IT’S not been a vintage Euro 2016 and that’s partly down to the fact more teams are involved.
Only eight sides are eliminated in the first round and only one team (Ukraine) has been knocked out.
This has meant more safety-first play and fewer goals but that should change in the final round of group matches and going into the knockout stage.
Here’s what can happen in the six groups and the best four third-placed sides at the moment are Northern Ireland, Slovakia, Portugal and Czech Rep. Thanks to Johnb for saving me a bit of time by putting these up earlier.
These are the permutations as the final round of matches kick off tonight.
France are through and will finish first with victory or a draw against Switzerland.
Switzerland will clinch second place with a draw or first with victory. If they lose Romania can overtake them on goal difference or then goals scored or if still equal disciplinary rankings if that too is equal. Switzerland have the edge in the coefficient rankings.
To come second on goal difference or goals scored Romania must win and hope Switzerland lose. If Romania draw they still have a mathematical chance of being one of the best four third-placed teams. Albania have to win and hope to be among the four best third-placed sides.
England will qualify with a point against Slovakia and will top the group for certain with victory.
Wales will qualify with a win and a draw will be enough if England do not lose. In the case of an English defeat and a Welsh draw, Wales would be third behind England on head-to-head record and would hope their four points would suffice to be one of the four best third-placed teams.
Slovakia will qualify with a win and will finish second with a draw if Russia prevail. However, Slovakia would definitely be eliminated in fourth spot if they lose and Russia win.
Russia require a victory to have any chance of progress. They can come second if they win and England lose in which case the two teams would be split on overall goal difference or overall goals scored (or if still equal, the disciplinary rankings after the third set of matches; or, after that, the coefficient rankings in which England would have the advantage).
Germany will qualify with a draw against Northern Ireland which would be enough for them to top the group if Poland do not win.
Poland will qualify with a draw or regardless of their result if Northern Ireland lose. If Poland end up level with Germany, the two sides will be separated by overall goal difference, then overall goals scored, then disciplinary rankings, then coefficient rankings (which would favour Germany).
Northern Ireland go through with a victory and will finish third if they draw or lose.
Ukraine are eliminated in fourth place as even if they come level with Northern Ireland on points, they lost the direct encounter.
Spain are through and will win the group with a third straight victory against Croatia, meaning a last-16 game on June 25 in Lens against a third-placed team. The Group D runners-up play the Group E winners at the Stade de France on June 27.
Croatia will qualify with a point and top the group with a win. Croatia can only be eliminated if they lose, the Czech Republic win and overtake them on goal difference/goals scored/disciplinary (if those are all equal, Croatia have a superior coefficient) and Croatia do not finish as one of the four best third-placed teams.
Czech Republic must win and either overhaul Croatia for second place or finish as one of the best four third-placed sides, though mathematically that could be achieved with a draw.
Turkey require a victory on matchday three to have a chance of being one of the four best third-placed teams.
Italy are through as Group E winners and will face the Group D runners-up on June 27 at Stade de France.
Belgium will clinch second spot with a draw against Sweden and would take on the Group F winners in Toulouse on June 26. They can only be denied a top-three berth if they lose and Ireland beat Italy.
Sweden will secure at least third place with a win. If both Sweden and Ireland win, they will be split by goal difference, then goals scored, then disciplinary ranking and then coefficient (which favours Sweden). Sweden are out if they don’t win unless they draw and go through as one of the best third-placed teams, which remains mathematically possible.
Ireland must win to have any possibility of progress as if they draw they cannot finish as one of the best third-placed sides. They can only come second if Sweden also win and Ireland pip them on goal difference, goals scored or disciplinary ranking.
Hungary will top the group with a victory and will also qualify with a draw; in that case they could only be deprived of first position if Iceland win and overtake them on overall goal difference, then goals scored, then disciplinary, then coefficient. The only situation in which they could finish third is if they lose and Iceland win,
Portugal will qualify with a win and could only miss out on first place if Iceland win and eclipse them on overall goal difference, then goals scored, then disciplinary (Portugal have a superior coefficient). A draw would only leave Portugal second if the other game is drawn and they are ahead of Iceland on goals scored, or then disciplinary, or then coefficient, where Portugal are superior. Portugal may still hope to proceed as one of the best third-placed sides with defeat if Iceland do not win. However, Portugal would need to finish ahead of the other team on two points on goal difference, goals scored, disciplinary; they are ahead of all on coefficient.
Iceland would qualify with a victory, and could even top the group if the other match is drawn as they would be split with Hungary on goal difference, then goals scored, then disciplinary, though Hungary are ahead on coefficient. A draw would leave Iceland second if Hungary win or if the other game is drawn; in the second scenario, Portugal and Iceland would be separated on goals scored, disciplinary (Portugal have a superior coefficient); even then Iceland could progress as a best third-placed side. If Iceland lose, they still have a mathematical chance of advancing as a third-place team but only if they finish above Portugal on goal difference, goals scored or disciplinary.
Austria will be second with a win unless Portugal also prevail, in which case Austria would end up behind Hungary on head to head and would hope to go through as one of the four best third-placed sides. A draw is not good enough for Austria due to their goal difference.