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  • Writer's pictureWill Uglow

Euro 2024: Final Group Stage Predictions

2 rounds, 24 games and 61 goals. The opening stages of Germany's summer of football certainly haven't disappointed. New stars have emerged, established names have stepped up to the plate and some unexpected figures have had their say as well. We now enter the final round of group games with intriguing narratives in all 6 sections waiting to be resolved. Can Scotland clinch their first ever berth in a tournament knockout stage? Will France be edged out by Holland at the summit of Group B? And what on earth will happen in the cacophony of chaos that is Group E?

Amidst an environment of such unpredictability, predicting the outcome of all 12 remaining group fixtures is logically amongst the most foolish actions one could take. Which, of course, is exactly what's been done here... Little of what takes place in the next 4 days of action may make much sense, but here's my honest attempt to apply some reason to the forthcoming clashes anyway. Enjoy now, laugh later and remember, if any of this dubious surmising happens to come to pass, you heard it here first...

Group A

Switzerland vs Germany

A clash between the top two teams in this section heading into the final game, with the hosts having already booked their ticket to the last 16 following their 2-0 victory over Hungary on Wednesday. Switzerland are almost there with them, their 4 points surely enough to ensure progression even if a 6 goal swing in favour of Scotland sees them fall to third. With that in mind, it makes sense for the Swiss to go all out in this Frankfurt encounter, armed with the knowledge that victory will be enough to steal top spot. The buoyant Germans will, of course, be looking to prevent this, but 7 goals in 2 games suggests that they're likely to stick with an attacking formula as they aim to complete the perfect group stage. An exciting and open affair awaits...

Verdict: 2-2 draw

Scotland vs Hungary

Whilst first and second in the group slug it out, the real tension on Sunday evening could come in Stuttgart. These two struggling sides have collected just a point between them so far, and it's that vital draw against Switzerland on Wednesday evening that gives the Scots the edge heading into this face-off. Hungary were well beaten in their own clash with the Swiss, and whilst both teams were swatted aside by Germany, it feels as if a history chasing Scotland have the greater momentum. Another tie here would be enough to secure third, but the Tartan Army will know how significant the difference could be between two points and four. This well-drilled Scotland team appear ready, for once, to handle the pressure. It will be tight, but history might just beckon...

Verdict: Scotland win 1-0

Group B

Croatia vs Italy

Group B is a section still brimming with permutations, with these two respected names at the heart of it. Albania's late, late equaliser against Croatia on Matchday 2 has put the cat firmly amongst the pigeons, creating a three way tussle for qualification with Spain having already wrapped up top-spot. Italy's opening victory against the Albanians ensures that a draw here should be enough to secure second place. A reverse, however, would see the defending champions usurped not only by Croatia, but potentially also Albania if they can do the unthinkable against Spain. The Azzuri are the team in control here and their approach is likely to dictate the game's nature. With the potential implications of defeat in mind, it could be tight...

Verdict: 1-1 draw

Albania vs Spain

Inevitably written off as group of death cannon fodder before a ball was kicked, the Albanians have already won plenty of admirers in Germany. Within 23 seconds they'd provided one of the fledgling tournament's most memorable moments, Nedim Bajrami's record breaking strike against Italy, and ventured to the other end of the goalscoring spectrum with a last gasp leveller against Croatia that gives them an unlikely shot at progression. Less encouraging is who they face next - group winners Spain. A section clinching win over Italy gives La Roja the luxury of resting some of their big names here, but the desire and quality to wrap up proceedings with a third victory should still be evident. If Albania get their customary early goal then things could get interesting, but even a weakened Spain should have enough to get the job done in Dusseldorf.

Verdict: Spain win 2-1

Group C

England vs Slovenia

This encounter comes 14 years, almost to the day, since these two met in the exact same stage of major tournament. On that occasion, a sole Jermain Defoe goal was enough to see England through to the knockout stages of South Africa 2010 (wonder how that turned out...). If all goes to plan for the Three Lions, this should be somewhat less tense, but it's difficult to overlook the lethargy and hesitancy with which they limped to a 1-1 draw against Denmark. For Slovenia, locked with the Danes on 2 points and an identical goal record, any positive result here could prove crucial. England will feel the pressure in the early stages at Cologne's RheinEnergieStadion, but their recent history should bring confidence that an underwhelming second group game performance is usually followed by a return to winning ways. The same here will seal Group C.

Verdict: England win 2-0

Denmark vs Serbia

Both touted as dangerous outfits, if not dark horses, at the tournament's outset, Denmark and Serbia will be slightly disappointed to be sat on a combined 3 points after 2 games each. Only one of them can take the chance to rectify that at the Allianz. For the other, an underwhelming early exit surely awaits. Victory will mean progression for either side unless Slovenia can spring a surprise against the Three Lions, but Serbia's need is greater having only collected a solitary point compared to Denmark's 2. Either way, the incentive is for both teams to attack, but the Danes look to have the superior overall quality and, perhaps crucially, momentum following their encouraging display against England.

