At the start of the tournament Croatia was a 50-1 longshot to win Group C. Now after surprising wins over Hungary and the Netherlands they are the only team in the Group to have qualified for the Main Round. Here’s a look at the “upside down” standings.
On Tuesday, Serbia will play Croatia and then Hungary will take on the Netherlands. Here are the 9 different possible outcomes for the combination result of those 2 matches:
Here is what each nation needs to do to advance to the main round:
Croatia: Already qualified, but they will still want to take 2 more points into the Main Round.
Serbia: If Serbia wins or draws vs Croatia they will qualify for the Main Round. If they lose to Croatia they can still qualify if the Netherlands does not win their match vs Hungary
Hungary: If Croatia beats Serbia in the first match, Hungary qualifies for the Main Round. If, however, Serbia beats Croatia or the match is a draw, Hungary will need a win or a draw in their match vs the Netherlands.
Netherlands: For the Netherlands it’s quite simple: Beat Serbia and they will qualify regardless of the outcome of the first match.
A side note on a mathematical possibility*
You might have noticed in the chart that if Croatia beats Serbia and the Netherlands beats Hungary there is actually a 3 way tie between Hungary, Serbia in the Netherlands. However, thanks to Hungary’s 38-26 win over Serbia, Serbia would need need the Netherlands to beat Hungary by 20 goals to turn the tide on the 3 way Goal Differential tiebreaker. That may be a mathematical possibility, but, it’s just not going to happen. See below: