Euro 2024 power rankings: verdicts on the 24 teams after the group stage

1) Spain

Three games, three wins, five goals scored and none conceded. Spain were not among the favourites before the tournament started, but they are now. The mood back home has changed too, AS writing after the 1-0 win against Italy: “47 million Spaniards are starting to climb on board this ship that was half-empty two weeks ago.” The coach, Luis de la Fuente, even had the luxury of making 10 changes for the final group game against Albania, qualification already secured. The wingers Nico Williams and Lamine Yamal have impressed and in midfield Rodri has been Rodri. Can Spain go all the way? “Hope,” De La Fuente said, “is free, and we’re the first to feel that hope, that optimism. But we do so with our feet on the ground: it doesn’t guarantee anything.”

2) Germany

The hosts got off to a perfect start against Scotland in Munich on the opening night of the tournament, winning 5-1 with the youngsters Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala grabbing the headlines. A more pedestrian 2-0 victory over Hungary followed before Switzerland provided a real scare in the final group game, Julian Nagelsmann’s side needing a last-minute equaliser from Niclas Füllkrug to get the draw and top the group. “Of course we would have liked to win the game and to play great football,” the captain, Ilkay Gündogan, said. “But I think you also need games like that during a tournament.” There are defensive worries before the last-16 game against Denmark on Saturday, with Jonathan Tah suspended and Antonio Rüdiger carrying a knock.

Niclas Füllkrug (No 9) heads home Germany’s equaliser against Switzerland. Photograph: Harriet Lander/Uefa/Getty Images

3) Austria

“To finish top of the group is incredible,” Ralf Rangnick said after his side had beaten the Netherlands 3-2 to do just that. “We got rewarded for a very courageous and energetic game by my players.” He was not wrong. Austria have been one of the positive surprises of the group stage, making light of pre-tournament injuries to David Alaba – who is in Germany as a non-playing captain – and the midfielder Xaver Schlager. Rangnick even managed to start the game against the Netherlands with some key players on the bench, partly to rest them but to also to avoid second yellow cards and suspensions for the last-16 game. Their hard-pressing style can leave gaps in defence for better sides to exploit but there is a positive energy around the squad that can take them far.

4) France

That the narrative around the favourites should centre on Kylian Mbappé is no surprise but the way the group stage unfolded was not how Didier Deschamps had planned it. The 25-year-old new Real Madrid signing missed a sitter in the first game against Austria before breaking his nose after a collision with Kevin Danso. He missed the game against Netherlands but scored a penalty in the 1-1 draw against Poland. France, in fact, have yet to score from open play in this tournament and had to settle for second place in the group behind Austria. N’Golo Kanté’s form has been a plus but that they are so heavily reliant on Mbappé for goals is a problem. Time for Ousmane Dembélé, Marcus Thuram, Olivier Giroud, Bradley Barcola and others to step up.

5) Portugal

They tried to do a Spain and rest several key players for their final group game after two wins – but the result was very different. Whereas Spain won 1-0 against Albania, Portugal lost 2-0 to Georgia. It may not matter in the end – Roberto Martínez’s side won Group F and will fancy their chances against Slovenia in the last 16. They have one of the best squads at the tournament and that was evident particularly in the 3-0 demolition of Turkey. Cristiano Ronaldo has looked sharper than he did at the 2022 World Cup and the spine of Diogo Costa-Rúben Dias-Bernardo Silva/Bruno Fernandes and Ronaldo could help them go far.

Diogo

6) Switzerland

The team came into the tournament on something of a low with the coach, Murat Yakin, under pressure after a poor qualifying campaign, but emerged from the group stage on a high. Granit Xhaka has been one of the tournament’s best players, dominating midfield from a position slightly higher than the one he has had at Bayer Leverkusen this season. Around him Bologna’s Dan Ndoye has dazzled up front and at the back Manuel Akanji has led by example. “We have developed massively in the past six months,” said Xhaka. “This team now has a complete new desire, a new mentality and a new passion.”

7) Georgia

The tournament’s lowest-ranked side have been a revelation. They deserved a point against Turkey in their first game and could have won their second against the Czech Republic but for Saba Lobzhanidze missing a very presentable chance deep into added time. It all came together against Portugal in the final group game, though. The big players, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Giorgi Mamardashvili, shone against an admittedly much-changed Portugal side and Georges Mikautadze leads the Golden Boot standings after the group stage with three goals. “When you wear the badge of your country it makes you so proud,” Kvaratskhelia said after the win against Portugal. “It is the best day of my life. Even if there is just a 1% chance, we proved that you can make it happen.” Now for Spain …

A fan in Tbilisi mimics Georges Mikautadze’s goal celebration as joyous supporters take to the streets to celebrate their team’s qualification for the last 16. Photograph: Anadolu/Getty Images

8) Turkey

Going into the tournament it was difficult to know which Turkey would turn up: the one that won their qualifying group, beating Croatia away on the way, or the one that collapsed and lost 6-1 against Austria in a friendly in March? In the end we got a bit of both. Georgia were beaten 3-1 in one of the best games of the tournament before a resounding 3-0 defeat against Portugal. The final group game was a bit more difficult to judge as the Czech Republic had a player sent off midway through the first half but it still took Turkey 93 minutes to find a winner. The coach, Vincenzo Montella, won’t mind though and he has, in Kenan Yildiz and Arda Guler to name two, some exciting young attacking talent at his disposal.

