The results on Monday night set off a cascading effect in Euro 2020 as, after the completion of matches in Groups B and C, it is now confirmed that four points will be enough to progress to the round of 16.
The table-toppers heading into the final set of fixtures on Tuesday — Czech Republic and England — are assured of a place in the round of 16 but both would want to top the group as they take on each other. England are behind the group-leading Czechs on goal difference and must win to ensure they finish in first place.
Scotland, playing in their first major tournament since 1998, will make the knockout stage of an international competition for the first time if they beat Croatia.
It is fair to say all the pressure is on Croatia, the 2018 World Cup finalists, who are heading out of the tournament with anything other than a win against the gritty Scots.
Croatia will be looking for their first ever win against Scotland as the teams meet in Glasgow in the final round of Group D games. Home and away, Scotland are unbeaten in their five previous matches against their Matchday 3 opponents as they look to finish their group campaign on a positive note in Hampden Park’s penultimate Euro 2020 fixture.
The teams have each collected one point from their first two Group D games, Scotland losing 2-0 to the Czech Republic at Hampden Park on Matchday 1 before holding England 0-0 at Wembley. Croatia had gone down 1-0 against England at Wembley but had more joy in Glasgow, coming from behind to draw 1-1 there against the Czechs.
Having each earned a home win when they were paired together in qualifying, the stakes are even higher as the Czech Republic and England meet again in the final round of Euro 2020 Group D matches.
The teams are level on four points at the top of the section, the Czechs having beaten Scotland (2-0) and drawn with Croatia (1-1) while England followed an opening defeat of Croatia (1-0) with a goalless draw against the Scots.
Results so far
Scotland 0-2 Czech Republic
Croatia 1-1 Czech Republic
England 0-0 Scotland
Czech Republic vs England
Croatia vs Scotland
Group D as it stands
Status of qualified teams
|Group||Winners||2nd place||Best 3rd place||Qualified (but position TBD)|
|D||Czech Republic, England|
The top two teams from each group qualify for the Round of 16. The classification of teams level on points within a group will be done as per articles 20 and 21 of the regulations of the Uefa European Championship.
The third-placed team in all the groups also have a chance of reaching the next stage if they are among the four best third-placed teams as per the table below when group stage matches are complete.
The rules of classification for third-place teams are as follows:
2) Goal difference
3) Goals scored
5) Lower disciplinary points total (red card = 3 points, yellow card = 1 point, expulsion for two yellow cards in one match = 3 points)
6) European Qualifiers overall ranking.
Overall standings of third-placed teams
Group D Qualification scenarios
Czech Republic: The Czechs have been impressive and are already through to the round of 16. Led by Patrick Schick’s goalscoring exploits, they have a chance to win the group if they avoid defeat against England. They will finish second if they lose and Scotland beat Croatia. They will only finish third if they lose and Croatia win by enough to overtake them on overall goal difference.
England: Gareth Southgate’s side are through to the next round and will finish top if they beat Czech Republic. A draw wouldn’t be enough to earn top spot. They will only finish third if they lose and Scotland win by enough to overtake them on overall goal difference.
Croatia: Good news for Croatia is that their fate is still very much in their own hands and it is by no means a difficult task. With England and the Czech Republic both on four points, Croatia will go through with a win as four points in third place is sufficient. They can also overtake Czech Republic for second place on overall goal difference. Any other result apart from a win, and Croatia are heading home.
Scotland: Impressing on their return to international competition, Scotland too will quietly fancy their chances even if their preparation has been hit by Covid-19. Scotland will go through with a win against a struggling Croatia side and can even overtake England for second place on overall goal difference.
As an aside, with the winners of Group D facing the second placed team in Group F (the group of death where one of France, Germany or Portugal can finish second), one could say there is a hidden advantage in relinquishing top spot. The second-placed team in Group D will face the second-placed team in Group E comprising of Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Poland. On paper, all four of those match-ups are better than facing any team in Group F. It should, however, be noted that finishing first in Group D would give England the chance to play the round of 16 match at Wembley.
(With Uefa and AFP inputs)