EURO 2024 Knockout Stage Nearly Set as Matchday 3 Kicks Off

EURO 2024 Knockout Stage Nearly Set as Matchday 3 Kicks Off

With Group Play wrapping up this week in EURO 2024, competition is ramping up as the teams vie for the top two spots in each group. Just a handful of teams – Switzerland, Germany, Spain and Portugal – have guaranteed themselves a date with destiny in the single-elimination knockout stage.

While the first two dozen games of the EUROS have produced exciting football and memorable goals, the next phase of the tournament is sure to bring increasingly dramatic moments. From the unbelievable amount of own goals to the last-gasp equalisers and stoppage time game-winners, the stage is nearly set for the final 16 teams to compete for European football immortality.

Will we see a record number of own goals?

Perhaps one storyline, not many football fans would have believed had you told them before the tournament began is that own goals would lead the scoring through group play. There have been a staggering six own-goals scored through the first 26 games.

Whether it’s a defender making a late challenge and deflecting the ball into goal or accidentally slotting the ball into the back of the net while attempting a back-pass, EURO 2024 is on pace to break the record number of own goals (11) set just last tournament in 2020. Will the trend continue on Matchday 3 and into the knockout rounds?

Interestingly, as of Monday morning of Matchday 3 only one player has scored more than one goal. Germany forward Jamal Musiala leads the way with two, out-scored only by the collective own-goals scored.

Here is a list of the own-goal-scorers so far:

  • Antonio Rudiger (Germany) vs Scotland
  • Maximilian Wober (Austria) vs France
  • Robin Hranac (Czech Republic) vs Portugal
  • Klaus Gjasula (Albania) vs Croatia
  • Riccardo Calafiori (Italy) vs Spain
  • Samet Akaydin (Turkey) vs Portugal

If the trend continues, expect more gaffes committed and names to be added as the tournament progresses. Now, let’s take a look at how Group A finished and what’s left to play for in the other groups.

A look at the various groups as the knockout stage looms

Group A

After handily defeating Scotland 5-1 in Munich in the opening match of EURO 2024 and then dispatching Hungary 2-0 in Stuttgart, hosts Germany qualified for the knockout stage following a heart-racing 1-1 draw against Switzerland thanks to a header in stoppage-time from Niclas Fullkrug. Jamal Musiala is the top scorer for Deutschland and has two goals through their first three matches. Hosts Germany and France are now the favourites to win EURO 2024 at +400 odds. England currently has the third-best odds (+450) to win it all. Fans can leverage a matched betting service and expert picks to get closer to the action and make better-informed bets.

Group A runner-up, Switzerland, will advance to the round of 16 after securing 5 points from one victory and two draws. The Swiss defeated Hungary 3-1 before drawing even with Scotland 1-1 and Germany 1-1.

Group B

It took just two matches for Spain to win Group B. They have looked great thus far in the tournament, defeating Italy 1-0 (thanks to an own goal by Riccardo Calafiori) and outclassing Croatia 3-0 behind three first-half goals. The Spaniards look like legitimate title contenders heading into the single-elimination games. They take on Albania in a game where Coach Luis de la Fuente may take the opportunity to rotate his lineup and give key players well-deserved and much-needed rest heading into the final 16.

Despite falling to Spain, Italy is predicted to finish second in the group thanks to a 2-1 victory over Albania. The team showed poise and resilience after conceding the fastest goal ever scored (22 seconds) at a European Championship. As long as they don’t lose to Croatia, Italy will finish second in Group B. Still, the Azzurri will have to do a lot more going forward if they want to keep the hopes alive of defending their title.

Group C

England turned in an underwhelming performance in their 1-1 draw against Denmark on Thursday to currently sit first in Group C with 4 points. The Three Lions got off to a good enough start with Harry Kane scoring in the 18th minute. The lead didn’t last long as Morten Hjulmand equalised for the Danes with a great strike from distance. Gareth Southgate isn’t in the hot seat yet, but it’s definitely getting warm.

Newspapers from the Daily Mirror to the Times described watching England as a struggle, illustrating the lack of confidence felt throughout the country. Jude Bellingham has been a source of hope and inspiration, though, continuing his great form and scoring the lone goal in England’s first match against Serbia. Unless they lose to Slovenia or Denmark does not beat Serbia, England will be through to the knockout rounds.

Denmark is poised to finish second in Group C if they either win or draw against Serbia. If they lose and Slovenia avoids defeat, then Denmark will be unable to reach the round of 16.

Group D

Currently tied with France atop Group D with 4 points, it’s highly likely that the Netherlands will be through to the round of 16, either finishing top-two in their group or at least as the best third-placed team.

Similarly, France will move on as the best third-place team if Albania does not beat Spain in Group B. Austria still has a lot left to play for, however, and will advance if they beat the Dutch. They can even win the group if they win and France loses.

Group E

With one game remaining, Group E is wide open. Each team is tied with 3 points through the first two matches. Qualifying tiebreakers may come into play, especially if both matches end in a draw.

It will be Slovakia vs Romania and Ukraine vs Belgium to decide who goes on to the knockouts. We won’t get into all of the various scenarios here, but if interested, check out how the tiebreakers come into play if necessary.

Group F

Portugal are through already after winning the group with 6 points. Turkey will reach the round of 16 if they avoid losing to Czechia.

If Cechia beats Turkey and Georgia doesn’t beat Portugal, then they will finish second in the group and qualify. Even with 1 point Georgia still has hopes alive, if just barely, and can advance if they beat Portugal and Czechia beat Turkey.

There’s still plenty of action left to take place with the most memorable moments still to come. Who will survive and advance through the knockouts and win the 2024 UEFA European Championship?