Euro Groups A, B and C have played all of their six matches. We therefore know three of the six “third” group and it is increasingly “easy”, over the matches, to project on our opponent in the next round.
As we explained to you this Monday evening, several scenarios have already been ruled out and only one remains (out of seven still possible) which would pit Belgium against third in group F, which will more than likely be France, the ‘Germany or Portugal.
For the Devils to play against a member of the group of death in the round of 16, the “third” drafted must be those of groups A, C, D and F.
In group A, Switzerland is already assured of its qualification. Ukraine (group C) are currently ahead of Finland and must therefore hope that another third in the group does less well to qualify. Which seems possible given the rankings and the calendar of the different groups. It remains to be seen whether the third in groups D and F will overtake that of group E, which would lead the Devils towards the dreaded scenario.
Croatia-Scotland draw would “save” the Devils tonight
Regarding group D, we will be fixed from this Tuesday evening since the deal is simple. If there is a winner between Croatia and Scotland, the third in Group D will qualify with four points (passing Ukraine and their three points). In the event of a draw, Croatia AND Scotland will then be eliminated. And we can definitely state that the Devils will not play against a member of group F in the round of 16.
Devils supporters will therefore have to hope for a draw between Croatia and Scotland, otherwise there will only be four possible scenarios on paper, two of which are practically impossible since it would be surprising if the third in Group F goes by the wayside. Indeed, in this group three teams already total at least three points and all have a positive goal difference. Portugal would therefore have to lose by three goals against France to fall behind Ukraine in the ranking of the best third.
A group E to follow closely
If there is a winner between Croatia and Scotland, it will therefore be necessary to hope that the third of group E is drafted instead of Ukraine so that the Devils avoid the third of group F. Unfortunately, group E have not distributed many points since the start of the tournament as Spain conceded two draws.
In a very concrete way, it would be necessary that Poland win against Sweden or that Slovakia and Spain part in a draw. If neither of these two results comes true, only a miracle will be able to save the third in this group E: in the event of a victory for Spain by a gap goal, provided that Slovakia scores at least three times (3 -4, 4-5, 5-6, etc.). In this case, Slovakia would take third place in the group with three points and -1 goal average, like Ukraine. But with a greater number of goals scored than the strip in Shevchenko.
Group F is not the only problem
Note, however, that if Belgium avoids an opponent from Group F (which could be France if the Blues bow against Portugal while Germany wins against Hungary), other traps should be avoided. If Slovakia and Spain draw while Sweden takes at least one point against Poland, Spain will then be third in their group and almost guaranteed to meet the Devils … in front of their home crowd on Sunday. Which is frankly not a gift for Roberto Martinez and his men.