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Euro 2024 permutations: Every possible outcome for England as last group game beckons

The Euro 2024 group stage is nearly over, with England rounding out Group C by facing Slovenia in Cologne on Tuesday evening. 

Despite two disappointing displays from the Three Lions, they sit top of the table on four points following a narrow win over Serbia and a draw with Denmark.

Qualification to the next round is virtually secured thanks to results in groups A and B, as they look forward to the knockouts.

Ideally for Gareth Southgate and his players, they go through as group winners and secure a kinder side of the draw. But there is the possibility of finishing second or lower in the group.

Here’s what each outcome means for England at the tournament.

Euro 2024: What England need to do to reach knockout rounds

How can England top their group?

This one’s pretty straightforward: beat Slovenia and they cannot be caught at the top of Group C.

Slovenia and Denmark lag two points behind England after two games, while Serbia sit bottom on one point.

As group winners, England would face one of the best third-placed teams from groups D, E or F. Austria and Ukraine are among their possible opponents.

Read – The best teams that never won the European Championship

What if they draw with Slovenia?

A draw may still be good enough to top the group, so long as Denmark don’t beat Serbia by two goals or more. If Slovenia manage to hold the Three Lions and the Danes win 2-0 in Munich, then England would finish second in Group C.

That would land them an altogether much more difficult tie in the next round: Group A winners Germany.

Euro 2024 – Best XI from second round of group games

What if they lose to Slovenia?

Defeat in this game is almost unthinkable, as England have won five of their six encounters with the Slovenes, although they have caused them trouble in the past. Fabio Capello’s men struggled to a 1-0 win at the 2010 World Cup, while Roy Hodgson’s side were held to a scoreless draw in 2016.

If Slovenia manage to pull off what would surely be the greatest result in their history, England could still proceed to the knockouts, depending on the outcome of Denmark versus Serbia.

A draw in that game will guarantee England a top two finish no matter what. If Slovenia win in that scenario, they will top the group.

If both Slovenia and Denmark win tonight, England will drop to third with four points in which case they will progress as one of the four best third-placed teams. This is because they already have more points than Hungary and Croatia, whose campaigns concluded with three and two points respectively.

Qualification as one of the best third-placed sides would see them drawn against the winners of Group F – Portugal.

So it’s clear that if England want to avoid one of the Euro 2024 contenders in the round of the 16, then nothing short of a win to be absolutely sure of top spot will do.

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