Verdict: Denmark win 2-1

Group D

Netherlands vs Austria

Potentially a crucial match in the tournament as a whole, let alone Group D. Should the Netherlands avoid defeat and match France's result against Poland, they will top the section and force the pre-tournament favourites into the opposite side of the knockout draw from what many predicted. That 0-0 draw against Les Bleus has changed the complexion of a group that few expected Holland to emerge top of, but they won't have it all their own way against Ralf Rangnick's quietly impressive Austria side. The Austrians turned many heads with their 3-1 demolition of Poland and could themselves top the section if they were to beat Holland & France failed to overcome the Poles. There is little reason for either side to hold back in this one and the result could be a thrilling spectacle.

Verdict: 2-2 draw

France vs Poland

Whilst France also find themselves embroiled in the melee at the top of Group D, the equation in this Dortmund encounter is slightly more straightforward. If France can better the Netherlands' result against Austria, they will clinch top spot, whereas Poland are already eliminated. The task should be simple for Les Bleus, but of course, all eyes will remain on the recovery of star striker Kylian Mbappe following a broken nose in France's opening game against Austria. The ensuing stalemate against Holland not only damaged Les Bleus' hopes of topping the section, but also continued a run of 7 winless games where Mbappe either hasn't started or played at all. However, with all due respect to the Poles, France's supporting cast should have an easier time against a demoralised outfit with little to play for. And if Mbappe, complete with mask, makes a cameo appearance against a side he scored 2 against in the last 16 of Qatar 2022, all might be looking rosy again.

Verdict: France win 3-0

Group E

Slovakia vs Romania

What appeared destined to be a one-sided Belgium-led procession has instead developed into the most thrilling and unpredictable group of the tournament. For the first time in Euros history, all four participants stand toe-to-toe on 3 points heading into the final game. This unique scenario is mainly down to two incredible shock victories pulled off on the opening matchday by these two, who now face off in Cologne. There's a sense that the Slovaks and Romanians may both have peaked in their opening wins against Belgium and Ukraine respectively, with subsequent defeats to the opposing teams tempering early momentum. It's Slovakia who must win to overcome a slight goal difference disadvantage to their opponents, but in such a tight section both sides may as well treat the game as a knockout tie and go on the attack. This looks an evenly matched tie, will either side have the cutting edge to strike a crucial blow?

Verdict: 1-1 draw

Ukraine vs Belgium

If the other tie in the section represents the plucky upstarts of Group E, this clash in Stuttgart sees the established order trying to regain control after having their noses bloodied early on. Belgium would have been expected to qualify from this quartet with ease, whilst Ukraine seemed perhaps the safest bet to follow them given their recent tournament experience - they reached the quarter finals 3 years ago, remember. Opening defeats put paid to that, with the pair now facing each other knowing that only one may be able to progress. The Ukranians, buoyed by their late victory over Slovakia, represent a stubborn test for Domeinco Tedesco's side here. However, the Belgians themselves seemed to have fully clicked into gear come the final whistle against Romania, and suddenly have the look of a steam train gathering up pace...

Verdict: Belgium win 2-1

Group F

Czech Republic vs Turkey

At the outset of Group F, many observers may have reasonably expected this to emerge as a winner takes all tie between two teams locked on 3 points, having each lost to Portugal and bested new boys Georgia. This could easily have come to pass, had a surprisingly competitive Georgian side not taken a point (and very nearly more...) against the Czechs in the second round of matches. That result has significantly altered the dynamic of this Hamburg encounter, with Czechia now almost certainly requiring a win to progress and Turkey just a point. The Turks are hard to gauge, having impressed in their opening victory over Georgia but been beaten convincingly by Portugal on Saturday. They may have just enough to get the job done here and return to knockout tournament football after several years in the wilderness, against a Czech side struggling to replicate their heroics of Euro 2020.

Verdict: 2-2 draw

Georgia vs Portugal

Portugal wrapped up top-spot in this section with their convincing 3-0 victory over Turkey, and Georgia will need to hope that their opponents have taken their foot slightly off the gas if they are to extend what has already been an impressive showing in their first ever major tournament appearance. Like the Czechs, Georgia stand on a solitary point after 2 games, knowing that victory is now imperative to avoiding an exit at this early stage. Whilst their adventurous spirit and style of play has won many fans in Germany, similarly to Albania, Georgia are clearly limited and the most important important factor here could be which Portugal turns up. Roberto Martinez won't want his side to slacken off, despite having sewn up group proceedings, and a fearsome looking side may not have Georgian fairytales in their plans.

Verdict: Portugal win 3-1

Think you can do any better (in a few days, this may be like asking if you're able to tell a pigeon from a penguin)? Post your predictions in the comments section below...

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