Denmark host Russia in Copenhagen on Monday still in with a chance of reaching the last 16 of Euro 2020 despite losing their first two games in Group B where the possibilities are aplenty for the four sides.
Roberto Martinez’s Belgium, the world’s top-ranked team, are through to the next round but not yet guaranteed a top-two finish. Belgium have won their first two games, against Russia in Saint Petersburg (3-0) and Denmark in Copenhagen (2-1) and will secure first place with a draw or victory.
The Group B matches happen later in the day after Group C where Austria finished second after victory in Bucharest over Ukraine.
Denmark have lost both games so far, against Finland (0-1) in a game that featured a medical emergency involving Christian Eriksen and Belgium (1-2). Denmark’s loss to Finland was overshadowed by the Eriksen incident and they then fell to defeat against world No 1 Red Devils in an emotional game which saw both fans and players show their support for the midfielder. That match saw Yussuf Poulsen giving them the lead after 99 seconds, the second fastest goal in Euro finals history.
Beaten 3-0 by Belgium in Saint Petersburg on Matchday 1, Russia got their campaign back on track with a 1-0 defeat of Finland at the same venue in the second round of matches.
Results so far
Denmark 0-1 Finland
Belgium 3-0 Russia
Finland 0-1 Russia
Denmark 1-2 Belgium
Finland vs Belgium
Russia vs Denmark
Group B as it stands
The top two teams from each group qualify for the Round of 16. The classification of teams level on points within a group will be done as per articles 20 and 21 of the regulations of the Uefa European Championship.
The third-placed team in all the groups also have a chance of reaching the next stage if they are among the four best third-placed teams as per the table below when group stage matches are complete.
The rules of classification for third-place teams are as follows:
2) Goal difference
3) Goals scored
5) Lower disciplinary points total (red card = 3 points, yellow card = 1 point, expulsion for two yellow cards in one match = 3 points)
6) European Qualifiers overall ranking.
Overall standings of third-placed teams
Group B Qualification scenarios
With the possibility of three teams finishing on six points or three teams finishing on three points, Group B is wide open.
First, here’s the short version of the qualification scenarios:
Belgium: The Red Devils are in the best position and will top the group with a draw. On six points already, there is a near-impossible chance that they can finish third should Finland win big and Russia beat Denmark but even then, they will progress as one of the best third-placed teams.
Russia: The 2018 World Cup hosts will go through to the round of 16 with a win against Denmark. A draw would be enough if Finland fail to beat Belgium. Should the Russians lose, they will be left hoping for a Finland defeat.
Finland: This is Finland’s debut in the Uefa European Championship but they have acquitted themselves well so far. As hard as the task facing them against Belgium is, the underdogs will be through with a win. A draw would be enough too if Russia lose to Denmark.
Denmark: Despite their two defeats in what has been a tumultuous campaign so far, Denmark will finish in the top two if they beat Russia by two or more goals and Finland lose against Belgium. Denmark will depend heavily on the goals scored in these two matches, which brings us to the longer version of the possibilities.
Scenario 1: Denmark, Russia and Finland all finish on 3 points (behind Belgium on 9)
Given that the most likely result in Belgium vs Finland is a win for the former, this is the most likely scenario we will see come the end of the two fixtures. The three teams will be split on goal difference from matches between the three teams.
Naturally, the second-placed team behind Belgium would be through to round of 16 and the third-placed team could still advance depending on the final record of third-placed teams in other groups. But that’s a precarious position to be in.
If Denmark beat Russia by a one-goal margin other than 1-0, and Finland lose, the order will be:
2 Denmark, 3 Russia, 4 Finland.
If Denmark beat Russia by two goals or more, and Finland lose, the order will be:
2 Denmark, 3 Finland, 4 Russia.
The craziest possible scenario is Denmark beating Russia 1-0, and Finland losing against Belgium. In this case, the three teams would be equal on all three-way scenarios involving themselves (which is the first tiebreaker).
The teams would then be split on overall goal difference then overall goals scored, then number of wins (which in this case would be equal), then disciplinary points involving yellow and red cards, then European Qualifiers rankings (in which Russia are 12th, Denmark 15th and Finland 20th).
As per Uefa:
Disciplinary points then European Qualifiers rankings would be used specifically if Denmark won 1-0 and Finland lost 2-1 (Denmark and Finland would be equal on overall goal difference, goals scored and number of wins), or if Denmark won 1-0 and Finland lost 3-0 (Russia and Finland would be equal on overall goal difference, goals scored and number of wins).
More details on how Denmark, Russia and Finland can finish in this group is explained by ESPN here.
Scenario 2: Belgium, Russia and Finland all finish on 6 points (ahead of Denmark on 0)
Good news then is that all three will progress to the round of 16 but where they finish becomes tricky. The teams will be split on goal difference from matches between the three teams.
If Finland beat Belgium by one or two goals, and Russia win, the order will be:
1 Belgium, 2 Finland, 3 Russia.
If Finland beat Belgium by between three and five goals, and Russia win, the order will be:
1 Finland, 2 Belgium, 3 Russia.
If Finland beat Belgium by six goals or more, and Russia win, the order will be:
1 Finland, 2 Russia, 3 Belgium.
(With Uefa and AFP inputs)