Euro 2020, Group of Death: How can Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal still qualify for knockouts from Group F?


Three-times European champions Germany shrugged off their opening game loss and announced their arrival as serious contenders at Euro 2020 with an emphatic 4-2 win over highly-rated Portugal in their Group F match on Saturday.

Cristiano Ronaldo had given the defending champions a 15th-minute lead but Germany went in at the break 2-1 up thanks to own goals from Ruben Dias and Raphael Guerreiro. The Germans turned on the style in the second half with goals from Kai Havertz and the impressive Robin Gosens making it 4-1 before Diogo Jota pulled a goal back for Portugal.

The win moves Germany, who face Hungary in their final game, into second place in the group on three points, a point behind leaders France and level on points with the Portuguese. Hungary drew 1-1 with France earlier on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the result has turned Group F into the group of death as neither of the four teams – France, Germany, Portugal, and Hungary, have qualified for the round of 16 despite playing two games each so far, and fans will now have to wait till the very last game of the group to know which teams make the cut.

With just two games remaining of Group F, let’s take a look at all permutations and combinations which is required by each team to qualify for the knockout round.

Remaining games of Group F: Portugal vs France and Germany vs Hungary

PORTUGAL ( 3 points) will go through if they win, or if they draw against France and Germany lose. Portugal will finish first if they win and Germany do not. Portugal will finish fourth if they lose and Germany also lose.

FRANCE (4 points) will go through if they avoid defeat against Portugal or if the other game is drawn. They will finish first if they win, or if they draw and Germany do not beat Hungary. If France lose and Hungary win, second place will be decided on overall goal difference.

GERMANY (3 points) will go through if they win, or if they draw and France do not lose. Germany will finish first if they win and France do not. Germany will finish third if they draw and France lose, or if both Germany and Portugal lose.

HUNGARY (1 point) will go through in second place if they win against Germany and Portugal lose. If they win and France lose, second place will be decided on overall goal difference. Hungary will finish third if they win and the other game is drawn.

NOTE: If two or more teams in the same group are equal on points on completion of the final tournament group stage, the following criteria are applied, in the order given, to determine their rankings:

  1. Higher number of points obtained in the matches played among the teams in question
  2. Superior goal difference resulting from the matches played among the teams in question
  3. Higher number of goals scored in the matches played among the teams in question

Outside chance for the third-placed team

As per the UEFA rule, the top two teams in each group plus the four best third-placed teams advance to the round of 16. Hence, in the event of a Portugal draw and Germany win/draw, the Portuguese would finish in third with four points, but would still likely qualify. The same will be the case for Germany if they lose or draw against Hungary and finish third in the points table.

If third-placed teams are tied on points across different groups, then there are stipulations to decide which team will progress.

In order, this is how the four-best third-placed teams are decided, according to UEFA:

  1. Higher number of points
  2. Superior goal difference
  3. Higher number of goals scored
  4. Higher number of wins
  5. Lower disciplinary points total based only on yellow and red cards received in all group matches (red card = 3 points, yellow card = 1 point, expulsion for two yellow cards in one match = 3 points)
  6. Position in the overall European Qualifiers rankings

Meanwhile, both the remaining games of Group F – Germany vs Hungary and Portugal vs France will take place on Thursday at 12:30 am IST.

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Sagar Biswas

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