9) England

All the pre-tournament optimism has evaporated, three plodding group-stage games sucking all the energy out of the team and the fans. OK, the first half against Serbia was decent but since then there have been questions about the players’ fitness, Gary Lineker calling the team’s performance against Denmark “shit” and Gareth Southgate having beer cups thrown at him. Harry Kane has been out of form and so has Jude Bellingham, the team’s two biggest stars. The Trent Alexander-Arnold midfield experiment failed and so did the Conor Gallagher midfield experiment. Will Kobbie Mainoo start now? Will Luke Shaw finally play a part? There have certainly been more questions than answers so far.

Gareth Southgate (left) speaks to Kobbie Mainoo before he came on against Slovenia. Will he start against Slovakia? Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA

10) Belgium

They are through to the knockout stage but only just. The team went into the tournament on a high, having not lost since Domenico Tedesco took charge in March 2023. They then promptly lost their first group game, against Slovakia. They deserved to take at least a point – and probably win – but Romelu Lukaku had two goals ruled out after video assistant referee interventions. A solid win against Romania followed but the team were then booed by fans after a cagey 0-0 draw against Ukraine, which meant they finished second. Can Tedesco change the narrative around the campaign and get his players ready to cause an upset against France? It seems a tall order.

11) Italy

Italy were not out but certainly down against Croatia, losing 1-0 deep into added time. Had they lost they would have faced an anxious wait to see whether they would qualify as one of the best third-placed teams. As it was Riccardo Calafiori raced upfield and passed the ball to Mattia Zaccagni, who opened up his body and scored, Del Piero-esque, the equaliser to make sure Italy finished second. Luciano Spalletti’s team were laboured in victory against Albania, outplayed in defeat against Spain and surprisingly hesitant in the draw against Croatia. Spalletti changed his 4-3-3 to a 3-5-2 against Croatia but it wasn’t a huge success. What will he do for the last 16?

Italy’s Mattia Zaccagni levels the score against Croatia with a fine finish. Photograph: Petr David Josek/AP

12) Netherlands

Ronald Koeman described the defeat against Austria in the final group game as “appalling” and the result was particularly galling as they would have finished top had they won. But their performances in Germany have been disjointed, with midfield a particular area of concern. Frenkie de Jong’s absence has left a huge hole and on Tuesday against Austria poor Joey Veerman was replaced after 35 minutes. Virgil van Dijk, after a superb season with Liverpool, has not looked himself either so far. Any positives? Not many but Cody Gakpo has played well and scored two of the side’s four goals and Memphis Depay has avoided injury and found the net against Austria.

13) Denmark

Kasper Hjulmand’s team will be pleased to have made it through to the knockout phase but there is still something missing. They are not as free-flowing as they were at Euro 2020, when they reached the semi-finals, and the fact that they did not win a group game will be a concern. Their best performance came against England when they drew 1-1 but arguably deserved to win and they are likely to need an even better performance to stand any chance against Germany in the last 16. The midfielder Morten Hjulmand, scorer of a long-range goal against England, will miss the game because of suspension.

Morten

14) Romania

Romania’s work in the group stage was almost done within an hour of their first game against Ukraine as they raced to a 3-0 lead. They then needed only one more point to qualify, which they duly got against Slovakia, who also needed a point to qualify. The coach, Edward Iordanescu, however, was furious after the 1-1 draw eliminated Ukraine. “Everyone did their best to throw mud at the teams, at our work and our dignity,” he said. “It was shameful. They should have waited before judging us, but they threw this garbage not just at us but our opponent. If we were going to lose and go home we would have done so with our dignity intact.” The Romania legend Gheorghe Hagi said before the tournament the country may have a national team to be proud of again and they will not fear the Netherlands in the last 16.

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15) Slovakia

A team shaped by their Italian coach, Francesco Calzona, Slovakia have reached the last 16 for the second time in eight years. In France in 2016 their journey was ended by a 3-0 defeat against Germany – they will hope for a better result against England. And they will fancy their chances. The Slovakia job is Calzona’s first as a head coach, having worked as an assistant previously, but he has got the best out of this group of players, including a 1–0 win against Belgium in the opener. The Napoli midfielder Stanislav Lobotka is the danger man and he will look forward to exploit the gaps seen in England’s midfield in the tournament so far.

Slovakia’s Stanislav Lobotka (left) dribbles past Youri Tielemans during his player of the match performance against Belgium. Photograph: Themba Hadebe/AP

16) Slovenia

One of only two teams to progress to the last 16 with only three points, Slovenia drew all their group games and scored only two goals but, in fairness, were seconds away from beating Serbia to clinch a vital win. They are a hard-working team with two superstars, Jan Oblak and Benjamin Sesko, but the latter has not looked fully fit and that has had an impact on the team’s attacking play. They were solid in their 4-4-2 formation in the 0-0 draw against England, which ultimately was enough to set up a last-16 game against Portugal, opponents they beat 2-0 in March with goals from Adam Gnezda Cerin and Timi Max Elsnik.

