Sunday 15 June 2008

Last-day scenarios explained

The Czech Republic could face a penalty shoot-out against Turkey

Whether you sit down to watch the final UEFA EURO 2008 group stage games with a match ticket or a remote control, you need not have a calculator handy as explains the possible permutations in the decisive matches, which kick off simultaneously at 20.45CET over the next four nights. To read the 2008 UEFA European Championship regulations in full, click here; the relevant articles are 7.07 and 7.08. All current standings are here.

GROUP A (Sunday)
Switzerland (0 pts, out) v Portugal (6, winners), Turkey (3) v Czech Republic (3)
Portugal have clinched first place and Switzerland will finish fourth ahead of their game in Basel, so the focus will be on the winner-takes-all meeting of the Czech Republic and Turkey in Geneva. After a win and a loss each, the two teams are level in second place on points, goal difference and goals scored, so if they draw over 90 minutes, under UEFA regulations there will be a penalty shoot-out.

GROUP B (Monday)
Poland (1) v Croatia (6, winners), Austria (1) v Germany (3)
Croatia are confirmed group winners so will take on Turkey or the Czech Republic in Vienna on 20 June. However, Germany, Austria and Poland all have chances of earning a Basel tie against Portugal the night before. Germany, two points ahead of their rivals, need only draw with co-hosts Austria in Vienna as then Poland could not catch them on head-to-head record even if they beat Croatia in Klagenfurt. If Austria win they would go through, unless Poland defeat Croatia by a bigger margin to overtake the co-hosts' currently superior goal difference (1-2 to 1-3).

If Austria and Poland finish level in second position on points, goal difference and goals scored, they will be split on qualifying coefficients (points per game) from the 2006 FIFA World Cup and UEFA EURO 2008, and Poland are superior 2.167-1.500 (only Austria's World Cup results count as they did not have to qualify for this tournament).

Group C (Tuesday)
Netherlands (6, winners) v Romania (2), France (1) v Italy (1)
Again, top spot is decided in favour of the Netherlands, and second-placed Romania will join the Dutch in the quarter-finals by winning their encounter in Berne. If Romania draw or lose then that would allow either France or Italy to go through by winning their match in Zurich the only way Les Bleus can progress. If Romania lose and the others play out a score draw, Italy would go through in a three-way head-to-head tie on two points as they would have scored more goals in the games involving France and Romania.

If Romania fall by one goal, two goals or by a three-goal margin other than 3-0 and the other match finishes 0-0, Romania would advance as their head-to-head record with Italy would be dead level but they would have a superior overall goal difference (or in the case of the three-goal defeats, goals scored). If Romania lose by four goals or more and the other game ends 0-0, Italy would proceed with a better overall goal difference than Romania. If Romania lose 3-0 and the other match finishes 0-0, Italy and Romania would have to be split on qualifying coefficients, in which case Italy would prevail 2.364-2.250.

Group D (Wednesday)
Greece (0, out) v Spain (6, winners), Russia (3) v Sweden (3)
Spain completed a quartet of group winners with their last-gasp 2-1 defeat of Sweden and Russia's 1-0 victory against holders Greece, who are now eliminated. Therefore all the focus is now on Sweden's meeting with Russia in Innsbruck. Sweden are ahead on goal difference, so they require only a draw to set up a second consecutive UEFA European Championship last-eight encounter with the Netherlands in Basel on 21 June; Russia must win to go through. Whatever the result of Spain's Salzburg encounter with Greece, they will travel to Vienna on 22 June to take on the Group C runners-up.

Germany need a point or the door will be open for Austria or Poland