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21st Jun 2016

The complicated permutations for Group C explained

Robert Redmond

Northern Ireland are a positive result away from qualifying for the the last-16. It’s just the matter of finding a way past the world champions.

Michael O’Neill’s side are currently third in Group C, after their stunning 2-0 win over Ukraine last Thursday, ending the eastern European’s hopes of progressing.

Here’s the table before the final round of fixtures:

group c table

Germany play Northern Ireland in Paris at 5pm, and Poland take on Ukraine in Marseille.

No matter what happens in either game, Northern Ireland are guaranteed third spot – because of their superior head-to-head record against Ukraine – and a chance of being one of the four highest ranked third place teams.

If Northern Ireland win, they would secure first or second place in the group. If they win, and Poland lose or draw with Ukraine, O’Neill’s team will be assured top spot.

If Germany and Northern Ireland draw, and Poland lose, there’ll be no change in the group standings. But if it’s a draw in Paris, and Poland win, the Poles will top the group and play the third place team from either Group A, B or F on Saturday in Lille.

If the world champions beat Northern Ireland they will top the group regardless of Poland’s result. Northern Ireland would remain in third, and hope their three points will be enough to see them through as one of the highest ranked third place teams.

Here’s the current rankings of third place teams:

third place rankings pre-NI Germany

Should Northern Ireland go through in third, they could play France in Lyon on Sunday, or Wales, who topped Group B on Monday night.


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