Croatia’s Euro 2024 fortunes hang in the balance after a late injury-time equaliser by Italy in their final Group B match at Leipzig, robbed them of three valuable points. 

The Croats are currently third in Group B with two points from three games having lost their opening game to Spain and drawn their second against Albania.

Croatia are one of the top footballing nations in the world, especially Europe, and have excelled in recent times at major football tournaments. 

They reached the semi-finals in the last two editions of the FIFA World Cup, losing out to France in the final in 2018 and finishing third in 2022.

Croatia also reached the Round of 16 in the 2016 and 2021 editions of the Euro Championships. Furthemore, they finished as runners-up in the UEFA Nations League in 2023 after losing out to Spain in the final on penalties.

However, Croatia find themselves on a slippery slope in Euro 2024 as they face a group-stage exit for the first time in the continental championship since 2012. Is Croatia out of Euro 2024? Let’s find it out.

Is Croatia out of Euro 2024

While Croatia still have bleak chances of making it to the round of 16 stage in Euro 2024, it’s worth noting that they need plenty of other results to go their way and make it as one of the four best third-placed from the Euro 2024 group stage.

The 24 participating nations are divided into six groups with four teams in each group. All teams will play three matches each in the group stage. 

After the group engagements, the top two teams from each group progress to the knockouts making it 12 out of 16 teams. 

The remaining four places will be taken by the best third-placed teams with respect to points. 

If they have the same points, then the team with a better goal difference will proceed. Goal difference is nothing but the difference between the goals scored by a team against the goals conceded by them.

Currently, Hungary from Group A have three points, one more than Croatia, and are placed third in their respective group. 

Austria in Group D and Slovakia in Group E are also placed third in their respective groups with three points and both have a match remaining as well. 

Hence, Austria and Slovakia or the team that finishes third in their respective groups, will make it to the Round of 16 ahead of Croatia, even if they face defeat in their final round fixtures. Hungary is also ahead of Croatia in the race for the round of 16.

For Croatia to be in the round of 16 reckoning, they need to finish ahead of the prospective third-placed teams in Group C and F. 

And for that to happen, either Denmark or Slovenia in Group C has to lose by a margin of three or more goals to be on level terms with Croatia, who have a goal difference of -3. 

Both Denmark and Slovenia are currently level on points with Croatia with a goal difference of 0. 

Denmark meet Serbia whereas Slovenia are up against England in the last round of matches. 

Coming to Group F, both the Czech Republic and Georgia need to lose their final-round matches as a draw will take them above Croatia.

Though Czech and Georgia have only a single point, a draw will make them level on points with Croatia with both their goal differences superior.

The Czech face second-placed Turkey while Georgia meet Euro 2016 champions Portugal in their final group games.

Though on paper, Croatia are still in the race, there are too many permutations and combinations that have to go their way to progress further. In the end, the heavy 0-3 loss to Spain in their tournament opener may weigh against them.

Photo credit: Unsplash / Thomas Serer