What happens if teams are level on points in the Euro 2020 group stages

The 2020 European Championship starts on June 11 and sees 24 different countries play in the first major international football tournament since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 24 teams are split into six groups (A-F), with the top two from each group going through to the knockout stages. The four top performing third-placed teams are also put into the first knockout round, to commence the round of 16 stage.

But what happens if two or more teams are on equal points at the end of the group stage, and how could this happen?

For example, if one team in a group won all their games, and the other three teams in the same group drew against one another, then there could be a situation in which one team had nine points and the other three teams had two.

Jack Grealish will be hoping England can go all the way
Jack Grealish will be hoping England can go all the way

To determine which team finishes second, the teams tied on points will first be ranked according to their head-to-head performance against one another.

If there is no difference in points in the head-to-head matches, then their goal difference in their head-to-head matches is applied, and the teams with the higher goal difference finish higher in the group.

However, if the teams have drawn against each other and have equal goal difference against one another, then the number of goals scored in the head-to-heads are taken into consideration.

Only after this, and if the teams still cannot be split, then the overall goal difference of the sides are compared, and the team with the greater goal difference finishes higher.

If that is identical then the team with the most goals scored overall is ranked higher. After that, the team with the most wins is the next category applied.

Should all of these rules still fail to find a higher ranked team, then the sides are split according to their disciplinary records (yellow and red cards), and finally, their UEFA coefficient ranking.

The ranking system may sound complicated, but it goes as follows:

· Most points in head-to-head matches

· Higher goal difference in head-to-head matches

· Most goals scored in head-to-head matches

· Higher goal difference in overall group stage

· Most goals scored in overall group stage

· Most wins in overall group stage

· Disciplinary record in overall group stage

· UEFA coefficient rankings

However, should a team be unfortunate enough to finish in third place after losing out on coefficient rankings or disciplinary records, there is still a route into the knockout rounds.

The four top scoring third-place teams are entered into the quarter finals.

To calculate the top four third-place teams, the six teams who finished their group in third place are ordered according to the total amount of points they accumulated.

In Euro 2016, Portugal famously qualified from their groups stage in third place, having drawn all three matches.

Portugal went on to win the tournament, beating hosts France at the Parc des Princes in extra time. This year both teams will face each other in the group stage, with Germany and Hungary making up the rest of Group F.

The knockout stages for the Euros are much simpler than the group stages, with extra time and/or penalties used to decide a drawn match.


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