins, 2nd place will come down to goal differential. If the Czechs dropped to 3rd place, they would still go through as one of the best 3rd-place teams.
How England (4 pts) can advance:
- Win vs. Czech Republic: England wins the group.
- Draw vs. Czech Republic: England finishes second in the group.
- Loss vs. Czech Republic: England finishes in 2nd place in case of a Croatia-Scotland draw or a Croatia win. If Scotland wins in this case, 2nd place would come down to goal differential. The English would go through as one of the best 3rd-place teams.
How Croatia (1 pt) can advance:
- Win vs. Scotland: Croatia goes through as the 2nd place team (based on goal differential if Czechs lose) or they would qualify as one of the best 3rd-place teams (England loss or England-Czech Republic draw).
- Draw vs. Scotland: Two points would not be enough to qualify as a 3rd-place team. Croatia would be eliminated.
- Loss vs. Scotland: Croatia is eliminated.
How Scotland (1 pt) can advance:
- Win vs. Croatia: Scotland go through as the 2nd place team (based on goal differential if England lose) or the Scots would qualify as one of the four best 3rd-place teams.
- Draw or Loss vs. Croatia: Scotland is eliminated as the 4th-place finisher.
Group E Scenarios
How Sweden (4 pts) can advance:
- Win vs. Poland: Sweden wins the group.
- Draw vs. Poland: Sweden can win the group if Slovakia fails to win. Sweden would finish 2nd in case of a Slovakia win. If Spain wins, it would come down to tiebreakers.
- Loss vs. Poland: Sweden would come in 3rd place if Spain or Slovakia wins. Three-way tiebreakers would come into play in the case of a Slovakia-Spain draw, but at worst Sweden would qualify as one of the best 3rd-place teams. So Sweden is through with any result.
How Slovakia (3 pts) can advance:
- Win vs. Spain: Slovakia qualifies as 1st (Sweden draw) or 2nd place (Sweden win), depending on Sweden’s result.
- Draw vs. Spain: Slovakia can finish (and qualify) anywhere from 1st to 3rd place if there’s a three-way tie on four points with a Poland win. A Poland loss or tie would see Slovakia finish 2nd.
- Loss vs. Spain: Slovakia would be eliminated as 4th-place finishers if Poland wins. Slovakia could still hope to be among the best 3rd-place teams if Poland loses or draws.
How Spain (2 pts) can advance:
- Win vs. Slovakia: Spain can finish in 1st place with a win and a Sweden loss. Goal difference would come into play in case of a Sweden draw. Spain would finish 2nd if Sweden wins.
- Draw vs. Slovakia: Spain would be eliminated if Poland also wins. If Poland draws or loses, Spain can still hope that three points would be enough to see it through as one of the best 3rd-place teams.
- Loss vs. Slovakia: Spain would be eliminated.
How Poland (1 pt) can advance:
- Win vs. Sweden: Poland can potentially finish top of the group via a three-way tiebreaker in case of a Slovakia-Spain draw. A Slovakia or Spain win would see them finish in 2nd place.
- Draw vs. Sweden: Poland would be eliminated since it would not be able to finish as one of the best third-place teams in the best-case scenario.
- Loss vs. Sweden: Officially eliminated from contention.
Group F Scenarios
How France (4 pts) can advance:
- Win vs. Portugal: France finishes top of the group.
- Draw vs. Portugal: Can finish in 1st or 2nd place depending on the Germany-Hungary result.
- Loss vs. Portugal: France will advance as 2nd- or 3rd-place team depending on the Germany-Hungary result. The French would win the tiebreaker against Germany. A tiebreaker against Hungary would come down to goal difference.
How Germany (3 pts) can advance:
- Win vs. Hungary: Germany could finish top of the group if Portugal win or draw. Germany would finish second if Portugal lose (i.e. France win).
- Draw vs. Hungary: Germany could advance as 2nd- (Portugal loss or draw) or 3rd-place team (Portugal win).
- Loss vs. Hungary: Germany would be eliminated if Portugal wins or draws. If Portugal loses, Germany would finish in 3rd place and with a shot to qualify as one of the best third-placed teams.
How Portugal (3 pts) can advance:
- Win vs. France: Portugal can finish in 1st place (Germany draw or loss) or 2nd place (Germany win) depending on Germany’s result.
- Draw vs. France: Portugal could advance as 2nd- (Germany loss) or 3rd-place team (Germany win or draw) depending on Germany’s result.
- Loss vs. France: Portugal would be eliminated with a Hungary win. Portugal would finish in 3rd place with a chance to advance if Hungary draws or loses.
How Hungary (1 pt) can advance:
- Win vs. Germany: Hungary can qualify as the 2nd-place team if Portugal loses or if France loses (latter scenario would be based on goal differential). The Hungarians advance from 3rd place if Portugal-France is a draw.
- Draw or Loss vs. Germany: Hungary is eliminated.