Here we look at how each of the teams in Group D could potentially end up after the final round of Euro 2020 group games.
The Euro 2020 action is heating up, with some teams now qualifying for the second round while others battle to stay in the tournament. The unique nature of the group stages – with four best third-place teams also qualifying – makes for some close battles. As things stand in Group D, England and Czech Republic have also qualified for the Round of 16. However, their final position is yet to be determind.
Why is this the case? Because Belgium beat Finland on Monday night and Ukraine ended up in third place on Monday after losing to Austria, while Finland finished third in Group B with their loss to Belgium.
That means at least two of the third-placed sides are guaranteed to finish on three points. This in turn means that any team guaranteed to finish at least third in their group with four points will go through.
England are currently on four points, as are the Czechs. This means that they cannot finish bottom of their group and will thus qualify.
However, the same cannot be said about Scotland and Croatia. Both teams need a win in their final group game to qualify. Incidentally, they will face each other in their final group game.
Here we look at how the teams could potentially end up after the final round of group games.
Czech Republic are ahead of England in the Group D standings, but only on goal difference. The Czechs currently have a goal difference of 2 whereas England’s is 1.
This means that for the Czechs, a draw will be enough to guarantee they end up as group winners. Assuming one of Scotland or Croatia win their final match, they will still only end up with 4 points.
For England, a win is needed if they are to end the group stages on the top spot. A draw guarantees them second place, but could mean slightly tougher Round of 16 draw.
Even a heavy loss will not prevent Gareth Southgate’s men from qualifying. It will, however, raise questions aplenty among an all-too-fervent English press.
For Scotland and Croatia, there’s only one thing either side have to do: win. A draw would see both teams end up with 2 points each, meaning neither side will progress into the next round.
Interestingly, both Scotland and Croatia can finish the group in second spot as well. Of course, this would require either of Czech Republic or England to suffer a heavy loss in their match.
It would also require Scotland or Croatia to win their own match by a big margin. It isn’t out of the realms of possibility, but one gets the feeling the main aim will be to just get the three points any which way.
Both teams would like the win, but for very different reasons.
For Croatia, Euro 2020 represents the final chance for their ‘golden generation’ to win an international tournament. They came very close in 2018 when they made the World Cup final.
However, they fell short at the final hurdle and will be desperate for another go at international glory this time around.
For Scotland, the stakes are arguably higher. Their international football history is long and storied, but also underwhelming at the same time.
Scotland have a dubious record to their name – they have never made it to the second round of any international tournament they have participated in.
For this side to break that streak would be special, not least because it will get the proverbial albatross off from around their neck. It will also represent real, tangible progress for a long-suffering Tartan Army.