Groups Decided in Euro 2024 - Round of 16 Next

The group stage of Euro 2024 is now complete, and the Round of 16 is up next. We will review how the final round went, which teams advanced, and take a closer look at the Round of 16 and the top scorers.

Group A - Germany Wins

The final round in this group was dramatic, with two changes in the standings during stoppage time in both matches.

In the match primarily concerning winning the group between Germany and Switzerland, the conditions were that Germany would win the group if they did not lose, while Switzerland would take the group lead if they managed to win. The Germans started best and controlled the match but had difficulty creating dangerous goal chances. However, in the 17th minute, the Germans scored after a tricky shot from Robert Andrich, which goalkeeper Yann Sommer misjudged. Unfortunately for the Germans, the goal was disallowed through VAR as the Swiss should have been awarded a free kick a few moments before Andrich's shot.

Instead, it was Switzerland who took the lead through Dan Ndoye in the 28th minute, and a frantic search for an equalizer followed for the Germans. However, Switzerland had good control of the events and were constantly dangerous on counterattacks. It looked like the match would end with a Swiss victory, but in stoppage time, substitute Niclas Füllkrug had a chance on a cross, and being a heading specialist, he made no mistake, making it 1-1 and securing the group win for Germany.

In the battle for third place between Scotland and Hungary (Scotland had a theoretical chance for second place as well), the play was very cautious, and neither team dared to advance, despite both needing to win to have a chance to progress.

In the 67th minute, Hungary's forward Barnabás Varga was hit in the head by Scotland's goalkeeper Angus Gunn, who tried to punch the ball away. The punch was so severe that Varga had to be taken to the hospital, but fortunately, the injury was not life-threatening, which many feared for a while.

The match continued without either team scoring a winning goal, but due to Varga's injury, there was significant stoppage time, and in the tenth minute of stoppage time, Hungary's Kevin Csoboth managed to score, giving Hungary the win.

With Hungary's victory, they finished third in the group with three points, giving themselves a chance to advance as one of the best third-placed teams. However, the chance was slim, and in the end, it was not enough, so despite their victory, Hungary did not advance.

Luka Modric, Kroatien
Luka Modric goal was not enough for Croatia to advance

Group B - Croatia out

In Group B, Spain had already secured the group win after victories against Croatia and Italy, but the competition for second and third places was wide open.

Since Spain was already through, they fielded a B-team lineup, although practically all of Spain's "B-players" would fit into most other teams' Euro squads. Despite a completely new team on the field, the Spaniards did not give Albania much of a chance, despite Albania needing to win to progress from the group. Ferran Torres scored 1-0 for Spain in the 13th minute, and they could comfortably control the match from there, holding the result for the rest of the game. Albania is eliminated but can still be proud of what they achieved in their first major tournament. They played in an almost impossible group but managed to get a point and two narrow defeats.

In the match between Croatia and Italy, it was do or die for Croatia. A win would place them second and advance them, while a loss would practically end their Euro campaign. The first half was somewhat cautious with few really dangerous chances, but the second half picked up pace. Croatia was awarded a penalty early in the second half after the ball hit Davide Frattesi hand which he had in an unnatural position in the penalty area. However, Gianluigi Donnarumma saved Luka Modric's penalty, but Modric quickly redeemed himself by scoring on the rebound a minute later, making it 1-0.

This was followed by massive pressure from Italy for about ten minutes, but they couldn't capitalize. Time ticked away, and Croatia seemed to have the game under control, but in the eighth minute of stoppage time, with the match's last kick, substitute Mattia Zaccagni curled the ball into the top corner, and Italy secured a 1-1 draw.

Thus, Croatia lost the lead in two consecutive matches with the last kick of the game, having faced the same fate against Albania in the previous match, and their Euro campaign is now over. This might have been the last time we saw 39-year-old Luka Modric in a major tournament.

Group C - England group winners

This group was very tight, and all the teams had a chance to advance when England played against Slovenia and Denmark faced Serbia.

England had secured a narrow but stable 1-0 victory over Serbia in the first match but played weakly in the 1-1 game against Denmark afterward, and they continued to look weak in this match as well. The Slovenians knew they would advance as one of the best third-placed teams if they managed a draw, and they fully committed to that strategy, showing no interest in even trying to attack, at least after halftime. This meant that England had the opportunity to control the match calmly, but once again, their play was completely uninspired, and the Slovenians had no problems defending to a 0-0 result in a match devoid of dangerous chances.

