Can third-placed teams qualify for European Championship knockout stages? How does it get decided?

The twenty-four teams competing at this summer’s European Championship are ready to go with the tournament a week away.

Euro 2016 was the first competition to have 24 teams instead of 16 and that brought about the new rule of third-place finishers in the group stage still making it into the knockout stages.

There is hope for Scotland in getting out of what is a tough group
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And as Portugal proved, you CAN finish third in your group and go on to take home the trophy.

The opening game of the rescheduled Euro 2020 will take place between Turkey and Italy in Rome on Friday, June 11 and will be live on talkSPORT.

The other qualified teams have then been split into six groups of four with the top two from each making it into knockout stages.

But as those 12 teams won’t be enough to make up the Round of 16, more teams will make it through

Does third place qualify for Euro 2020 knockout stages?

Yes, finishing third does lead to qualification for the knockout stages but only for four of the best third-placed teams.

All of the teams that finish third in the group stages of the Euros are put into a table.

And their position in the table is determined firstly by how many points they picked up in the group stages.

Euro 2020 Group Stage

Group A

  • Turkey
  • Italy
  • Wales
  • Switzerland

Group B

  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Belgium
  • Russia

Group C

  • Netherlands
  • Ukraine
  • Austria
  • North Macedonia

Group D

  • England
  • Croatia
  • Scotland
  • Czech Republic

Group E

  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Poland
  • Slovakia

Group F

  • Hungary
  • Portugal
  • France
  • Germany

But if the teams cannot be separated by points, whichever team has the highest goal difference finishes higher up the table.

If the table cannot be decided through points or goal difference, it then goes to the number of goals scored in the group stages.

Should that not decide it, it then goes to fair play conduct followed by the team’s UEFA ranking.

Portugal claimed glory at Euro 2016 despite finish third in their group
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What happened in Euro 2016?

Portugal qualified for the knockout stages of Euro 2016 via the third-placed route after drawing all three of their group games against Hungary, Iceland and Albania.

Cristiano Ronaldo and co. then scraped their way through to the final of the competition, only winning one game inside 90 minutes against Wales in the semi-finals.

And when they met home nation France in the final, an unlikely hero in Eder popped up in extra time to score the only goal of the game causing a massive upset.

With Euro 2020 stacked with a host of quality teams, a third-place side could well go all the way again.

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