The France team will approach its match against Portugal on Wednesday with less pressure: the Blues are already sure to reach the round of 16 as the best third, even in the event of a defeat against the Seleçao in Budapest.
Didier Deschamps’ men will be able to thank Austria, Belgium and Denmark: Monday’s results spare them worrying and complicated calculations before challenging the European champions at the Puskas-Arena.
Leading Group F with four points in two games (a 1-0 victory against Germany in Munich then a draw against Hungary 1-1 in Budapest), the French know that they can no longer finish lower than in 3rd place in the group, a rank that may qualify for the final round provided that they are among the best four thirds.
However, the matches of the last day of groups B and C gave birth to an ideal alignment of the planets for the world champions.
The victory of Austria against Ukraine in Bucharest (1-0) first recorded the 3rd place of the Ukrainians with only three points. Then the Belgian success against Finland (2-0) and the Danish victory against Russia (4-1) kept the Russians and Finns at three points in the standings.
Both third in groups with three points, the Austrians and Finns are sure to finish behind the Blues in the best third-place classification, which would validate the qualification of the Habs even in the event of a disaster scenario.
Aim for first place
But France, deprived of Ousmane Dembélé, injured and package for the rest of the Euro, will not aim for anything other than the first place in the pool. This will be obtained whatever happens in case of success against the partners of Cristiano Ronaldo.
The latter, on the other hand, are not serene: with three points, a defeat could place them among the worst third in a group …
The classification of the “group of death” will have an impact on the rest of the course of the last two finalists of Euro-2016.
A second place lets fear a tough round of 16 in London, potentially against England, while a first place lets consider a more affordable opponent, such as Switzerland, Finland or Ukraine, in Bucharest (Romania).
A third place, on the other hand, would be synonymous with a duel against Belgium or the Netherlands, in Seville or Budapest.
Monday’s results also enabled England, Sweden, Switzerland and the Czech Republic to also validate their tickets. Like France, these four teams have four points, a total enough to see the final round.
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