According to the rankings, who reaches the final and who wins the groups

We already know what the Euro-2024 groups will be like, since Saturday’s draw and, therefore, we can simulate what the entire competition will be like if all the games go as suggested by the official world rankings of the FIFA rankings.

The groups are not yet fully complete, with three places to be taken by the three play-off winners, but we also allocate those places to the team in each play-off that is ranked highest in the FIFA rankings.

We did the same to determine who would be the four best third-placed teams that advance to the round of 16, choosing the four highest-ranked teams in the world that are not one of the two highest-ranked teams in their group.

If all the knockout games of Euro 2024 are won by the highest-ranked team in the FIFA rankings, this is how Euro 2024 will play out.

For the record, the world rankings were not used to determine the pots for the draw – they were based on the qualifying records.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from our simulation is that France and England, the two tournament favorites, will end up on the same side of the draw if they both win their groups. Therefore, the two countries would meet in the semi-finals rather than the final.

Belgium, who could face Croatia in a thrilling last-16 tie, will also be in that half if they win their group, meaning the three highest-ranked European teams in the world are very likely to be on the same side of the group.

This would create a great opportunity for a team in the other half of the draw to reach the final. The Netherlands will most likely be the highest-ranked team on that side, but given their recent past, Portugal will perhaps be the strongest.

Hosts Germany will be relieved to know they can beat France and England to the final if they can win their group, but their journey should not be easy with a last-16 clash with Denmark and a quarter-final with Spain.

Away from the heavyweights, Ukraine have a chance of escaping their group if they win their play-off games, while Turkey could reach the last 16 for the first time since 2008.

In short, it would be a path that would pit the two strongest teams in the tournament, France and England, against each other in the semi-finals, meaning that Spain, Portugal, Germany, and the Netherlands have a much better chance of reaching the final than might be expected.

Although we based our simulation on the official FIFA world rankings, the possibility of an outsider emerging from one of the groups and going far in the tournament cannot be ruled out. After all, rankings matter, but they don’t tell you everything.

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