Monday, 20 June 2016

How many out of twenty-four?

Avoiding EURO 2016: A self-experiment — Day Eleven

Time for a self-test. Yesterday when chatting to a couple of friends who had read my blog, I realised that since the number of teams in the European Championship is for the first time 24, there are eighth-finals after the group stage, as opposed to quarter-finals since 1996 I think, and before that even just semi-finals.

This also means that in four of the six groups, number three out of the four teams qualifies for the knock-out stage. I always found this a stupid rule: ‘the four best number threes’. It was invented by FIFA in the 1986 World Cup. Already four years before, the World Cup had been upgraded from 16 to 24 (and nowadays even 32!) teams.

As the system of having the two top teams of each of the six groups advance to the next round, and then play in four groups with three teams in each did not work well, eighth-finals were introduced from 1986, meaning that the ‘best’ four of the six teams finishing third in their respective groups also got a ticket to this round.

Anyway, back to the self-test: Do I actually remember which 24 teams qualified for EURO 2016? Let us see: Poland, Germany, France, Northern Ireland, England, Wales, Russia, Romania, Albania, Iceland, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Italy, Sweden, Turkey, Switzerland and Portugal I know for sure.

That’s 18 already. Spain must be in there as well, and I’m pretty sure that Germany had to play against Ukraine. Oh, and Belgium is in there too of course, as everybody’s (not so) hidden favourite.

So we’re at 21. Which ones can the remaining three be? Croatia would be a good bet. I do know that The Netherlands are not in. But who else is? Greece? Might be. Czechia perhaps? I don’t think so but I’m not sure. Ireland could be though, as I saw a link to some young lads in green jerseys with pints in one hand and garbage bags in the other:

I love that green country and their people! And it seems they are among the 24! Good!

No comments: