The first two rounds of the EURO 2021 group stage have produced some intriguing constellations going into the last group matches. We are looking at the different group scenarios in the order they will play.
Before we start, here are some facts to bear in mind for all groups when it comes to the question which four 3rd placed teams will qualify for the knockout stage:
- 3rd placed teams with at least four points are extremely likely to advance.
- For 3rd placed teams with three points, it will most likely come down to goal difference and if that is the same, number of goals scored.
- 3rd placed teams with two points or less will be eliminated.

All Tables on UEFA's website

Group A

Upcoming matches
Italy vs. Wales
Switzerland vs. Turkey

Round of 16 opponents
1st place: 2nd of Group C – Austria or Ukraine
2nd place: 2nd of Group B – probably Denmark, Finland or Russia but Belgium also possible
3rd place: 1st of Group B, E or F

Italy is already at least 2nd in this group. Against Wales, they need a win or a draw to secure 1st place and avoid the small chance of facing Belgium in the next round. However, that clash would then be likely to happen in the quarter-final. Wales would already be happy with a draw and the favourable round of 16 opponent that comes with the 2nd place.
Switzerland and Turkey both need a win to keep their chances in the tournament alive.

Group C

Upcoming matches
Ukraine vs. Austria
North Macedonia vs. Netherlands

Round of 16 opponents
1st place: 3rd of Group D, E or F
2nd place: 1st of Group A – probably Italy, Wales also possible
3rd place: 1st of Group E or F

Ukraine vs. Austria is a special match in terms of tournament strategy. The two teams are playing to decide who comes 2nd and 3rd in the group. A draw almost assures both teams to advance and gives Ukraine 2nd place. If it does not end in a draw, the losing team could be eliminated, especially if their goal difference is bad. Adding to that, if Italy has already won Group A before the start of this match, 2nd place might not even be clearly better than advancing with a 3rd place finish. All of that means neither Ukraine nor Austria will risk much and a 0-0 draw may be inevitable, but Wales winning Group A could spice things up a little.
Netherlands has already won this group and North Macedonia is eliminated, so their match has no meaning for the course of the tournament. The Dutch team faces the 3rd placed team of Group D, E or F.

Group B

Upcoming matches
Finland vs. Belgium
Russia vs. Denmark

Round of 16 opponents
1st place: 3rd of Group A, D, E or F
2nd place: 2nd of Group A – probably Wales, but Italy and Switzerland also possible
3rd place: 1st of Group E or F

Belgium needs at least a draw against Finland to, while in turn Finland would almost definitely get a place in the last 16 with a draw. That makes it another match in which both teams will be happy with a 0-0, although Finland will much rather finish 2nd than 3rd and Belgium’s sheer quality will make it difficult for them to get a result.
Denmark must win at home vs. Russia to stay in the tournament, with goal difference being the decisive factor then. Russia’s position in quite similar to Finland’s, so a draw will most likely see them advance from the group stage and even give them 2nd place, unless Finland wins.

Group D

Upcoming matches
Czech Republic vs. England
Croatia vs. Scotland

Round of 16 opponents
1st place: 2nd of Group F - probably France, Germany or Portugal but Hungary also possible
2nd place: 2nd of Group E - all of Poland, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden easily possible
3rd place: 1st of Group B, C or E

England complicated their own situation by failing to beat Scotland. They are already as good as qualified, but they still have to get points against the Czech Republic to be sure to avoid a 3rd place finish. A draw seems like a better result than a win for England, because the 2nd placed team will likely have an easier opponent in the round of 16 than the winner. On the other side, Czech Republic only needs a draw to win the group. They could already be sure to advance to the round of 16 before the match starts, depending on the results in the other groups. That would essentially make this a rest day for the Czech Republic, because the incentive to win this group is low, to say the least.
Croatia and Scotland have an early knockout match with the twist that both are out with a draw. That sounds like an exciting prospect for neutral viewers.

Group E

Upcoming matches
Sweden vs. Poland
Slovakia vs. Spain

Round of 16 opponents
1st place: 3rd of Group A, B, C or D
2nd place: 2nd of Group D - probably Czech Republic or England but Croatia or Scotland also possible
3rd place: 1st of Group B or C

Pretty much anything is still possible in Group E. Only Sweden is nearly certain to play in the round of 16. They will still try to win the group and need a win over Poland to make sure of that. At the same time, Poland must win to advance from the group.
At the start of the tournament, Spain surely hoped to be in a more comfortable position at this stage. But here we are, Spain needs a win against Slovakia to avoid putting themselves at the mercy of other teams. Slovakia only requires a draw to have an excellent chance of advancing.

Group F

Upcoming matches
Germany vs. Hungary
Portugal vs. France

Round of 16 opponents
1st place: 3rd of Group A, B or C
2nd place: 1st of Group D - England or Czech Republic
3rd place: 1st of Group B or C

The teams in Group F will have the benefit of knowing much more about the identity of possible round of 16 opponents and minimum points/goal difference needed as 3rd placed team than we do now. However, we can already say it’s very likely that a tough fixture awaits the 3rd placed team, while the 1st and possibly even 2nd will have an easier time.
With that in mind, Germany’s task vs. Hungary is simple: Win the match. That would guarantee at least a 2nd place finish. Hungary must win anyway to even stay in the tournament.
The situation is quite similar for France and Portugal too, although France could also be happy with a draw and a 2nd place, depending on the winner of Group D. Portugal could still go out if they lose by a large margin.

Tournament Favourites

Notable changes to the champion probabilities include:
- Some percentage points shifting from Portugal to Germany
- England and Belgium both being in front with virtually exactly the same number of wins in our simulations
- Italy emerging as one of the front-runners.

Team Champion
Belgium 14.6%
England 14.6%
Italy 11.3%
France 10.5%
Spain 10.4%
Netherlands 8.9%
Portugal 8.2%
Germany 7.0%
Denmark 3.7%

Probabilities for all teams

Simulation of the Remaining Tournament

So much for the theory, but how will all that actually play out? Of course, there are countless possibilities. To give you a better idea, we did a simulation of the rest of the tournament and below are the results. This is exactly the same method as we use for the 50,000 simulations to determine the overall probabilities.

Group A
Italy 2-0 Wales
Switzerland 1-0 Turkey

Rank Team W D L GF GA GD Points
1 Italy 3 0 0 8 0 8 9
2 Wales 1 1 1 3 3 0 4
3 Switzerland 1 1 1 2 4 -2 4
4 Turkey 0 0 3 0 6 -6 0

Group B
Finland 0-3 Belgium
Russia 0-1 Denmark

Rank Team W D L GF GA GD Points
1 Belgium 3 0 0 8 1 7 9
2 Denmark 1 0 2 2 3 -1 3
3 Russia 1 0 2 1 4 -3 3
4 Finland 1 0 2 1 4 -3 3

Group C
Ukraine 0-1 Austria
North Macedonia 0-4 Netherlands

Rank Team W D L GF GA GD Points
1 Netherlands 3 0 0 9 2 7 9
2 Austria 2 0 1 4 3 1 6
3 Ukraine 1 0 2 4 5 -1 3
4 North Macedonia 0 0 3 2 9 -7 0

Group D
Czech Republic 0-4 England
Croatia 3-3 Scotland

Rank Team W D L GF GA GD Points
1 England 2 1 0 5 0 6 7
2 Czech Republic 1 1 1 3 5 -2 4
3 Croatia 0 2 1 4 5 -1 2
4 Scotland 0 2 1 3 5 -2 2

Group E
Sweden 2-2 Poland
Slovakia 0-4 Spain

Rank Team W D L GF GA GD Points
1 Spain 1 2 0 5 1 4 5
2 Sweden 1 2 0 3 2 1 5
3 Slovakia 1 0 2 2 6 -4 3
4 Poland 0 2 1 3 5 -1 2

Group F
Germany 2-2 Hungary
Portugal 2-3 France

Rank Team W D L GF GA GD Points
1 France 2 1 0 5 3 2 7
2 Germany 1 1 1 6 5 1 4
3 Portugal 1 0 2 7 7 0 3
4 Hungary 0 2 1 3 6 -3 2

Round of 16
Wales 0-1 Denmark
Italy 2-1 Austria
Netherlands 0-1 Portugal
Belgium 1-1 Switzerland (Switzerland wins after penalties)
France 3-1 Ukraine
Czech Republic 3-1 Sweden
England 4-0 Germany
Spain 4-0 Russia

Switzerland 1-1 Italy (Switzerland wins after penalties)
France 0-1 Czech Republic
Portugal 0-2 Denmark
Spain 1-3 England

Switzerland 1-0 Czech Republic
England 2-0 Denmark

Switzerland 0-0 England (England wins after penalties)