With two sets of games down at Euro 2020 we already have three teams who have confirmed their spot in the knockout rounds. Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands have all been rewarded for their 100 percent record in the competition. On the other hand, there’s only one team — North Macedonia — entirely eliminated. There’s plenty left to play for. Here is how we’re ranking the teams ahead of the final round of group fixtures:
1 (Previous rank: 2). Italy (2-0-0)
Roberto Mancini’s side have played good teams but not great ones so far; it is a skill to make the likes of Switzerland and Turkey look leaden footed and to rip through them with impressive build up and a fluid frontline led by the exceptional Lorenzo Insigne. Their midfield has already been the most secure of foundations for the Azzurri’s possession game and now Marco Verratti is set to return for the game against Wales.
2 (1). France (1-1-0)
For all their attacking talents it still feels like Didier Deschamps’ side are some way from clicking into gear in the final third. If the mitigating factor to their one shot on target against Germany was that they were defending a lead for much of the game, it was altogether harder to justify only drawing three saves from Peter Gulacsi before Antoine Griezmann’s late equalizer. The cutting edge may yet come, particularly if Kylian Mbappe’s intimidating form rubs off on those around him, but for now their lack of overall spark sends them slipping below the Italians.
3 (5). Belgium (2-0-0)
There are clear flaws in the Belgium side that Denmark exploited, particularly the space behind the full backs that is to be managed by veteran defenders Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld. Still, when you have Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku at the other end, it might just be feasible that you can outscore every other team you face.
4 (3). England (1-1-0)
A draw with Scotland deflated the English public but it is worth pointing out how well their opponents defended and in particular pressed a midfield that lacked the ball progression of Jordan Henderson or Jude Bellingham. Without Harry Maguire England still look solid defensively and that is certainly a plus point. Ultimately, tournaments are more often won by the team that concedes few rather than the one that scores a lot. But there are problems at the other end, where their attack has not quite clicked yet. Much of that may be down to Harry Kane’s travails. He looks to be heavy-legged and can’t create for his England team-mates as easily as he can for Heung-min Son.
5 (9). Germany (1-0-1)
Whether Germany’s 3-4-3 has really clicked might depend on whether other opponents are willing to defend Robin Gosens in as accommodating a way as Portugal did. But Joachim Low will welcome the clear signs of progression that are coming almost minute by minute from the likes of Kai Havertz and Serge Gnabry in this system. Still, there are questions to be asked over whether Toni Kroos and Ilkay Gundogan have the mobility to patrol central midfield between them. However, with Leon Goretzka getting healthy those questions may become moot before they need answering.
6 (4). Portugal (1-0-1)
Two issues seem to be emerging early in Portugal’s campaign. First, their open play creation against a set defense leaves much to be desired. They have largely relied on defensive errors to get them their sizeable haul of five goals. Second, and more surprisingly is at the back where there look to be more issues, with Germany more ruthlessly exploiting the space out wide that Hungary spotted in the first game. If no-one is protecting Raphael Guerreiro and Nelson Semedo then this team will ship a lot of goals.
7 (8). Netherlands (2-0-0)
After a slightly harum scarum opener against Ukraine, the Dutch tightened up impressively against an Austria side that brought little attacking punch to the Johan Cruyff Arena. Georginio Wijnaldum’s more advanced role seems to suit the newly minted Paris Saint-Germain midfielder well. His combination play with target man Wout Weghorst and the free-roaming Memphis Depay (now of Barcelona) certainly makes for a dangerous attack.
8 (10). Czech Republic (1-1-0)
Patrik Schik looks to be a strong contender for the Golden Boot, but it is not for their goal scoring that the Czechs are standing out. Instead, their organized, aggressive press looks to be giving them the edge over their opponents with the West Ham duo of Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal picking up where they left off in the Premier League. Certainly the energy of Jaroslav Silhavy’s side made for a stark contrast with a more sedate Croatia team.
9 (6). Spain (0-2-0)
They still play in a visibly Spanish style but while past iterations of this side seemed certain that they would eventually grind their opponents down, now they seem to grind themselves down. Alvaro Morata may be off the mark but, however analytically-minded you may be, you cannot help but look at him and not believe that he will score the numerous shooting opportunities he gets to. Gerard Moreno does not quite click with the more sedate approach and those behind the strikers seem to be lacking in assertiveness and leadership.
10 (17). Sweden (1-1-0)
You may not enjoy watching them but that does not mean that Sweden will not prove to be a tough out. They’re solid in defense and have a potential breakout star of the tournament in Real Sociedad forward Alexander Isak. They are one of the lowest teams in Euro 2020 in terms of tackles made, largely because they focus on keeping their shape and being hard to break down.
