England Euro 2024 knockout path: Slovakia not Netherlands await after Georgia stun Portugal

Dave Tickner
Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka for England
Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka for England

England have won Group C at Euro 2024. Don’t dwell too long on how the f*** that has happened, just revel in it. The brilliant news for England is that it’s put them into what is comfortably the easier half of the draw; they cannot now face any of Germany, Spain, Portugal or France until the final.

And that wasn’t even the final slice of luck to fall England’s way before the last-16 draw was locked in. Georgia pulling Portugal’s pants down means they qualify among the best third-place sides at the expense of Group A’s Hungary. This shifts the expected slots the third-place qualifiers occupy and means England now face what is on paper an undeniably easier last-16 game against Slovakia instead of Netherlands.

In general, this is how Euro 2024 works. And this below is how it can all pan out for England from here…


What is England’s knockout path through Euro 2024 having won Group C?

Last 16: June 30, 1700 BST v Slovakia, Gelsenkirchen
Everyone had prepared themselves for Netherlands, but then Georgia did a madness on Portugal and everything changed. That win took Georgia to four points and into the last 16 at Hungary’s expense. With the four third-place qualifiers now coming from Groups C, D, E and F rather than A, C, D and E as we expected, England now face Slovakia instead of Netherlands. 

There’s going to be a lot of taking lightly going on, but there’s no point pretending England’s task hasn’t just got easier again without it having anything to do with their own actions. Denmark’s draw with Serbia, France’s failure to beat Poland, Belgium’s failure to beat Ukraine and now Georgia’s win over Portugal have all done a great deal to open England’s path through the tournament. Can they capitalise?


Quarter-final: July 6, 1700 BST v Switzerland or Italy, Dusseldorf
A big bonus of winning Group C is being one of two lucky group winners guaranteed to avoid another group winner in the quarter-final should they make it that far.

Switzerland and Italy ended up with contrasting emotions upon confirming second spots in their respective groups thanks to late, late goals.


Semi-final: July 10, 2000 BST v Austria/Turkey or Romania/Netherlands, Dortmund
Austria beating France and Netherlands to top spot in Group D really did change things up, didn’t it?


Final: July 14, 2000 BST, Berlin
Could, obviously, be almost anyone. But the three group winners on the other side of the draw will be those from Groups A, B and F. And that’s Germany, Spain and Portugal while France and Belgium have also now stumbled carelessly into this half of the draw having carelessly failed to win their groups. Look, it’s the final. It’s not going to be anyone crap, is it? Not even Gareth Southgate’s tournament draw wizardry can pull that off.