scrape through

Another philosophical piece. You know nothing about the teams competing there. How do you think they fancied Portugal’s chances before the tournament?

“Would you have predicted Iceland would be in the last 16 of the European Championships? Who would have thought Portugal would scrape through?”

‘scrape through’ is a standard term meaning ‘just manage to get in’ or ‘get into one of the last positions available’, etc.

Of course it does mean that.

But reading the original sentence, what would you think of the Portugal team: any clue about how they were expected to perform?
(Try not look it up, it’s just about how the uninitiated understand it).

The commentator did not expect Portugal to get into the last 16 and doesn’t think many other people would have expected it either.

Then you and I (and grammar) win and he loses.
They had been among the favourites before it started, and were expected to deliver, but managed to just scrape through.
He sounded as if he meant quite the opposite.

“Who would have thought Portugal would have to scrape through?”–would it be enough?..

Or even, “Who would have thought it would come to Portugal scraping through?"
Which you’d pick?..

Who would have thought Portugal would only just scrape through.