Thursday June 14 2012
Euro 2012: Italy qualify if...

It all goes down to the final matches in Group C, as Italy have to beat Ireland and hope for goal difference to go their way in Spain-Croatia.

After Spain’s 4-0 victory this evening, the reigning champions are joint top of Group C with Croatia on four points each.

Italy trail on two, while the Republic of Ireland are already eliminated from Euro 2012 following two defeats.

The Azzurri must win against Giovanni Trapattoni’s Ireland to have any hope of reaching the quarter-finals.

If they win and Spain-Croatia ends in a draw, all three teams will finish up on five points.

Qualification is at this stage decided by goal difference in head-to-head meetings (which is 0, because they're all draws) and then goals scored in head-to-heads.

This means if Spain-Croatia ended 2-2, then both those teams would qualify thanks to a superior number of goals scored in the head-to-heads.

It is exactly the same situation that saw Italy knocked out of Euro 2004 when Denmark and Sweden drew 2-2.

However, if Spain-Croatia were to end 1-1, then the overall goal difference would be taken into consideration.

Italy would be able to go through if they won by at least two clear goals against the Republic of Ireland, but that does not include a 2-0 scoreline. A 3-1 victory would match Croatia's result against Ireland and send the Azzurri through due to their superior UEFA ranking.

If Spain-Croatia were to end goalless, Italy would go through simply by beating Ireland and even top the group.

Italy qualify for the Euro 2012 quarter-finals if they beat Ireland and:

a) Spain-Croatia does not end in a draw.

b) Spain-Croatia ends goalless.

c) Spain-Croatia ends 1-1 and Italy win by at least two clear goals (excluding a 2-0 result).

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