The Euro 2024 group stage is done and dusted. Now it’s time to take stock heading into the knockout rounds. After sizing up the field in the lead-up to the tournament, this is how the 16 remaining title hopefuls stack up.

1. Spain ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ

Pretournament rank: 5

The only team to finish the group stage with a 100% record, Spain has played with swagger and authority, ditching the oftentimes tedious play that hampered its progress in previous tournaments for a more progressive brand of football. Nico Williams has added punch and urgency to Spain’s attack, and Fabian Ruiz has transformed its midfield with vertical passing and excellent runs down the gut. Spain is also the only team that has yet to concede a goal at these Euros.

2. Germany ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช

Pretournament rank: 4

Germany fell short of a perfect record but dominated every meaningful statistical category, leading the way in possession (68.7%), shots (56), key passes (45), and, crucially, goals scored (eight) during the group stage. Jamal Musiala has led the front line with confidence, and Niclas Fullkrug has offered relief off the bench, scoring twice in three cameo appearances. Manuel Neuer also returned to his best after some shaky performances. While questions remain in defense, Germany looks like Germany again.

3. Portugal ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡น

Pretournament rank: 3

The loss to Georgia may have exposed Portugal’s lack of depth, but at full strength, A Selecao remains a strong contender for the title. Portugal’s goal-scoring midfielders came to the fore in the 3-0 win over Turkey that ensured top spot in Group F, while Vitinha and Joao Palhinha brought serenity to their play after coach Roberto Martinez gambled without a defensive midfielder in the team’s opening match against Czechia. Pepe also showed he can anchor his country’s backline at 41 years old.

4. France ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท

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Pretournament rank: 1

Some things about France never change. N’Golo Kante is the same freak of nature he’s always been, and even with a broken nose, Kylian Mbappe continues to carry the offensive burden. But France has only scored two goals all tournament, one being an own goal and the other a penalty. Les Bleus have started tournaments slowly before and still had success, but their lack of production thus far is alarming. That said, they’re chock-full of talent and can never truly be written off.

5. Austria ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡น

Pretournament rank: 10

Austria has officially assumed dark-horse status. Though an own goal cost the team against France, Ralf Rangnick’s side secured wins over Poland and the Netherlands to clinch first place in Group D. Midfielder Marcel Sabitzer has been a Tasmanian devil on the pitch, whirring everywhere the action is, but Austria is about more than one player. It attacks and defends as a unit, moving in unison while picking its moments to counter. If Austria keeps things a little tidier at the back, it could make a deep run on the easier side of the bracket.

6. Switzerland ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ

โ€ŒPretournament rank: 13

Switzerland finds itself in the business end of a major tournament for the sixth time in a row. And for good reason. While the Swiss are hardly the biggest draw, they’re responsible with and without the ball. Ricardo Rodriguez, Manuel Akanji, and Fabian Schar make up a robust back three, and Granit Xhaka and Remo Freuler patrol the midfield like officers on duty. They also have a wild card in Xherdan Shaqiri, whose time-honored tradition of scoring wonder goals on the international stage never ceases to amaze.

7. England ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ

Pretournament rank: 2

What on Earth has happened to England? Sure, the pretournament favorite topped its group, but it showed none of the sass and vigor many of its star players promised to bring to the Euros. Phil Foden looks lost on the left wing, Jude Bellingham has been everywhere and nowhere at the same time, and Harry Kane can’t quite get into scoring positions. The whole team is unbalanced, and coach Gareth Southgate doesn’t seem interested in making sweeping changes. Fortunately for the Three Lions, they avoided the difficult side of the bracket.

8. Netherlands ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ

Pretournament rank: 7

Coach Ronald Koeman said the Netherlands was “awful” and “appalling” in its 3-2 loss to Austria. Unfortunately, the Dutch haven’t looked right in some time. They seem to crumble whenever they face an opponent of stature, having lost to France twice, as well as Italy and Croatia in the leadup to the Euros. Koeman made several changes during the group stage, including one embarrassing substitution before halftime, and it hardly made a difference. If Wout Weghorst isn’t bailing them out, who is?

