I guess you must not like football because this happens in every competition. It happens in Champions League. It happens in all the big European leagues. It happens in the World Cup. It happens in Copa America. All football has an element of the smaller underdog going up against the favorite. You must be one of those fans that wants to see a European Super League with no relegation just so you can see the same 20 super clubs playing against each other all the time. For me that takes the joy out of the sport. Anyways, I'm not sure there is a problem with the quality of play. First of all this tournament has not had any blow outs of more than 3 goals. No team finished with 9 points. That seems like quite a bit of evidence that the smaller countries deserve to compete on this stage. I do agree that there are some criticisms on how the 3rd place teams get to advance, especially when they have a losing record like Northern Ireland. Perhaps some format tweaks can be made for the future to not reward mediocrity as much. One idea could be to have the 2 best 3rd place teams advance directly to round of 16. And the remaining 4 3rd place teams have to play an extra elimination match against each other before round of 16. That way you force these teams to actually be winners in order to earn the right to advance. Settling for 3 points in group stage should not be enough to earn automatic qualification.