The bizarre reason Slovenia finished below Denmark in Euro 2024 group stage

Players of Slovenia celebrate
-Credit: (Image: Emin Sansar/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Slovenia missed out on securing second place in Group C of Euro 2024 due to a booking received by their assistant coach in their opening match of the tournament.

A 0-0 draw with England on Tuesday evening was enough to earn Slovenia an unlikely place in the next round of the competition, progressing as one of the top-ranked third-placed teams.

Matjaž Kek's side ended their group stage campaign with a total of three points from three matches, leaving them level with Denmark. The two countries were also tied on goal difference and goals scored.

With nothing to separate the teams, the next category UEFA chooses to separate teams is yellow cards shown to players. This also proved to be a sticking point due to Slovenia and Denmark each being cautioned six times at Euro 2024.

Denmark were eventually recognised as runners-up in Group C in the strangest of circumstances, with the deciding factor proving to be a card shown to Slovenia assistant coach Milivoje Novaković in their first game against Denmark.

Similar rules will also apply when working out the four best third-placed teams should Czech Republic win their final game against Turkey.

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A win for Czech Republic would take them to four points and through in second place in Group F, affecting the teams currently tied on three points and vying for a place in the next round.

The following factors will be taken into consideration when deciding which four teams ranked in third will progress.

- Higher number of points
- Superior goal difference
- Higher number of goals scored
- Higher number of wins
- Lower disciplinary points total based on yellow and red cards received by players and team officials in group matches (red card = 3 points, yellow card = 1 point, expulsion for two yellow cards in one match = 3 points)
- Position in the overall European Qualifiers rankings or, if hosts Germany involved, drawing of lots.