Just like Slovenia, Denmark knew they would advance with a draw, while Serbia needed a win, resulting in a tense game. The match saw two disallowed goals, one for each team, but otherwise, both sides struggled to create chances. Serbia tried to press for a goal towards the end of the match but got nowhere, and this match also ended 0-0.

England won the group with five points despite not coming close to playing good football. Both Denmark and Slovenia played three draws and had the same goal difference and the same number of yellow cards. The decision for second place came down to Denmark's better performance in the qualifiers for the European Championship. Both teams were in the same group in the qualifiers as well, and also finished with the same points and goal difference there. However, Denmark was ahead of Slovenia in the table due to head-to-head results, which again worked in their favour this time. Denmark finished second and Slovenia third, but both teams advance to the round of 16.

Group D - Austria surprisingly in top

In this group, Poland was already eliminated, and all the other teams could win the group. France and the Netherlands were also guaranteed to advance as at least one of the best third-placed teams.

France faced Poland, and Kylian Mbappé was back in the French team, playing with a special mask to protect his broken nose. Given that Poland was already out, this should have been a relatively comfortable win for France, which would also mean they would have secured the group win. But just like in the first two matches, they didn't quite play as well as we are used to seeing them.

After a goalless first half, the French got a penalty, and Mbappé made no mistake when he put France up 1-0 in the 56th minute, seemingly securing the group win. However, Poland continued to put up a good fight, and France failed to close out the match. Instead, Poland got a penalty as well. Robert Lewandowski missed initially, but because the French goalkeeper Mike Magnan left the goal line too early, Lewandowski got another chance and did not miss this time. The 1-1 result held until the end of the match, meaning France squandered the chance to win the group and finished second.

In the match between the Netherlands and Austria, Austria showed why they are considered a dangerous outsider in this European Championship. In the 6th minute, they took the lead after Dutch player Donyell Malen deflected a cross into his own goal, and this result held until halftime. Almost immediately after the second half started, the Dutch equalized through Cody Gakpo, his second of the tournament, but 12 minutes later, Austria regained the lead through Romano Schmid. The Dutch managed to equalize again through Memphis Depay in the 75th minute, but five minutes later, Austria took the lead once more with a fine goal by Marcel Sabitzer.

The result held, meaning a surprising 3-2 victory for Austria, who very unexpectedly won this tough group. Perhaps the Dutch, knowing they were guaranteed to advance, lacked energy in large parts of the match and were far from impressive, finishing third after France in the group, but still advancing.

Group E - prearranged result?

There was a lot of talk in this group before the matches, as a draw between Slovakia and Romania would mean both teams would advance. Speculation was rife that the match might be prearranged to ensure a draw.

Initially, it seemed this assumption might be incorrect when Slovakia took the lead with a header from Ondrej Duda in the 24th minute. However, only 13 minutes later, Romania equalized with a penalty by Razvan Marin, his second goal of the tournament, and the score remained 1-1 until halftime. Understandably, the second half became more cautious as time went on, although both teams had some chances. Ultimately, the rumours proved true as no further goals were scored, and the match ended in a draw, allowing both teams to advance.

Given the likelihood of a draw between Slovakia and Romania, Ukraine was under pressure to win against Belgium to avoid finishing last in the group. Ukraine tried throughout the match to create scoring opportunities and had several half-chances but failed to score. Belgium, becoming less interested in attacking as a draw was enough for them to advance, also failed to score, resulting in a goalless match.

With the draws, all teams in the group ended up with four points. As the teams had beaten each other, so to speak, they were all equal on head-to-head results, leaving goal difference to decide the positions. Romania and Belgium had the same goal difference, but Romania had scored more goals, surprisingly making them the group winners with Belgium in second place. Slovakia finished third but advanced as one of the better third-placed teams.

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Georgia
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia scored for Georgia when they chocked Portugal

Group F - Georgia sensationally advances

This was another group where all teams had a chance to advance, with Portugal already guaranteed as group winners. Georgia was in the worst position, needing to face Portugal, and the Czech Republic needed to win against Turkey to advance.

