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What Is England’s Path To The Euro 2016 Final?

June 04, 2016

- Grant Whittington

When attempting to plot England’s potential course towards the Euro 2016 final, two things spring to mind. The first is that you may be being a little optimistic in visualising the Three Lions as potential finalists, especially as they have never won the European Championships nor reached a major final since lifting the World Cup in 1966.

When attempting to plot England’s potential course towards the Euro 2016 final, two things spring to mind. The first is that you may be being a little optimistic in visualising the Three Lions as potential finalists, especially as they have never won the European Championships nor reached a major final since lifting the World Cup in 1966.

The next thing which becomes apparent is the complexity of predicting any teams’ route to the final, particularly in a tournament where the first round of knock-out games will include four third-place teams of variable ranking. This means that depending on where England finish in the top three of Group B, there are multiple scenarios that could unfold during the knock-out stages.

Rather than dealing in probabilities and statistics, however, we thought it would be far easier to predict England’s route to the final as the winners of Group B. After all, the Three Lions definitely have the quality to achieve this aim while they are also heavily backed by the bookmakers to vanquish their group opposition.

So Without Further Ado, Let’s Get Started…

As group winners, England will most likely take on one of the teams to have qualified in third. While it is hard to quantify exactly which one, our calculations suggest that 14 from the 15 potential combinations will see England face a nation from either Group D (Spain, Turkey, Croatia and the Czech Republic) or Group A (including hosts France, Romania, Switzerland and Albania).

There is also an outside chance that the Three Lions would face the third-place team from Group C, which is home to Germany, the Ukraine, Poland and Northern Ireland.

There are some difficult opponents here, so qualification can never be taken for granted. Should one of the these teams be disposed of in the last-16, however, England can expect to face one of Italy, Portugal or the world’s top-ranked side Belgium at the quarter-final stage. While the Republic of Ireland should not be discounted, they face an exceptionally difficult group that also includes Sweden and the Italians.

The Semi-Finals and Beyond: Who Could England Face?

Should England reach their first semi-final since Euro ’96, their most likely opponents would be either Spain or host nation France. Neither is particularly appealing, with Spain striving to win their third consecutive Euro title and a fourth overall (both international records) and the French backed by their passionate home support. From here, old enemies Germany could lie in wait, although if England are able to reach the final then who knows what else is possible?

Of course, England’s course would be completely different if they finished second in the group. In this scenario they could face both Portugal and France before the semi-final stage, with Germany and Belgium potentially lying in wait beyond this point. With so many permeations in play, it is almost impossible to accurately predict how the knock-out stages will take shape.

Make no mistake; however, whichever course England take will have to beat some of Europe’s top nations if they are to succeed. They are also very likely to meet France at some point too, which will make for a monumental and thrilling occasion.

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