Last Group Stage: Who will make it?22nd Jun 2016 |
Today marks the final day of the group stages. And we can get a very strange situation in group E if Portugal doesn’t manage to win the game against Hungary later today.
We have two impossible outcomes: Hungary can’t be knocked out, and Austria can’t win the group. Apart from that, everything is possible. Hungary-Portugal is the key game here. Hungary will get 1st place with a draw, unless Iceland wins by a clear margin. Possible, though not a sure thing. Therefore, Hungary will put efforts into making their match a draw. I don’t think they can defend against Portugal without letting any goals through, which would make Portugal a likely winner. We have a similar situation with the Iceland-Austria match. Iceland will be ready for the round of 16 with a draw, while Austria must win to have a chance. Iceland has showed us that they can handle these kind of games. I think they’ll manage to make it to the round of 16.
Italy has already won the group, while Belgium need to avoid losing against Sweden to secure 2nd place. The question is if they will want this place or not. The 2nd place of group E will meet the 1st place of group F, while 3rd place will face France or Croatia. If Portugal doesn’t manage to win group F, this means that it would be better for Belgium to finish third rather than second. And if Sweden’s only hope for reaching the round of 16 is to beat Belgium and finish 2nd, it goes without saying that this is going to get stranger – and it’s next to impossible to predict the outcome. I definitely think Portugal will get first place in group F. This all means that Ireland does have a tiny chance, and Italy will face Spain in the round of 16, so they’ll want to rest their best players. An Italy with nothing to play for is an easier opponent than an Italian team who needs a result. In the end, hopes should stay muted, however. Either Sweden or Ireland will finish 3rd, with too few points to reach the round of 16.