What Portugal has to do to qualify for the last 16 of Euro 2016, how Group F will shape up
UPDATE: Cristiano Ronaldo’s fantastic double against Hungary means that Portugal DID go through to the Euro’s round of 16 in 3rd place – he will be surprised that the unfancied Iceland pipped them to second, making history in their debut European Championships. Hungary have topped the group while the highly-rated Austrians have been knocked out.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal team are on the brink of dropping out of the UEFA Euro 2016 Group F, while David Alaba’s much-fancied Austria side sit bottom with just 1 point. The Real Madrid man has had very difficult European Championship finals - incredibly, he has yet to score, and even missed a penalty in the previous fixture! Christian Fuchs & David Alaba both conquered their domestic league titles, but are struggling internationally. David Alaba was substituted in the previous match, where the likes of Quaresma also disappointed – Portugal coach Fernando Santos was not afraid to tell him.
Meanwhile, ex-Chelsea hero Eidur Gudjohnsen’s Iceland are still living the dream as their chances of finishing 3rd remain alive coming into the final fixture. They managed to hold Portugal to an unexpected draw (prompting some unsavoury remarks from Portugal’s top-scorer), and in the second fixture were denied a crucial win by a late own-goal. Zoltan Gera’s hungary are also not assured of qualification, but they will at least come 3rd. In the Euro 2016, that is enough to put them in a pot of the six 3rd-placed teams in each group. Of those, the 4 best nations will be lucky enough to qualify for the round of 16.
As we speak, progression favourites Portugal have managed just 2 points, from a 1-1 draw with Iceland and a frustrating stalemate against Austria. Debutants Iceland also have 2 points from two tough draws, and are seemingly on their way to a round of 16 berth. Swiss coach Marcel Koller’s team picked up their single point in that match, and are in danger of finishing bottom. Hungary top the group with 4 points after beating their neighbours Austria and salvaging a point against the Icelanders.
Read more: Ronaldo is no Messi, counters Iceland's Kari Arnason
Portugal vs Hungary
If Portugal defeat Hungary, they will have 5 points and ensure automatic qualification from their group. Whether they top it or not is entirely dependent on Iceland’s result - which makes their highest-capped player’s after their draw comments a tad bit embarrassing. As both are on 0 points, if Portugal win by a bigger margin than Iceland they will top the group. Hungary will finish second if Iceland lose or draw, but if they shock Austria then the Hungarians will go into the 3rd-place pot.
A draw would suit Hungary perfectly, as it would ensure that they qualify regardless of the other match’s final result with 5 points. Portugal would manage a 3rd point from 3 games, and their fate would be out of their hands. A win by either team in the other Group F match would immediately relegate them to the “lucky loser’s pot”. Moreover, they would need to score at least 2 in their draw to outscore the Icelanders, who have a goal more than them. Again, the Icelanders would decide Portugal’s fate - something that will surely please Iceland’s Kari Arnason!
If the Hungarians win, this squad will be the first Hungaria team to reach the knockout stages of any major international football competition since 1972! With 7 points, they would be one of the best at the tournament. Portugal would be third, and an Iceland win would see them enter the 3rd-placed pot.
An Austrian victory would make things really, really interesting, though. Portugal would be dependent on their fair play statistics to determine who goes through between them and the Icelanders. If they draw, Portugal’s superior goal difference would see them finish third ahead of Austria, and behind the Icelanders. Hungary have almost qualified, fan trouble notwithstanding.
Read more: Austrian fans chanted Lionel Messi's name every time Cristiano Ronaldo missed
Austria vs Iceland
If Austria win their first match of the tournament, then they will almost certainly be in the hat for the round of 16. If Hungary win or draw, then they will surpass Portugal and finish second. Iceland and Portugal would battle it out on fair play in case Hungary win - a draw would send them tumbling out at the first stage.
However, if Fernando Santos’ Portugal side win, then they would be level with Hungary - but in a very tricky situation. With 4 goals between them and the Hungarians, Austria must hope against every odds that Hungary fail to score.
Should the group toppers lose by more than 2 goals to the Portuguese, then Austria have to beat Iceland by 3 clear goals to go second. If the Hungarians lose by one goal, a 3-goal difference over Iceland would put them level with their neighbours. In that case, goals scored will come into play; Austria have yet to breach the net - Hungary have done it thrice. Anything else would leave them 3rd and fighting with 5 others for a last-16 spot.
If Iceland can hold Marko Arnautovic’s team, they will have 3 points. If Ronaldo and Portugal lose to Hungary, then this Iceland team will be through to the last 16. If the other two draw, Iceland could go 2nd anyway - but goals scored will come into play. Iceland have scored 2, with Portugal only scoring once in their draw. That means that Iceland either have to score as many or more than Portugal to go through as second. Otherwise, they will be Group F’s “lucky losers”. For Austria, this would be a disastrous result and see them exit the Euro finals at the first round - after qualifying for it unbeaten!
If Iceland win, then the dream of a nation would come true - they would be through to the knockout stages in their first ever major competition with 5 points. Incredibly, they could finish top of the group if Hungary & Portugal draw and they beat Austria by more than 2! If Portugal win, then they would need to beat the Portuguese goal margin to finish first. For Austria, anything less than a win means they’re out.
|Possible points table||Portugal beat Hungary||Portugal and Hungary draw||Portugal lose to Hungary|
|Iceland beat Austria||Iceland-5, Portugal-5, Hungary-4, Austria-0||Hungary-5, Iceland-5, Portugal-3, Austria-1||Hungary-7, Iceland-5, Portugal-2, Austria-1|
|Iceland and Austria draw||Portugal-5, Hungary-4, Iceland-3, Austria-2||Hungary-5, Portugal-5, Iceland-3, Austria-2||Hungary-7, Iceland-3, Portugal-2, Austria-2|
|Austria beat Iceland||Portugal-5, Hungary-4, Austria-4, Iceland-2||Hungary-5, Austria-4, Portugal-3, Iceland-2||Hungary-7, Austria-4, Portugal-2, Iceland-2|
Hungary know they’ll most likely qualify - it’s the least they deserve after out-performing every other country in their group. Iceland’s dream is only 90 minutes away from coming true - but they need to win to ensure that they’re not cruelly denied by their ranking. Austria are having a dreadful campaign but a victory could seal an unlikely progression. Portugal on the other hand, have plenty of history in this competition to live up to - can Cristiano Ronaldo perform in what Fernando Santos has dubbed a final for his team?
Read more: UEFA Euro 2016 Group A - Who among Switzerland, Albania or Romania join France in the Round of 16?