EURO 2020 Qualifying: What you should know
EURO 2020 Qualifying Championship has resumed with England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales in action. Therefore, you need to know how the qualifying works, how the home nations are progressing and how leading nations are getting on.
How qualifying works
There are ten qualifying groups of five and six teams. Top countries from each group go through automatically. A total of twenty-four teams will play in the finals next summer.
The first round of qualifiers was held on 21st to 23rd March 2019. The final games will take place on 17th to 19th November 2019.
There are no play-offs for third place after these qualifying groups. Instead, the 16 nations who won in their respective groups have the safety net of at least a play-off place if they fail to make it at the top two.
If some of these teams directly qualify for EURO 2020, then, the next best team in their Nations League tier who do not qualify automatically will take their play-off place.
The play-off draw is on 22nd November 2019. The semi-finals and finals will be played from 26th to 31st March 2020.
Home nations progress
England and Northern Ireland are top of their respective groups after winning every game in the qualifying.
England has had three victories so far. 5-0 against the Czech Republic, 5-1 against Montenegro in March and then 4-0 against Bulgaria on Saturday. They are one point above unbeaten Kosovo, who they will host at St Mary’s on Tuesday.
Northern Ireland has played four qualifying games in group C and won all four. Michael O’Neill’s side has claimed home and away wins against Estonia and Belarus but things get considerably tougher from here.
On Monday, they will host Germany before traveling to Rotterdam in October to face the Netherlands.
Defeat in Croatia and Hungary meant wales were playing catch-up but they edged past Azerbaijan 2-1 courtesy of Gareth Bale’s late goal.
Scotland needed a win at home against Russia to revive their hopes and it started well through John McGinn’s goal. But the visitors turned the game around to win 2-1.
Scots remain fourth in Group 1, nine points behind leaders Belgium who thrashed San Mario 4-0 and six behind Russia.
How other leading Europe nations are getting on
World champions, France are favorites to win EURO 2020 and are top of Group h with 12 points from five games.
Spain is looking strong in Group F. They have won all five of their games so far, scoring 13 goals and conceding three.
Netherlands is back in the hunt in Group C as they come from behind to beat Germany 4-2 in Hamburg. The Dutch will be under pressure to qualify for EURO 2020 after failing to make it to the 2018 World Cup.
Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal got their first win after two draws in Group B. They beat Serbia 4-2 in a thriller in Belgrade but still sit eight points behind Ukraine.
Italy is firmly in control of group J after six wins from six, edging past Finland 2-1 courtesy of Chelsea midfielder Jorginho’s penalty.
The Republic of Ireland is top of Group D with 11 points from five games. Two points ahead of Denmark who was held to a surprise goals draw against Georgia and three in front of Switzerland, who eased past Gibraltar 4-0.