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England have qualified for the knockout stage of Euro 2020 despite having one game still to play in Group D.
The convoluted nature of the current tournament format – with four of the six third-placed sides advancing – meant that Belgium’s win over Finland on Tuesday confirmed the progression of Gareth Southgate’s side.
Even if the Three Lions are defeated by Czech Republic on Tuesday evening, they can finish no lower than third in the group and have attained four points – more than the points tallies of Finland and Ukraine.
However, despite assuring their progress to the round of 16, there are three entirely different paths depending on which position England finish in the group.
England players train ahead of their clash against the Czech Republic on Tuesday
(Image: The FA via Getty Images)
A win would see them top the group and play their round of 16 match at Wembley, potentially against a much tougher opponent, while a draw would see them finish second and defeat leaves them open to a potential third-placed ranking.
If England beat Czech Republic they will win Group D and play at Wembley in the round of 16 at 5pm on Tuesday 29 June.
They will play the runners-up of Group F – the so-called ‘Group of Death’. Going into the final matchday, that can be any one of Portugal, France, Germany or Hungary.
World champions France currently top the group on four points with Germany – 2014 World Cup winners – in second spot on three points, above third-placed Portugal, the reining champions, on three points with Hungary on one point.
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If the final group-stage day goes to form, Germany, who have home advantage, will beat Hungary and France will edge out Portugal, meaning that Germany finish second – although this will switch to France if they draw with Portugal, or indeed the Portuguese if they win that match.
The most likely scenario is that England will host Germany or France at Wembley in the round of 16.
England will finish second in the group if they draw against Czech Republic and will play the Group E runners-up in Copenhagen at 5pm on Monday 28 June.
All four teams in Group E can theoretically win the group or finish second with Sweden currently occupying the top position going into the final round of action.
What is the best scenario for England ahead of their clash against Czech Republic? Comment below
They will face Poland, who are currently bottom of the group with just one point – but who could still win the group if they beat Sweden and Spain’s game against Slovakia ends in a draw.
For Spain to win the group, they must beat Slovakia and hope Sweden do not beat Poland.
For Slovakia to win the group, they must beat Spain and hope Sweden do not beat Poland.
All four sides could finish second depending on the combination of results on the final day of action.
If England lose to Czech Republic and Scotland beat Croatia, alongside a three-goal swing, then England will finish third in Group D.
England will still definitely advance in this unlikely scenario, due to being one of the four strongest third-placed sides.
There are three scenarios in this instance – depending on results in other groups.
England could face the Netherlands (Group C winners) in Budapest at 5pm on Sunday 27 June.
England could face Belgium (Group B winners) in Seville at 8pm on Sunday 27 June.
England could face the Group E winners (one of Sweden, Slovakia, Spain, Poland) in Glasgow at 8pm on Tuesday 29 June.