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26th Jun 2024

The reason Denmark finished ahead of Slovenia in Group C despite having identical record

Charlie Herbert

These might be the two most evenly matched sides in Europe…

Whilst EURO 2024 has provided us with some incredible drama so far, it’s safe to say this was rarely the case in Group C.

The group, made up England, Denmark, Slovenia and Serbia, came to a conclusion last night with two 0-0 draws. Five of the six games finished as draws and only seven goals were scored – the lowest of any group at EURO 2024.

But whilst this didn’t lead to much drama on the pitch, it did mean the group ended up being extremely close. England ended up topping the group with five points, whilst Serbia finished bottom with two points. But it was between runners-up Denmark and third-placed Slovenia that things started to get a bit complicated.

Both sides drew all three of their Group C games, meaning they finished the group with the same amount of points. Usually the first tiebreaker between teams is their head to head record, but obviously this didn’t apply here because they drew with each other.

They couldn’t be separated on goal difference either – three draws meant they were both on 0 goal difference – and they even scored and conceded the same amount of goals, so this couldn’t be used to decided who finished above who either.

Points? Head to head? Goal difference? Goals scored? Goals condeded? Denmark and Slovenia couldn’t be split on any of these…

The next factor considered is each team’s disciplinary record in the group, so basically how many yellow and red cards they were each handed.

But guess what? Yep, incredibly, Denmark and Slovenia matched each other here as well, having both received six bookings during the group stage.

So, how did Denmark end up pipping Slovenia to second in the group?

Well, it ended up coming down to events that didn’t even take place at EURO 2024. Denmark finished ahead of Slovenia by virtue of the fact they performed better in the qualification rounds.

Denmark topped their qualification group, ahead of second-placed….. Slovenia! Yes, these two were in the same qualification group as well, and they finished level on points in this.

However, Denmark ended up finishing top because they had a better head to head record against Slovenia, beating them 2-1 in one game whilst the other finished a draw.

There was still barely anything to separate the sides in qualification though. Denmark scored 19 goals to Slovenia’s 20, whilst Slovenia conceded 9 goals to Denmark’s 10. So even in qualification, they tied on goal difference as well.

Barely anything could separate Denmark and Slovenia in qualification either

Are these the two most evenly matched sides in the world?

Both nations made it through to the last 16 of EURO 2024. Denmark have got a tough match against tournament hosts Germany to look forward to on Saturday evening, whilst Slovenia, who progress as one of the best third placed teams, will have to wait until the conclusion of Groups E and F tonight to find out who they will play.