The last groups of Euro 2016 come to a head on Wednesday, as Group E and F come to a conclusion. It’s all to play for in Group F, as Hungary, Austria, Portugal and Iceland all still have a chance of making the knockout stages.
Iceland face Austria in a game is must-win for the Austrians, while a draw could be enough to see Iceland through to the knockout stages.
The Scandinavians were one of the surprise-packages in qualifying and Lars Lagerback have put in two very solid performances so far in their draws with Portugal and Hungary in the group stages. They could still win the group with a victory in this clash, depending on the result of the other game of course.
Iceland have faced Austria just three times on the international stage and have failed to pick-up a win, with two games drawn and Austria also recording a win.
Austria’s tag of dark horses has been negated by two very unconvincing displays at France. A disastrous opening game defeat against Hungary was followed by a goalless draw with Portugal in which Cristiano Ronaldo and Co missed several good chances, including a spot-kick.
Marcel Koller’s side now need to win this clash to have any hope of qualifying for the knockout stages of the competition. A draw would mean an early exit for one of the highly-rated outsiders in France.
The other game in the group sees group leaders Hungary face Portugal in Lyon, as latter attempts to seal their place in the knockout stages.
Portugal have drawn both their games at Euro 2016, as both Iceland and Austria have frustrated them. Their current position is of their own making though, as they have missed some golden opportunities in France.
A draw could leave them open to missing out on qualification, if Austria defeat Iceland in the other group game. Portugal will be confident of a win though, as they are ten games unbeaten against Hungary.
Hungary have very much been the surprise package in France, having picked-up four points from their two games. Bernd Storck’s team realistically could beaten by Portugal and still qualify, but that would very much depend on the size of the defeat.
Group E is slightly simpler with Italy already qualified as group winners. The Azzurri face Republic of Ireland in Lille, with Ireland needing a win to have any chance of making the knockout stages of the competition.
Italy have recorded wins over Belgium and Sweden so far in France and that is enough to take Antonio Conte’s team through as group winning. The Chelsea-bound boss is likely to rotate his squad, which may just mean a ray of hope for Martin O’Neill’s men.
Republic of Ireland drew their opener rather against Sweden, before being hammered 3-0 by Belgium in their second game. It is simple for Ireland they must beat Italy for only the second time in competitive meetings of the two nations.
Sweden and Belgium clash in a game the Swedes must win to have any chance of making the knockout stages. A draw against Ireland in their first group outing was followed by a defeat by Italy. Anything but a win and Erik Hamren’s side will exit the competition.