Euro 2016

Three minnows assured last-16 spots

PARIS • Slovakia, Hungary and Northern Ireland were all assured of qualifying for the last 16 at Euro 2016 on Tuesday despite not playing, or in Northern Ireland's case, losing.

Northern Ireland lost 1-0 to Germany but were celebrating a few hours later after Turkey's 2-0 win over the Czech Republic meant they were assured of being among the best four of the six third-placed teams to advance to the last 16.

They finished third in Group C on three points, but with a better goal difference than Turkey and Albania, who finished third in their respective groups.

It also meant that Slovakia and Hungary, both with four points, are guaranteed to be among the best four third-placed finishers.

Croatia were also assured of progress by that result but went on to secure top place in Group D by beating Spain 2-1, and will play one of the third-placed teams.

Spain will now face Italy, winners of Group E, and are in the same half of the draw as Germany and England.

With two sets of group matches still to be played late yesterday, Turkey and Albania, both on three points, will have to wait to see if results go their way.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2016, with the headline 'Three minnows assured last-16 spots'. Print Edition | Subscribe