Euro 2020 has been full of excitement and worth all the money that spectators are spending to travel across the 11 host countries to watch their teams play. Excitement is growing even more with the group stages concluding one by one and many teams still fighting for a place in the Round of 16.
Even the teams that have qualified are not yet sure of their table position and will want to make the most out of their final group fixtures to accrue an easy draw in the next round.
Group E = 🍿🍿🍿
Predict how it will finish 👇
— UEFA Nations League (@EURO2024) June 19, 2021
Group E of Euro 2020 too, has a couple of enthralling fixtures remaining that can change the dimensions of the group and despite one team already qualified for the next round, the table position is at stake and finishing first will be a big positive in the Round of 16.
Out of Slovakia, Spain and Poland, two teams can possibly join Sweden in progressing to the knockout stages. Robert Lewandowski-led Poland will face Sweden while Slovakia will be tested by Luis Enqriue’s La Furia Roja.
ℹ️ EURO 2020 round of 16:
— UEFA Nations League (@EURO2024) June 21, 2021
As the games are scheduled to be played on Wednesday, June 23 in an evening kick-off, we, at FootTheBall, will provide an in-depth analysis of all the possible results and probable opponents.
SWEDEN (4 POINTS)
Sweden came as a surprise package in Euro 2020, despite an early setback of veteran star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s withdrawal due to injury. After scraping a 0-0 draw against Spain in the opening game with just 14% of the ball, Sweden won the important fixture against Slovakia, with less of the ball yet again.
— Svensk Fotboll (@svenskfotboll) June 19, 2021
The four points they accumulated on the way, have confirmed their place in the next round. The Swedes will now play their game against Poland to avoid a difficult fixture in the Round of 16.
A win against Poland will seal the top spot for them and help them find an easier draw. As the winners of Group E, Sweden can face one of the best third-placed team from Group A/B/C/D. If they draw and the other group game doesn’t go in their favour, Sweden will finish second and face the Group D runner ups in the next round.
— Svensk Fotboll (@svenskfotboll) June 18, 2021
However, if the Janne Andersson led team loses the game, and finish third in contrary conditions, they will face one of the heavyweights Belgium or The Netherlands.
SLOVAKIA (3 POINTS)
The Slavic nation making their second appearance in European finals have impressed so far and are currently second in the group. They made full use of the extra-man advantage against Poland, scoring the winner just seven minutes after Krychowiak’s sending off.
They played well against Sweden too but weren’t clinical in the final third, and one foul in the box and Emil Forsberg’s composure stole all three points for the Swedes, making Slovakia’s next fixture a do-or-die one.
They are up for a huge challenge in the next match, with their opponents having more European titles than they have appearances in the finals. They will face an infuriated Spain in Seville.
While a draw will send them through, it will only ascertain a second-place finish, meaning they face the runner ups of Group D. If the Slovaks manage to upset an out-of-touch Spain, and their neighbours Poland help them out in holding Sweden, they can also finish top of the Group E. A top spot will draw them against one of the best four third-placed teams.
The worst-case scenario will be a loss and possibly a group stage exit for them unless luck bails them out on the third-placed qualification basis.
SPAIN (2 POINTS)
La Roja has been unexpectedly underperforming at Euro 2020, and are winless so far despite keeping the ball for an average of 82% across their two games. Both Sweden and Poland held them on to a draw, pushing them to third position with one game to go. The Spaniards could only find the net once in two games, which too, was cancelled by Robert Lewandowski.
📰 CRÓNICA | España y Polonia firman tablas con todo abierto para la tercera jornada (1-1).
➡️ La Selección encadena su segundo empate en la Eurocopa y tiene en su mano lograr su clasificación el próximo miércoles frente a Eslovaquia.
— Selección Española de Fútbol (@SeFutbol) June 19, 2021
Luis Enrique’s Reds will face an inspired Slovakia dreaming for a back to back Round of 16 qualification at the Euros. Spain’s points tally currently stands at two, which means only a win can confirm a top-two finish and eventually a safe spot in the Round of 16 for them.
🏋🏻♂️ Como dijo ayer @CesarAzpi en rueda de prensa: "El esfuerzo no se negocia".
— Selección Española de Fútbol (@SeFutbol) June 22, 2021
A draw for the three-time European champions and anything but a win for Poland will keep the table as-is, and Spain can dream of further qualification by the lucky losers rule. A third-placed finish will put them up against Belgium or the Netherlands in the next round. Perhaps they are attempting to go down the Portugal route when they drew 3 out of 3 group games at Euro 2016 and went on to win the tournament
POLAND (1 POINT)
Poland is enduring the sufferings of having a global superstar in the team, or rather, having only one global superstar in the team.
Their sole dependency on Robert Lewandowski for attacking output in the absence of Krzysztof Piatek is obvious and their opponents are making sure they don’t let the Bayern Munich forward find the ball in open spaces. Poland lost one and drew one game in the tournament so far and could only score once.
They play the table-toppers on the final matchday in St. Petersburg in a must-win game. Sweden, although qualified, will go for all three points to secure the top spot and Poland will have a big task breaking Victor Lindelof’s defensive line down.
A win will confirm Poland’s berth in the next round but its position in the table will depend on the other result. A third-placed finish will be enough to qualify but put them in a difficult fixture against the winners of Group B, Belgium or the winners of Group C, the Netherlands in the Round of 16.
Anything other than a win will mean a straight exit from the tournament, irrespective of how the other groups pan out.