How Does the Best Third-Placed Team Work at Euro 2020?

How Does the Best Third-Placed Team Work at Euro 2020?

Here we take a look at how the best third-placed team system works at Euro 2020, as well as who could realistically finish in third and which opponents they could face in the round of 16.

How many third teams can qualify?

The four best third-placed teams across each group at Euro 2020 will qualify for the knockout phases of the competition, as this ultimately makes up enough numbers for the round of 16, as there are only six groups, rather than the conventional eight that would be needed to have this phase of the competition if it was just a top two from each group qualifying system.

The Euro 2020 third-placed table is ultimately decided on points as the initial head-to-head record used in the groups becomes an irrelevance due to neither of these sides facing each other in the group, with four points typically being enough to see a side go through as a third-placed team. Goal difference is the decisive factor if teams cannot be separated via points, if there is still nothing to split any sides after that then it would go down to highest number of goals scored, then higher number of wins and finally, if neither of the latter two filters could separate anyone, it would be a matter of disciplinary records.

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Who Could be the Best Third Placed Teams?

Switzerland will likely advance to the round of 16 with four points from Group A, having beaten Turkey on matchday three 3-1. They are currently top of the Euro 2020 third-place table, with Portugal, Austria and Finland being the other three sides to follow suit, just one points shy of the Swiss.

Group B is a complex situation due to Russia, Finland and Denmark all potentially being able to qualify. It is likely that if Denmark beat Russia then the Russian’s will finish third on three points, as Finland take on Belgium on matchday three. Group C will certainly be entertaining, as second and third-placed Ukraine and Austria will go head-to-head to settle the outcome of their table, a draw would likely see both sides progress.

In Group D, Scotland take on Croatia at Hampden Park with both teams needing a win, a draw would see both sides exit the competition with two points to their names. Group E will see a heated contest for the top two places as all four teams mathematically stand a chance, as a Poland win against Sweden would see them leapfrog the Swedes via their head-to-head record, whilst third-placed Spain will have to realistically beat Slovakia if they are to guarantee themselves a place in the round of 16.

Finally, Group F will see France take on Portugal and Germany face Hungary as each side looks to earn qualification for the round of 16. France will likely qualify for the next round regardless of results due to having four points, but, a big defeat for Portugal would see the holders place in the competition in jeopardy, whilst a Germany win would guarantee themselves a place, but a Hungary win would see the Magyars leapfrog Germany and potentially move ahead of Portugal. If Portugal and France draw, whilst Hungary pull off an unlikely win in Munich, then they could be a contender as one of the best third-placed teams.

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Who Could They Face? Is it Harder for Them

The third-placed teams at Euro 2020 would have very difficult routes to the quarter-finals at the round of 16, as depending on the order of the third-placed table they will face the likes of Belgium, one of France, Portugal or Germany, the Netherlands or one of Sweden, Slovakia or Spain, with the last option being by far the most appealing, especially if Spain fail to qualify as group winners, although the likes of Sweden have shown that they can be a tough test for anyone on any given day, showing why you’d preferably avoid being a third-placed team at Euro 2020 at all costs, as Wales did on Sunday.

A Small breakdown:

Third place in Groups A, D, E or F could face the winner of Group B which is likely to be Belgium.

Third place in Group A, B or C could play the winner of Group F, which will likely be one of France or Germany, due to the latter’s head-to-head record against Portugal.

Third place in Group A, B, C or D could play the winner of Group E, which could be any of Sweden, Slovakia or Spain.

Third place in Groups E, D or F could face the Netherlands.


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