One side of the Euro 2016 knockout bracket is looking absolutely stacked
There is still plenty to be determined, but with the knockout stage bracket starting to take shape, one side looks to be utterly stacked, while the other side appears wide open.
Spain’s last-minute loss to Croatia threw a huge wrench in the works. With the three points, the Croatians won Group D, moving them into the top half and Spain into the already-stacked bottom half, with a locked-in round of 16 date with Italy one of many high powered early matchups.
Here are the teams whose place in the bracket are confirmed:
Top half - Switzerland, Poland, Croatia, Wales Bottom half - Germany, Italy, Spain, France, England
That’s already an insane disparity, and it could get worse. Portugal could win Group F and slide into the top half with a win over Hungary, but should Iceland also win over Austria by a wider goal margin, that would give Iceland the Group F win and move Portugal into 2nd place, meaning they would move into the bottom half, earning a first-round matchup with England.
Belgium could also fall into the bottom half of the table should they lose to Sweden by a goal. A loss of any more could eliminate them, while a win or draw gives them 2nd place in Group E and a much-preferred spot in the top half.
So, with this, it means that only one of Germany, Italy, and Spain can even make the semifinals. It’s conceivable that Spain’s path to the final would go Italy-Germany-England. Or England’s path could potentially be Portugal-France-Italy/Spain/Germany. Buckle up, folks.