England top group D
England qualified top of their Euro 2020 group courtesy of a 1-0 win over Czech Republic at Wembley, and 24 hours later, the full benefit of finishing top has come to light.
We’ll meet again 🏴🇩🇪
— England (@England) June 23, 2021
Although the initial reward – hosting Germany at Wembley – looks more pain than pleasure, the benefit is that England have ended up on the more favourable side of the tournament tree.
Easier route to the final?
Should the Three Lions make it past their old foe and into the quarter-finals of the competition, they will face one of Sweden or Ukraine, who face off at Hampden Park on the same day as England and Germany.
Win that, and they can face any of four sides: The Netherlands, Czech Republic (who England have already beaten this summer), Wales or Denmark.
— Goal (@goal) June 23, 2021
Obviously, none of these games should be considered as “easy” by any stretch of the imagination, but, had England finished 2nd in their group, they would have found themselves on the “wrong side” of the draw.
This side includes Italy, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, and France, whilst England would have been forced to beat three of these sides to make it to the final.
England’s potential route to the final:
Last 16: Germany
Quarter-final: Sweden / Ukraine
Semi-final: Netherlands/Denmark/Wales/Czech Republic. pic.twitter.com/5Uh1AUI0UM
— SPORTbible (@sportbible) June 23, 2021
When put side-by-side with the half of the draw that the Three Lions managed to end up on, it is clear to see that England have dodged several potentially massive bullets.
Should they make it all the way to the final, Gareth Southgate’s men will of course likely have to play one of these sides anyway, but they stand much more chance of emerging victorious over 90 minutes once, than three times against three different top sides.
This article was edited by Conor Laird.