With the second round of matches having concluded, it is time we look at where the teams are and what exactly they need to do to advance to the QuarterFinals and beyond.
One must also understand the key aspect of the Euro 2012, and that is how ties are broken. According to their guidelines, this is how it is done:
If two or more teams are equal on points on completion of the group matches, the following criteria are applied, in the order given; to determine the rankings:
a) higher number of points obtained in the matches among the teams in question;
b) superior goal difference in the matches among the teams in question (if more than two teams finish equal on points);
c) higher number of goals scored in the matches among the teams in question (if more than two teams finish equal on points);
d) superior goal difference in all the group matches;
e) higher number of goals scored in all the group matches;
f) position in the UEFA national team coefficient ranking system
g) fair play conduct of the teams (final tournament);
h) drawing of lots.
Also, If two teams which have the same number of points, the same number of goals scored and conceded play their last group match against each other and are still equal at the end of that match, the ranking of the two teams in question is determined by kicks from the penalty mark, provided no other teams within the group have the same number of points on completion of all group matches. Should more than two teams have the same number of points, the criteria listed under the above paragraph apply.
Group A - Russia (4, +3), Czech Republic (3, -2), Poland (2, 0), Greece (1, -1)
Russia - A win against Greece locks top spot in the group. A draw against them will also be enough to put them through the next stage, but there is a possibility they will finish second if either Czech Republic wins over Poland or Poland beat the Czech Republic by more than three goals. A loss means they will have to sweat it out because they will be level on points with the Greeks and they lose on first tiebreaker, thus needing the Czechs to draw with the Poles to have a triple tie at four points. The said triple tie will benefit the Russians if they do not lose badly to the 2004 Euro champions.
Czech Republic - A win against Poland will ensure advancing to the next round. A win, coupled by Russia not winning, will enable the Czechs to win the group. A draw with Poland will also be enough to advance, provided the Greeks do not beat the Russians. A loss against the co-hosts will eliminate the Czechs from contention.
Poland - A win against the Czech Republic means they get in. That, and a Greek victory against the Russians, will equate to the co-hosts winning the group. A draw or a loss against the Czechs will eliminate the Poles.
Greece - They have to win against Russia to entertain any thoughts of advancing in the Euros. The margin of that victory if that scenario happens will only come into play if the Czech Republic and Poland draw. If Czechs or Poles win, the Greeks will take the runner-up spot.
Group B - Germany (6, +2), Portugal (3, 0), Denmark (3, 0), The Netherlands (0, -2)
Germany - A win or a draw for the Germans against Denmark will be enough to win the group. A loss against the 1992 Euro champions will still be enough to advance as the runner-up, provided the Portuguese do not win against the Dutch. If the Portuguese win and Germany lose, it depends on the margin of victory by the Danes over the Germans. Losing by two or more goals will eliminate them, but a one-goal defeat will not be that costly if the Germans can score 2 goals in their final match.
Portugal - Winning against the Netherlands will guarantee them to advance if Denmark fails to beat Germany. A Denmark win and a Portugal win will be dependent on the margin of victory by the Danes over the Germans.
Denmark -Winning against Germany means winning the group. A draw will enable them to advance only if The Netherlands wins against Portugal. A loss means they are eliminated.
The Netherlands - For the Dutch, it is quite simple. Hope Germany wins against Denmark, AND beat Portugal by 2 or more goals. A one-goal victory will not suffice, as Portugal has scored three goals between them and Denmark.
Group C - Spain (4, +4), Croatia (4, +2), Italy (2, 0), Ireland (0, -6)
Spain - If Ireland prevents Italy from winning, Spain will the group if they do not lose to Croatia. An Italian victory means, that if Spain and Croatia draw, it will be dependent on the nature of the draw. and the Italian margin of victory. A loss means they need Ireland to prevent an Italian victory.
Croatia - If Ireland prevents Italy from winning, Croatia will win the group if they do not lose to Spain. If held to a draw, it will be dependent on the nature of the draw as well as the Italian margin of victory. A loss means they need Ireland to prevent an Italian victory.
Italy - They will need to beat Ireland, preferably by at least three goals AND for a winner to emerge between Spain and Croatia. One thing for certain, a 2-2 Spain-Croatia draw will certainly eliminate the Azzuri.
Ireland - They were the first team eliminated from contention in the Euro campaign, but it would make things less complicated if they can prevent the Italians from winning against them.
Group D - France (4, +2), England (4, +1), Ukraine (3, -1), , Sweden (0, -2)
France - Winning against Sweden will equate to winning the group, no matter the result of the England-Ukraine match. A draw will also allow France to go through, although where they will finish as the group winner or runner-up depends on how the England-Ukraine match fares. The only way France does not advance is if they lose to Sweden AND Ukraine winning over England.
England - To advance, they cannot lose against the Ukraine. To win the group, they can either win or draw against the co-hosts AND for France to lose against Sweden, or win their match AND have France not win against Sweden.
Ukraine - Quite simple, win against England, the co-hosts are in the quarters. Otherwise, they are out, as they lost 2-0 to France in their match-up, which is the first tie-breaker.
Sweden - They were the second team eliminated from contention in the Euro campaign, but they will really complicate things if they beat the French.