Since Portugal was already first in the group, they fielded many reserves, though Cristiano Ronaldo was in the starting lineup. Despite the reserve-heavy team, Portugal were strong favourites, but Georgia shocked by going all out from the start, with their star Khvicha Kvaratskhelia scoring already in the second minute. Portugal struggled to create clear chances against a fiercely defending Georgia, and the score remained 1-0 at halftime.

In the second half, Georgia was awarded a penalty, and Georges Mikautadze made no mistake, scoring in the 57th minute to make it 2-0. With growing frustration, Portugal failed to find clear opportunities, and there were no further goals, resulting in a huge upset as Georgia's victory meant they advanced in the tournament.

In the other match, the Czech Republic needed to win but their chances dwindled when Antonín Barák received a second yellow card and was sent off in the 20th minute. Despite being a man down, the Czechs held the score at 0-0 until halftime, but a few minutes into the second half, they couldn't hold on any longer, and Hakan Çalhanoglu scored for Turkey.

The Czechs frantically chased an equalizer and eventually scored in a chaotic goalmouth scramble with Tomas Soucek finding the net. Unfortunately for the Czechs, their offensive momentum waned after the goal, and Turkey regained control, although the Czechs continued to press. As the Czechs pushed forward, they left themselves vulnerable at the back, and in the fourth minute of stoppage time, Cenk Tosun secured a 2-1 win for Turkey, knocking the Czechs out of the tournament.

Round of 16 Matchups

With the group stage completed, we can now focus on the Round of 16 matchups. Here is the schedule for the knockout stage:
  • Switzerland vs. Italy, Saturday 18:00 (Branch 1)
  • Germany vs. Denmark, Saturday 21:00 (Branch 2)
  • England vs. Slovakia, Sunday 18:00 (Branch 1)
  • Spain vs. Georgia, Sunday 21:00 (Branch2)
  • France vs. Belgium, Monday 18:00 (Branch)
  • Portugal vs. Slovenia, Monday 21:00 (Branch2)
  • Romania vs. Netherlands, Tuesday 18:00 (Branch1)
  • Austria vs. Turkey, Tuesday 21:00 (Branch1)

Times in Central European Time (CET)

The branch labels for each match (Branch 1 and Branch 2) indicate that winners will face teams in the same branch the next match, ultimately resulting in one finalist from each branch.

Notably, Branch 2 is much stronger than Branch 1. Of the five biggest favourites in the tournament, four are in Branch 2 - Germany, Spain, France, and Portugal (and also Belgium) - while Branch 1 only has England. Thus, the draw seems to favour England reaching the final, but they need to improve significantly, as they have been underwhelming so far.

The standout matchup in the Round of 16 is undoubtedly France vs. Belgium. While France has not been impressive, they have been stable, whereas Belgium had one good match against Romania but has otherwise been lackluster.

When it comes to favourites to win the tournament, Spain is the only team that has impressed consistently throughout the group stage. However, a strong group stage performance doesn't guarantee success in the knockout rounds, as Spain might have peaked too early, but needs to be seen as the favourite for now.

Germany has been steady but not outstanding. Portugal had one excellent match, a 3-0 victory over Turkey, but hasn't impressed otherwise. Both England and France have been disappointing in their play so far.

Top Scorers After the Group Stage

After 36 matches, there has yet to be a player who has scored twice in a single match, but there is one player who has scored in every game and thus leads the top scoring table with three goals - Georgia's Georges Mikautadze.

Behind Georges Mikautadze are five players with two goals each. Germany's Jamal Musiala and Slovakia's Ivan Schranz both had two goals before this round but didn't score this time. New entries on the scoring list with two goals each are the Netherlands' Cody Gakpo, Germany's Niclas Füllkrug, and Romania's Razvan Marin.

Additionally, Kylian Mbappé scored his first goal of the tournament, which was also his first goal ever in a European Championship. Another prolific scorer, Poland's Robert Lewandowski, also scored his first goal, but with Poland out of the tournament, we won't see any more goals from him.
Andrea Sugler has followed football his whole life and above all the Swedish national team. As Andrea lives in Stockholm, she sees most of the international matches on site, but has also been to most of the European Championships and World Cups in recent years when Sweden has participated, the first time already back in 1992 during the European Championship in Sweden. Andrea also likes to write about football and games, sometimes with successful results.