News, Culture & Society

EURO 2020: England’s best route through the knockouts as they look to end group stage on a high 

England have officially qualified for the knockout stages of the European Championship this summer after results elsewhere fell in their favour. 

Ukraine and Finland both finished third in their groups with three points, meaning England will at worst qualify for the last-16 as one of the best third-placed teams.

However, the Three Lions’ route through the knockout stages hinges on their final group clash with the Czech Republic.

The result on Tuesday night will determine whether England face tournament favourites France, reigning champions Portugal, three-time winners Spain or others.  

Here, Sportsmail take a closer look at who England are most likely to meet in the next stage of the competition.   

England have officially qualified for the knockout stages of Euro 2020 this summer

England's route through the knockout stages hinges on their clash with the Czech Republic

England’s route through the knockout stages hinges on their clash with the Czech Republic

Sportsmail look at who Gareth Southgate's side could face in the next stage of the competition

Sportsmail look at who Gareth Southgate’s side could face in the next stage of the competition

Finishing top of the group 

Who they could face: France, Portugal, Germany or Hungary

In the build-up to the European Championship, many fans had hoped that England would coast through the group stages – picking up three wins from three and subsequently coming top the group. 

However, finishing the group stages as winners may now be England supporter’s worst nightmare as Gareth Southgate’s side will meet the runners-up from Group F – which has been called the ‘Group of Death’ – in the last-16.  

As a result, England would face either France, Portugal, Germany or Hungary – with old nemesis Germany being the most likely of opponent as it stands.

Finishing top of the group would see England face France, Portugal, Germany or Hungary

Finishing top of the group would see England face France, Portugal, Germany or Hungary

The 2014 World Cup champions have struggled for form in the last two major tournaments

The 2014 World Cup champions have struggled for form in the last two major tournaments

The 2014 World Cup winners have struggled for form in the last two major tournaments – losing to France in the semi-finals of EURO 2016 and failing to surpass the group stages in the 2018 World Cup.

However, this Germany side have started to flourish at Euro 2020 – beating Portugal 4-2 on Saturday. Joachim Low’s side are also expected to cruise past Hungary on Wednesday.  

Nevertheless, England must also be prepared to face tournament favourites France and three-time winners Portugal as all will be decided in Group F’s final games on Wednesday. 

World Cup holders France have retained most of the 2018 squad and have lost just one qualifying game, against Turkey. They also boast the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba and Antonine Griezmann.

Meanwhile Portugal are still the holders of the trophy and have the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo, Bernardo Silva, and Bruno Fernandes in their ranks. 

However, this Germany side have started to flourish at Euro 2020 - beating Portugal 4-2

However, this Germany side have started to flourish at Euro 2020 – beating Portugal 4-2

England must also be prepared to face tournament favourites France in the next round

England must also be prepared to face tournament favourites France in the next round

After the last-16, England would most likely face Spain in the quarter-finals in Rome – which would be their only game outside of Wembley. 

Following that, the Three Lions could come face to face with the Netherlands in the final four.  

However, attention remains on England’s upcoming fixture with the Czech Republic on Tuesday night.    

There has been much speculation as to Gareth Southgate’s mindset heading into England’s decider. Many believe the Three Lions boss will have one eye on the group standings and look to manipulate the table to suit them going forwards. 

Looking back at the World Cup, Southgate rotated eight players for their final group game against Belgium. He felt confident his side could rise to the challenge but argued that England would avoid Brazil in the last-16 if they were to lose.  

Could Southgate be teeing up the same move for Euro 2020?  

They could face three-time winners Portugal (above) depending on how group F ends

They could face three-time winners Portugal (above) depending on how group F ends

A look at the Group F standings (above) ahead of their final fixtures this week

A look at the Group F standings (above) ahead of their final fixtures this week

Finishing second in the group 

Who they could face: Spain, Sweden, Poland and Slovakia 

After a disappointing 0-0 draw against Scotland on Friday night, England could finish the group stages in second place. 

This would see England avoid a difficult last-16 tie and put off France, Germany or Portugal until a later date.  

Instead, they would be drawn against the second side in Group E – which contains Spain, Sweden, Poland and Slovakia – for the next stage of the competition. 

After a disappointing draw against Scotland, England could finish the group stages in second

After a disappointing draw against Scotland, England could finish the group stages in second

They would play the second in Group E - which contains Spain, Sweden, Poland and Slovakia

They would play the second in Group E – which contains Spain, Sweden, Poland and Slovakia

The Spanish squad has gone through a dramatic rebuild with Sergio Busquets being the only member of the 2010 World Cup winning side in South Africa. 

As a result, they have a rocky start to Euro 2020 – having drawn to both Sweden Poland. However, Luis Enrique is confident that his country can win their fourth European Championship title.

Sweden exceeded expectations by reaching the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup, before losing to England. They are also sitting top of Group E after drawing with Spain in their opening game of the tournament and beating Slovakia. 

Sergio Busquets is the only remaining player from Spain's 2010 World Cup winning side

Sergio Busquets is the only remaining player from Spain’s 2010 World Cup winning side

As a result Sweden – who contains Dejan Kulusevski and Aleksander Isak – will pose a real threat to England heading into the next stage of the competition. 

Poland will also be a difficult opponent for England as they boast the Bundesliga’s record goalscorer Robert Lewandowski. For Slovakia, all-time goalscorer Marek Hamsik is leading the line. 

Following the last-16 Southgate’s England side will most likely face France or Germany in the quarter-final before meeting Italy or Belgium in the last four.

While Poland boast the Bundesliga’s record goalscorer Robert Lewandowski (above)

While Poland boast the Bundesliga’s record goalscorer Robert Lewandowski (above) 

A look at the Group E standings (above) ahead of their final fixtures this week

A look at the Group E standings (above) ahead of their final fixtures this week

Finishing as one of the four best third-placed teams:

Who they could face: the Netherlands, Belgium or the winner of Group E

Finishing third in the group would not only come as a surprise to England fans, it would be an additional disappoint following a dismal performance against Scotland last week. 

Should England fail to overcome the Czech Republic on Tuesday night, they will qualify for the last-16 as one of the best third-placed teams.

This would see the Three Lions face either the Netherlands, Belgium or the winner of Group E – one of Spain, Sweden or Slovakia.

If England come third they will face either the Netherlands, Belgium or the winner of Group E

If England come third they will face either the Netherlands, Belgium or the winner of Group E

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk