Why England have luck of the draw at Euro 2024

Gareth Southgate puts his arm around Harry Kane
Gareth Southgate's England have been far from convincing - Getty Images/Ralf Ibing

England have not been convincing at the European Championship so far but they remain in control of Group C and finishing top could see them head into the knockout stages on the more favourable side of the draw.

Here, Telegraph Sport looks at why Gareth Southgate’s team have the luck of the draw at Euro 2024.

What do they need to finish top?

The most simple equation for England on Tuesday is winning against Slovenia in Cologne. That would secure top spot in Group C.

It is possible for England to finish top with a draw. In that scenario they would have five points and a goal difference of +1, and finishing top would depend on the result of the clash between Denmark and Serbia as the Danes would reach five points with a win.

If countries are level on points in the group stages, it first goes to head-to-heads, but it would go to goal difference then goals scored if Denmark were level with England as they drew their group game. If Denmark fail to beat Serbia, and England do not lose, the Three Lions will finish top of their group.

What does finishing top mean?

England have hardly set the Euros on fire with their first two performances, so they would be expected to be tested in any last-16 game. But it does look like finishing top offers an “easier” path to the latter stages.

The winner of Group C will play one of the best third-placed countries from Group D, E or F.

With a round of group games to go, this is still wide open but Austria could emerge from Group D as a third-placed team with three or four points. In Group E, all teams are currently on three points while in Group F, it looks likely that the Czech Republic and Georgia will battle it out for third.

This half of the draw would see England face the runner-up of Group A or B in the quarter-finals. On form over the first two games that could be Switzerland or the runner-up behind Spain, which could be Italy or Croatia. None of those teams have hit their best form yet.

Who will be on the other half of the draw?

The path to the final looks like a nightmare if England finish second in their group and end up on the other half of the draw. They would likely face Germany in the round of 16 in Dortmund – and it would not get much easier if they got through that.

Spain are on that half of the draw and would be possible quarter-final opponents, then likely Portugal in the semi-finals.

When will England meet France?

Should Southgate’s players finish top of their group, they could face World Cup finalists France in the semi-finals in Dortmund on July 10. This is providing France win their group and come through their own knockout matches.