We’ve nearly reached the end of the Group Stage. Two matches to go in Group D today: Sweden-France and England-Ukraine, which will determine the final two quarterfinalists. Already in the final eight: Czech Republic, Greece, Germany, Portugal, Spain, and Italy.
The latter two claimed first and second in Group C with tense victories yesterday. Spain beat upstart Croatia 1-0 off a 88′ tiki-taka type goal: Cesc Fábregas with a looping lofted ball over the defense to Andrés Iniesta, who was just barely onsides, and who then played a square ball to substitute Jesús Navas, allowing him to blast it home unopposed. But there were tense moments for Spain before that–most memorably, Spanish captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas denying Croatia’s Ivan Rakitic when it was still scoreless. It was a crucial save, since a Croatia win, combined with an Italy win, would have see Spain shockingly eliminated. As it is, Croatia goes home, but they certainly impressed in this tournament.
Italy finally won a game, 2-0 over Ireland, though it was also a tight game. Mario Balotelli added a spectacular insurance goal in the 90′–after which he was spectacularly gagged by his teammate Leonardo Bonnucci.
On to Group D. Sweden is out, so it’s France, England, or Ukraine for the final two spots in the last eight. France or England advance with at least a draw–hence, Ukraine need to win in order to advance. I’ll be wearing my Shevchenko jersey and rooting for them to do so.
Today’s fixtures, current group standings, and scenario matrix:
|Referee: Pedro Proença (POR) – Stadium: Olympic Stadium, Kyiv (UKR)|
|Referee: Viktor Kassai (HUN) – Stadium: Donbass Arena, Donetsk (UKR)|
Scenario matrix via wikipedia:
Sweden have been eliminated.
On the last match day (19 June) the teams advancing from this group (winner; runner-up) will be:
If: France win draw Sweden win England win England and France1 England; France England; France draw France; England France; England England; France Ukraine win France; Ukraine Ukraine; France Ukraine; England or France2
- England win the group if either of the following (otherwise, France win the group)
- England’s winning margin is greater than France’s by at least 2 goals
- England’s winning margin is greater by 1 goal and France do not score at least 2 goals more than England
- England are runner-up if either of the following (otherwise, France are runner-up)
- England’s losing margin is less than France’s by at least 2 goals
- England’s losing margin is less by 1 goal and France do not score at least 2 goals more than England