The group of death at this years tournament comes to a close with all teams still in with a chance of qualifying, and 3 of them still able to top the group. Germany play what should be their easiest game of the tournament so far as they take on Hungary, and the reigning Euro champions Portugal take on the reigning world champions France in what should be a cracker.
Germany – A win for Germany would guarantee them at least 2nd spot in the group, and would see them top the group if France fail to beat Portugal. A draw would get them 2nd in the group if France beat Portugal. If they draw and Portugal beat France they will finish in 3rd spot. If they draw and France vs Portugal ends in a draw they would finish 2nd. If they lose they finish 3rd if France beat Portugal, if they lose and Portugal win or draw against France they will finish bottom.
Hungary – If Hungary don’t win their final game they will see their tournament come to an end. If they win and France beat Portugal they will end up 2nd in the group. If they beat Germany and Portugal beat France then goal difference will be used to separate France and Hungary who will be tied on 4 points having drawn when they met. If they win and Portugal vs France ends in a draw they will end up 3rd.
Portugal – If Portugal beat France in their final game and Germany beat Hungary they will finish in 2nd spot. If Portugal beat France and Germany don’t beat Hungary then they will win the group. If both games end in a draw then Portugal will find themselves in 3rd spot. A draw could even be enough for them to finish 2nd should Hungary spring a surprise against Germany and pick up the win. If they lose and Germany win or draw vs Hungary then they finish 3rd. If they lose and Hungary win they will finish bottom.
France – A win for France will see them top the group, a draw would also be enough for them to top the group if Germany failed to beat Hungary. If they draw and Germany do win they will finish in 2nd spot. If they lose to Portugal and Germany win they will end up in 3rd. If they lose and Germany draw they will be 3rd. If France lose and Hungary beat Germany, goal difference would be used to separate France and Hungary who would be level on 4 points.
The bookmakers (All prices taken from Bet365) currently have Germany priced up as 5/6 favourites to top the group. France are even money to finish top and Portugal the big outsiders at 16/1. Germany and Portugal are both long odds on to qualify at 1/33, with Hungary at 12/1 to get the win they need and make it out the group.
The winner of this group will take on one of the best 3rd place finishers from group A, B or C, who could be any of Switzerland, Finland or Ukraine. The runner up of this group will play the winner of group D, who will be England or Czech Republic. The 3rd placed side in this group, should they qualify for the knockout rounds, will play either Belgium or Holland.
So lets look at the last two games and see what we can expect.
Germany vs Hungary
In their two games played here so far, Germany have scored 4 goals, conceded 3 goals, had 22 shots with 8 on target, they have an average possession percentage of 60%, have been given 3 yellow cards, no red cards and taken 8 corners.
Hungary have scored 1 goal, conceded 4, had 10 shots, 6 on target, have had an average possession percentage of 31.50%, have been given 3 yellow cards, no red cards and taken 1 corner.
The referee for this game is Sergei Karasev (Russia), this season he has taken charge of 25 games, handing out 114 yellow cards and 9 red cards, for an average of 4.56 yellow cards per game and 0.36 red cards per game. In his career to date he has refereed 181 games, giving 717 yellow cards and 52 red cards, an average of 3.96 yellow cards per game and 0.29 red cards per game.
The fact Hungary have managed to pick up a point means they have done better than many people expected at this tournament, but they have their work cut out against a German side who tore Portugal to shreds at times in their last game. Germany know a win here will see them finish at worst 2nd and after taking on France and Portugal in their opening games, they will have full confidence of beating Hungary and securing their last 16 spot. Hungary don’t have the depth in quality that most other teams at this tournament do, and after quick back to back games against the World Champions and European champions in France and Portugal, the prospect of playing Germany would not be an appealing one. Especially late on when fatigue sets in to these Hungarian players legs, i expect Germany to pull away and be much too good, especially as Hungary will not have the home advantage that they enjoyed in their opening 2 games. I see a routine win for the Germans by 4 or 5 goals to nil as they put Hungary to the sword and head into the business end of the tournament.
Portugal vs France
In their two games played at Euro 2020, Portugal have scored 5 goals, conceded 4 goals, had 18 shots with 9 on target, they have an average possession of 56%, have been given 1 yellow card, no red cards and taken 12 corners.
France have scored 2 goals, conceded 1, had 19 shots with 5 on target, have had an average possession percentage of 52.50%, have been given 1 yellow card, no red cards and have taken 6 corners.
The referee for this game is Antonio Mateu (Spain), this season he has refereed 29 games, giving out 126 yellow cards and 3 red cards, an average of 4.34 yellow cards per game and 0.10 red cards per game. In his career so far he has taken charge of 288 games, awarding 1335 yellow cards and 60 red cards, an average of 4.64 yellow cards per game and 0.21 red cards per game.
France are the only side who know that a win means they top the group, but they will have to be at their best to get past a Portugal team who will be desperate to pick up at least 1 point so that they aren’t left hoping other results go their way in order to be one of the best 3rd place finishers. France couldn’t find a way past a stubborn Hungarian defence to score a winner in their last game, and it will be interesting to see if Portugal are willing to adopt a similar tac tic. These are two teams who both are deadly on the counter, and won’t mind sitting deep at times and waiting for the opponent to make a mistake and open the door for a counter attack. Though the fact is that they cant both play that way at the same time, so which of them will be more attacking and willing to commit more players forward to try and score? that’s the question that is at the heart of this game for me. Both sides have star studded attacking line ups, and both sides will be confident that if they are given a chance they will take it, and both sides will be very wary of leaving space in behind. The pace of Mbappe for France with the likes of Pogba and Kante trying to feed the ball through to him will surely be enough for this Portugal defence to sit a little bit deeper than they normally would, and if that leads to France pushing further up the field, that could open them up to be caught on the counter by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes. We saw against Germany how deadly Portugal could be on the counter, it wasn’t enough to win the game, but it is surely something that would have caught the French sides attention. In a game that neither side will want to lose with whoever does lose it likely ending up in 3rd spot and taking on Belgium or Holland in the last 16, it will be interesting if either of them take the initiative and go out to win the game. I also feel an early goal could be crucial to the type of game we see. The longer it stays at 0-0 the more tense things could become, and depending on the result in the Germany vs Hungary game, they may be willing to settle for a draw the longer things go on. However an early goal changes things, as one side will be forced to open up and we could see a basketball type end to end game. Hopefully we get that early goal and if we do I can see a high scoring and enjoyable game to watch that ends 2-2, or perhaps with one side pinching a late winner.