[UPDATE]: Italy beat Ireland 2-0 today, and Spain beat Croatia 1-0, meaning both Spain and Italy will make it through to the knockout round.
[Original Post]: Two teams will advance out of Group C at Euro 2012 today, but Italian fans are worried that Spain and Croatia might conspire to keep Italy from moving out of the group stage.
Both Spain and Croatia have four points after two games, and the two teams play today. A win for either team would secure a spot in the knockout stages.
But if the two teams tie 2-2, they’ll both advance, which has lead to some collusion worries.
Italy has two points and plays lowly Ireland. They need to win and get some help in the Spain-Croatia game to advance.
The easiest way for Italy to advance would be if they win and either Spain or Croatia wins.
If Spain and Croatia draw, though, it will go down to a tiebreaker to decide which two teams advance out of the group.
The tiebreaker rules get a bit complicated, but teams are separated by the number of goals scored in games against each other.
A 0-0 or 1-1 tie between Spain and Croatia, combined with an Italy win, would mean the Italians advance. If Spain and Croatia play to a 2-2 or higher draw, Italy is knocked out regardless of what happens against Ireland.
This exact type of scenario has played out at the tournament in the past, with Italy at the wrong end of a 2-2 draw. At Euro 2004, a 2-2 draw between Denmark and Sweden sent the Italians home
In that 2004 game, Sweden and Denmark quit trying to score on one another after the game was 2-2, as each team just needed a tie to advance. If Spain and Croatia get to 2-2 today, expect the whole nation of Italy to be up in arms.
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