11 (16). Ukraine (1-0-1)
With 13 shots on target and 4.4 expected goals (xG) from their first two games, Andriy Shevchenko’s side are certainly a reflection of their manager. Andriy Yarmolenko’s Arjen Robben tribute act looks like being too much for European defenders to stop whilst Roman Yaremchuk’s fine form ought to win him a move this summer.
12 (15). Wales (1-1-0)
Their fitness issues may hamper their effectiveness over the course of a club season but both Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale have had at least one eye on the Euros. You could tell in Baku as both excelled in the 2-0 win over Turkey that has almost certainly guaranteed them passage to the knockout stages. There seems to be real unity in the Wales squad once again; they proved in 2016 how far that can take them with an unlikely semifinal run.
13 (12). Austria (1-0-1)
This has been a deeply underwhelming tournament for Austria so far even if it also included their first ever win at a European Championships. After that first match, however, they never even seemed confident of competing with the Netherlands after slipping into an early deficit despite what is a decent squad on paper. A place in the last 16 still seems within their reach but they might be the most forgettable team in the competition.
14 (23). Russia (1-0-1)
They may have got an unduly harsh write up in week one by virtue of being tonked by a Belgium side who look to be one of Euro 2020’s best attacking forces. Sorry about that guys. Bringing Aleksey Miranchuk into the side for the win over Finland certainly offered more creativity than Stanislav Cherchesov. Miranchuk and Aleksandr Golovin make for a strong creative pair off Artem Dzyuba.
15 (8). Slovakia (1-0-1)
After the first round of games there was much praise for the way the Slovakian defense had limited the supply lines to Robert Lewandowski but after two games the picture is not all that impressive with a middle of the pack 2.3 non-penalty xG against. Couple that with 0.8 xG for and this looks like a team that might lack the attacking bite to make a real impact on this tournament, particularly with their hardest game of the group stages against Spain yet to come.
16 (13). Finland (1-0-1)
How different Finland’s first European Championships might have been if Joel Pohjanpalo had not strayed fractionally offside early in the game against Russia. The Finns look to be a side that are hard to break down but lack any real attacking punch and may only have won their opening game against Denmark because of its somber circumstances. Belgium could be the end of the road for Markku Kanerva’s team and their wonderful kits.
17 (14). Croatia (0-1-1)
Perhaps the most disappointing side so far at Euro 2020, Croatia look old and far too reliant on Luka Modric. Ivan Perisic’s thunderbolt earned them a point against the Czech Republic that they scarcely merited and it would be no surprise if they fell unstuck against the Scots at Hampden Park even if their players may be superior.
18 (18). Scotland (0-1-1)
A disciplined defense left England with little space to attack and the introduction of Billy Gilmour significantly improved their ball retention in the middle of the pitch. They are creating chances, particularly through the play of their wing backs, but are yet to score a goal. If that does not change they are surely out.
19 (19). Poland (0-1-1, unchanged)
If you have Robert Lewandowski you always have a chance as the Bayern Munich striker proved by thumping a Spanish defender to the deck to head home Poland’s equalizer against Spain. They will have a tough task against a Sweden side who look more than capable of holding out for the point that would suit them in Saint Petersburg.
20 (21). Denmark (0-0-2)
They may be one of only three teams with no points to their name in this contest but it’s worth bumping them if only to reflect that their points total does not remotely reflect the performances. The competition’s leading shot takers with 42, they blew Belgium away early in the first half. If they can beat Russia, something well within their abilities, they may yet escape Group B and show the competition what they are made of.
21 (23). Hungary (0-1-1)
They will need to beat Germany in Munich to qualify for the knockouts. It’s an unlikely scenario, but in their own personal group of death the Hungarians have acquitted themselves more than admirably. They deserved more than to lose heavily to Portugal and against France they defended with real discipline and deployed their intelligent game plan — target Benjamin Pavard — extremely effectively.
22 (11). Switzerland (0-1-1)
Aside from Breel Emobolo’s bright moments against Wales has there really been all that much positive to report back on from the Swiss? They were utterly woeful against Italy even if Mancini’s side efficiently exposed their flaws.
23 (20). Turkey (0-0-2)
The tournament’s dark horses have yet to even make it out of the starting gate. There is little more to say of them than that they look extremely tired, devoid of ideas and the ferocity that saw them stun the Netherlands in a World Cup qualifier earlier this year.
24 (24). North Macedonia (0-0-2)
This team has certainly been a welcome addition to the tournament but at their worst they look every inch a team who earned their place at Euro 2020 through Nations League D, the grouping of the lowest ranked teams on the continent. Eljif Elmas and veteran Goran Pandev have impressed but they lack the strength in depth of others.