Europe’s massive celebration of football rolls on and the winners of each group have finally been decided. Fans are absolutely buzzing as the final 16 are set. Who’s moving on, and who’s the favorite to win the whole tournament? Let’s take a look at the standings.
Leaving the group stage, the strongest teams in the standings are Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, England, and France. Those six teams pulled out the best finishes of their groups, putting them ahead as the favorites to go all the way in the single-elimination portion of the tournament. Meanwhile, the group second-place finishers, Croatia, Spain, Wales, Denmark, Austria, and Germany, also get to move on.
Third-place teams weren’t guaranteed a spot in the single-elimination round, though. Only the top four third-place teams secured their spot out of the group stage: Ukraine, Portugal, Czech Republic, and Switzerland. None of the fourth-finishing teams in the group stage will be moving on.
Now that the marathon group stage is over, the teams will be able to catch their breath for a few days and plan for what’s next. The next round of matches will begin on June 26, with Wales and Denmark starting the single-elimination round in Amsterdam. Austria and Italy will play the next game that same day, which will begin only three hours after the Wales and Denmark game gets started.
Then, on Sunday, the Czech Republic will face off against the Netherlands for the first match of the day. Later Sunday, Portugal will play their game against Belgium. The games continue at a breakneck pace into the week, with Spain battling Croatia on Monday before Switzerland and France meet later in the day. Finally, the first round of the single-elimination tournament will take place Tuesday, when England plays a match against Germany before Ukraine and Sweden face off.
Coming out of the group stage, Belgium is the top-ranked team in the tournament. Oddsmakers have Belgium picked as the favorite to go the distance. Fans would be wise to not count Portugal out, either: the reigning Euro champions are a serious team. Their meeting on Sunday is sure to be explosive.
Meanwhile, Tuesday’s match where England will meet their rivals, Germany, will likely be a fierce competition. The two teams are dead even in head-to-head meetings, with each recording 13 wins against the other, and six of their competitions ending with a draw. Germany has the advantage in terms of titles, though: they’ve won the World Cup four times, and the European Championship three times.
No matter what happens, the single-elimination round is sure to be full of drama and outstanding athleticism.