17) Ukraine

Everyone thinks that four points should be enough to qualify for the knockout phase of a 24-team Euros – and up until the tournament in Germany it always had been. But on Wednesday Ukraine became the first team to have four points and still be eliminated as they finished last in Group E. They were mainly undone by a poor first hour against Romania in the first game and missed the injured Mykhailo Mudryk in the final game, against Belgium. But the coach, Serhiy Rebrov, was rightly proud of his players. “We showed the character of our nation,” he said. “We are nearly 900 days in the war, and today it was important to show the people in Europe and our country that we are still fighting, that we are part of Europe.”

18) Croatia

Perhaps it was one tournament too many for Zlatko Dalic’s golden generation but that is easy to say in hindsight. Their undoing, in the end, came as late as the 98th minute against Italy, when they conceded an equaliser, having also dropped two points in added-on time against Albania. But maybe that is what happens when the combined age of your starting midfield is 99, as it was against Albania. Dalic was left ruing the eight minutes of added time at the end of the Italy game and it was impossible not to feel sorry for Luka Modric as he stood and watched the drama unfold, incapable of doing anything about it having been substituted. We may never see him at a major tournament again.

It’s nervous viewing for Luka Modric as he looks on from the bench after substituted against Italy. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

19) Albania

Having been drawn in the group of death, with Spain, Italy and Croatia, the manager, Sylvinho, promised they would go to Germany with a positive mindset – and didn’t they do just that? They took the lead against Italy after 23 seconds through Nedim Bajrami – the fastest goal in a European Championship – before losing 2-1. They then gave Croatia an almighty scare in a helter-skelter game that finished 2-2, before losing 1-0 to Spain. After the Spain game Sylvinho said: “We’ve been there for a year and a half, we’ve found very good players … They said we would get thrashed. The players believed in the work. They left everything on the pitch.”

20) Hungary

Had been given the dreaded “dark horses” label before the tournament after some impressive results – including wins away to Germany and England – only to produce an awful first half in the first game, against Switzerland. They were 2-0 down at the break and an improved second-half showing was not enough to win a point. They were better against Germany but then surprisingly subdued in the decider against Scotland despite having to win. They did hit a post towards the end and secured a 1-0 win in the 100th minute but it was not a vintage performance by any stretch of the imagination. The victory was dedicated to the forward Barnabas Varga after he was carried off after a collision with the Scotland goalkeeper Angus Gunn.

21) Czech Republic

The Czech side grew as the tournament went on but that is perhaps no surprise as the coach, Ivan Hasek, had had only one international window – in March – with the players before the preparations for the tournament started. He had replaced Jaroslav Silhavy in January and not spent much time with the players. As it was, the youngest squad produced their best performance in the last group game, against Turkey, but it was always going to be an uphill battle after Antonin Barak was harshly sent off for two yellow cards midway through the first half. Hasek will take the positives with him into the World Cup qualifiers and it will be interesting to see if the team can kick on in the autumn.

22) Poland

They may have been the first team to be eliminated after two straight defeats but a much-improved performance against France – and a point – meant Michal Probierz’s side at least left the tournament with some positivity around the camp. “We have shown today that when we have a moment of peace and calm in our game, we can play some good football,” the manager said after the France game. “I think we were very well prepared for these European Championships. And I think we’ve done what we could have done.” The odds were always stacked against his side after Robert Lewandowski suffered a thigh injury before the tournament. It was only when he returned to the starting XI that they looked at their best.

Poland’s Robert Lewandowski caused problems for the French defence including scoring their equaliser from the penalty spot. Photograph: Mateusz Słodkowski/Zuma Press/Shutterstock

23) Serbia

There were doubts about the team going into Euro 2024 and they were confirmed in Germany. The public had lost trust in the coach, Dragan Stojkovic, while several key players, such as Aleksandar Mitrovic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, had played their club football in Saudi Arabia leading up to the tournament. The thing that will hurt the most was that they went in to the final game against Denmark with a chance to qualify but it was hard to tell as they produced a lethargic performance in a 0-0 draw that resulted in their departure. “We did not create enough chances to score the goal and that cost us,” Mitrovic said after the final group game. “It is a bitter feeling. It is the worst when you are so near and you can do it and at the end you fail. We are emotionally drained.”

24) Scotland

The Scots arrived in Germany with high hopes but slipped away quietly after one point in three games with only one goal scored by one their own players – Scott McTominay against Switzerland – and even that was deflected. Steve Clarke railed against the non-award of a penalty in the final game against Hungary but the truth is Scotland did not offer enough over the three games to warrant a place in the knockout phase. So a 12th elimination in the group stages from 12 appearances at major finals was a fact. Key players such as McTominay and John McGinn were not bad but neither were they at their best. The injury to Kieran Tierney in the second game was a blow too. The fans were good though.

Scotland fans enjoy the pre-match atmosphere before the defeat against Hungary that ended their involvement in Euro 2024. Photograph: Craig Mercer/Shutterstock

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