They did it the hard way, but Switzerland are through to the knockout stages.
After defeating Turkey 3-1 in their final Group A game, the Schweizer Nati have had to wait to find out their EURO 2020 fate, and whether they are one of the best third-place teams. It looked like they would have to wait until Wednesday but results elsewhere mean that Vladimir Petković’s side have confirmed their place in the round of 16.
Austria’s win over Ukraine, Belgium’s victory against Finland and Denmark’s thrashing of Russia have put the third-place teams in Group B and Group C – Finland and Ukraine respectively – behind Switzerland in the rankings, guaranteeing their place in the next stages.
Now the tense wait is over, who could Switzerland meet in the round of 16?
The short answer: we will not know for certain until Wednesday.
Only when the group stage concludes with Group F, will we know the six third-place teams and their final ranking. Switzerland are assured to be part of the quartet progressing, but they do not know in what position nor with which countries. That combination of teams from certain groups is crucial, as well as their exact order.
Four points was always seen as the safety net for qualification, and Switzerland’s win against Turkey last Sunday secured that four-point tally. However, their negative goal difference of -1 does put them at risk of being further down the pecking order, but the important thing is that they are through.
Switzerland will either play the winners of Group B, E or F in the round of 16. As of Monday 21st June, that leaves the Nati with eight potential opponents – though they will not know who lies ahead until the conclusion of the group stage in two days’ time.
Petković’s Nati could face top-ranked side Belgium in Seville, after the Red Devils won Group B with three wins from three.
Although it seems a daunting task, Switzerland are capable of beating the Belgians. The Swiss pulled off a famous 5-2 win in November 2018, which meant they won their Nations League group and reached the inaugural Nations League finals. A tough test against the Belgian golden generation, but a winnable one on the Nati’s day.
Elsewhere, Switzerland may play the winners of Group E, by far the most open group of the tournament. Sweden, Slovakia, Spain or Poland could be their opponents in Glasgow, offering Petković the best chance of reaching a historic quarter-final.
If the Swiss want to avoid one tie, it will be with the Group F winners.
The group of death is still very open, and anyone of France, Germany and Portugal could emerge victorious on Wednesday. Every side would pose a massive task for Switzerland, with that potential tie to be played in Bucharest.
Who can Switzerland play in the round of 16?
|Sunday 27 June||8pm BST, Seville||1B vs 3A/D/E/F||Belgium|
|Monday 28 June||8pm BST, Bucharest||1F vs 3A/B/C||France/Germany/Portugal|
|Tuesday 29 June||8pm BST, Glasgow||1E vs 3A/B/C/D||Sweden/Slovakia/Spain/Poland|
This will only be Switzerland’s second appearance at the EURO knockout stages, with their first coming five years ago at EURO 2016. It comes after three consecutive tournaments being eliminated in the group stage, including at their host tournament in 2008.
Switzerland will have to wait until Wednesday to find out their round of 16 opponents, but whoever they may meet in the next stage, it will be a difficult clash yet a huge opportunity to make history for Swiss football.
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