9. Italy ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

Alex Pantling – UEFA / UEFA / Getty

Pretournament rank: 9

Without Mattia Zaccagni’s 98th-minute equalizer against Croatia, the Azzurri would’ve been on a flight home. They’re through, but they remain the same ambivalent package they were when they entered the Euros. Coach Luciano Spalletti has tried different systems – including a back three few of his players are actually familiar with – and none have worked. Individual performances – including standout defensive efforts from Riccardo Calafiori and Alessandro Bastoni – have kept the apparatus from falling apart. Unfortunately, Calafiori, whose breathtaking run set up Zaccagni’s wonder goal, will miss the round of 16 through suspension.

10. Belgium ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช

Pretournament rank: 6

Belgians roasted their team after the goalless draw against Ukraine condemned the Red Devils to second in Group E. The boos even forced Kevin De Bruyne to abandon his attempts to applaud the fans. But the criticism is warranted. Belgium has been a mess, not knowing when to attack and when to defend. Romelu Lukaku had three goals disallowed by video assistant referees in the group stage, and while he and his teammates looked better in the win over Romania, they played scared against Ukraine. Look for Jeremy Doku, the tournament’s leading dribbler, to take charge.

11. Turkey ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ท

Pretournament rank: 15

Turkey’s boom-or-bust football makes it one of the most exciting teams left in the tournament. It has scored twice from outside of the area – many will remember Arda Guler’s sensational effort against Georgia – and flown into challenges. Turkey’s 16 yellow cards are by far the most at the Euros and symbolic of the team’s blood-thirsty approach. Coach Vincenzo Montella has his pick of electric youngsters, including Kenan Yildiz, the 19-year-old forward who plays his club football for Juventus. But defensively, Turkey has issues.

12. Slovakia ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฐ

Pretournament rank: 22

Slovakia showed impressive defensive resolve in its upset win over Belgium, celebrating tackles as if they were goals. Francesco Calzona’s side also maintained its composure under heavy rainfall to get the point it needed from its group finale against Romania. Star midfielder Stanislav Lobotka was named man of the match in those two games.

13. Georgia ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ช

Ian MacNicol / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Pretournament rank: 24

The lowest-ranked team at the Euros, Georgia wasn’t content to just make up the numbers. The players approached each match as if it were their last. They were brave against Turkey, battled hard for a draw against Czechia, and seized on every opportunity against Portugal to secure the biggest win in their country’s short history. Georgia has scored vital goals – Georges Mikautadze is leading the Golden Boot race – but also conceded a ton of chances. Giorgi Mamardashvili’s 21 saves lead all goalkeepers.

14. Denmark ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ

Pretournament rank: 11

One of two sides to advance from the group stage with three draws, Denmark was a particularly tough watch early on. It beat out Slovenia to second place in Group C, but only because it had fewer yellow cards. Scoring didn’t seem like a priority for Kasper Hjulmand’s side, which created fewer chances than several of the teams that failed to qualify for the knockout round. Manchester United forward Rasmus Hojlund is Denmark’s key man, but finding him has been difficult.

15. Romania ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ด

Pretournament rank: 20

Romania not only reached the knockout stages of a tournament for the first time in 24 years, it beat Belgium to first place in Group E despite losing to the Red Devils earlier on. A surprise 3-0 win over Ukraine and 1-1 draw with Slovakia paved the way to top spot, but the victory over Ukraine remains Romania’s only win in its past seven matches. A team short on star power, Romania has Razvan Marin to thank for much of its offensive production. He scored two of his country’s four goals in the group stage.

16. Slovenia ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ

Pretournament rank: 21

Like Group C rival Denmark, Slovenia has collected three draws, including a goalless stalemate against England, in its first Euro appearance in 24 years. The players rode a strong wave of support starting in Stuttgart, where they mounted a comeback to tie Denmark and showed their superiority on set-pieces, particularly throw-ins. Slovenia has willing runners and the appetite to chase balls and test its obvious limitations.


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