With only one game remaining in each of the UEFA 2008 groups, it's time to crunch the numbers on advancement.
GROUP A: Sunday @ 2:45 PM EST
Switzerland (0) vs. Portugal (6)
Turkey (3) vs. Czech Republic (3)
With Portugal sure to advance and Switzerland mathematically eliminated, the game to watch here is obviously Turkey vs. the Czech Republic, the winner of which will join Portugal in the next round. (In the event of a tie, penalty kicks will determine the winner.)
I hope it's the Czech, and my gut says it will be.
GROUP B: Monday @ 2:45 PM EST
Poland (1) vs. Croatia (6)
Austria (1) vs. Germany (3)
Croatia will definitely advance. Germany will advance if they win or draw, which I'd say is very likely. If Germany loses, things get interesting:
* Austria qualifies if they beat Germany and Poland fails to beat Croatia.I'll be pulling for the Austrian upset, but my money's still on a German win.
* If Austria beats Germany, Poland beats Croatia and:* Austria's goal difference in their game is equal to or better than Poland's goal difference in their game, then Austria qualifies due to having a better goal difference than Poland in all group games.
* Austria's goal difference in their game is more than one goal worse than Poland's goal difference in their game, then Poland qualifies due to having a better goal difference than Austria in all group games.
* Austria's goal difference in their game is exactly one goal worse than Poland's goal difference in their game and:
o Austria scores more goals than Poland, then Austria qualifies due to having scored more goals than Poland in all group games.
o Poland scores more goals than Austria, then Poland qualifies due to having scored more goals than Austria in all group games.
o Austria and Poland score the same number of goals, then Poland qualifies due to having earned a better UEFA coefficient in the qualifying matches of the FIFA World Cup 2006 and Euro 2008.
GROUP C: GROUP OF DEATH: Tuesday @ 2:45 pm
Netherlands (6) vs. Romania (2)
France (1) vs. Italy (1)
The Netherlands has put the so-called Group of Death to shame in already locking up a first-place finish. The France-Italy World Cup rematch should be both exciting and determinative of the group results—though I'd say there's a fair chance Romania (which has generally played well) could take a surprise win against a Dutch side with little incentive to try hard.
I tend to like the Dutch, but I'd really like to see Romania advance over both France and Italy.
GROUP D: Wednesday at 2:45 pm
Spain (6) vs.
Russia (3) vs. Sweden (3)
Spain is guaranteed to advance and outgoing European Champions Greece sure to not—so Russia vs. Sweden should be very exciting. This strikes me as a pretty even match-up, even with Ibrahimovic potentially injured—but Sweden has a slight edge in that they advance on goals in the case of a draw.
Due to scheduling conflicts, I haven't been able to pay as much attention to Group D as I have to the others, but I'll be pulling for Sweden just because.