It’s win-or-go-home time in Germany.

Euro 2024 is shifting gears to the knockout phase after another dramatic day in the opening round closed the curtain on the group stage.

The round of 16 was finalized Wednesday as the last remaining places were snatched up by Romania, Belgium, Slovakia, Turkey, and Georgia.

Romania surprisingly claimed top spot in Group E by drawing Slovakia, while Belgium finished in second place with a goalless draw that eliminated Ukraine.

But the biggest story happened later in the day. Georgia pulled off a stunning upset against Group F winner Portugal, beating the 2016 European champion 2-0 to secure an unexpected knockout-round berth as one of the four best third-place teams. Turkey finished second after winning 2-1 to end Czechia’s Euro 2024 campaign.

Along with solidifying eight appealing encounters, the end of the group stage offers a clearer picture as to which countries might play each other as the tournament progresses.

The bracket is noticeably unbalanced due to how the opening round unfolded. There are five former European champions on one side, with Spain, Germany, France, Portugal, and Denmark winning the tournament a combined 10 times since 1960.

The quarterfinals could feature Germany taking on Spain, while Portugal could play France in a rematch of the 2016 Euro final. That’s assuming they can successfully dispatch their respective opponents in the round of 16, which, as this tournament is showing, is anything but a certainty.

On the other side, perennial contenders like England, Italy, and the Netherlands have a smoother path. However, there could be a rematch of the Euro 2020 final, as England and Italy could meet in the quarterfinals.

There are also some fresh faces in the round of 16 that have never played a knockout game at the Euros, such as Slovenia and tournament debutant Georgia.

Hungary and Croatia ended up missing out on the round of 16, finishing as the bottom two third-place teams.

Third-place standings:

# Nation GD Points
1 Netherlands 0 4
2 Georgia 0 4
3 Slovakia 0 4
4 Slovenia 0 3
5 Hungary -3 3
6 Croatia -3 2

After two days off, Euro 2024 will resume Saturday, when Switzerland takes on Euro 2020 winner Italy in Berlin before host Germany faces Denmark in Dortmund.

Last-16 schedule:

  • June 29: Switzerland vs. Italy (12 p.m. ET)
  • June 29: Germany vs. Denmark (3 p.m. ET)
  • June 30: England vs. Slovakia (12 p.m. ET)
  • June 30: Spain vs. Georgia (3 p.m. ET)
  • July 1: France vs. Belgium (12 p.m. ET)
  • July 1: Portugal vs. Slovenia (3 p.m. ET)
  • July 2: Romania vs. Netherlands (12 p.m. ET)
  • July 2: Austria vs. Turkey (3 p.m. ET)

The remaining 16 teams are all chasing a place in the tournament final, which is being held at the Olympiastadion in Berlin on July 14.


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