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Euro 2024 Qualifying: The State Of Play


Euro 2024 Qualifying: The State Of Play

International football resumes this week, meaning that the final group games of Euro 2024 qualifying will take place. So ahead of the next round of matches, here is how things stand in the 10 qualifying groups for this summer’s tournament.

Before we go through each group, note that nine teams have already booked their spot at the finals so far following some of the results this week, with the hosts Germany now being joined by Spain, Portugal, France, England, Belgium, Austria, Turkey and Scotland.

Group A: Spain, Scotland, Norway, Georgia & Cyprus

Both Scotland and Spain have qualified directly from Group A, with Spain’s 1-0 win over Norway on 15th October enough to ensure a spot at this summer’s finals for both countries.

Spain and Scotland are 1st and 2nd in the group respectively on 15 points, with just goal difference separating the two nations. The top spot is still up for grabs however, and Scotland (Georgia, Norway) and Spain (Cyrus, Georgia) will be looking to win their remaining two group-stage fixtures to secure it.

3rd-place Georgia will go into the play-off phase based on their first-place position in their Nations League group, which leaves Norway with only the slimmest of chances of actually making it to the tournament as they cannot qualify directly and finished 2nd in their Nations League group. Therefore, they will have to wait on other results to see if they are in with a chance, while bottom-side Cyprus, on 0 points, were eliminated from qualifying a long time ago.

Group B: France, Netherlands, Greece, Republic of Ireland & Gibraltar

Only France have directly qualified from Group B so far, with Les Bleus’ status as group winners confirmed after their 2-1 win victory over the 2nd-placed Netherlands on 13th October.

The Dutch and Greece in 3rd are both assured of a play-off spot, but the battle for 2nd-place between the two will go right down to the wire with both countries currently sat on 12 points, with the Dutch’s dramatic 1-0 win over the Greeks on 16th October potentially proving a crucial moment in their fight for automatic qualification.

Ronald Koeman’s men can guarantee a spot at this summer’s Euros if they beat the Republic of Ireland in the next set of fixtures on November 18th, which would leave Greece to fight it out in the play-offs instead.

Ireland’s hopes of making the tournament are hanging by the thinnest of threads following their 2-0 defeat to Greece on 13th October, with the Irish needing results elsewhere to go their way, but they could still advance to the play-off stage based on their Nations League performances. Last-place Gibraltar, with 0 points to their name, are eliminated from qualifying.

Group C: England, Ukraine, Italy, North Macedonia & Malta

Following their 3-1 win at Wembley on 17th October against Italy, England have been confirmed as group winners with two games still to play and have thus booked their spot at the finals alongside fellow Home Nations side Scotland.

Italy, while defeated on the night and currently sitting in 3rd, still have their fate in their own hands if they can beat North Macedonia on November 17th. A win against the already-eliminated Macedonians would put Italy level with Ukraine on 13 points heading into the final round of Group C games, with Italy then playing Ukraine in Germany in that set of fixtures on November 20th.

The triumphant side from that meeting will be handed the final automatic qualification spot, but note that a spot in the play-offs is assured for the Azzurri anyway were they to fail to beat Macedonia. Alongside North Macedonia, Malta, on 0 points, were out of the running a long while ago.

Group D: Turkey, Wales, Croatia, Armenia & Latvia

Turkey have qualified from Group D as winners and have booked their place at next summer’s finals, and they will be joined by one of Wales or Croatia in what is this group’s story to keep an eye on. Both countries are currently on 10 points each, and they will be duking it out in the next set of fixtures on the 18th and 21st of November to join the Turks in Germany.

Wales will come up against Armenia (who themselves can still qualify) and a win in Yerevan coupled with an unlikely Croatia defeat to bottom side Latvia would see the Welsh pip Croatia to 2nd place.

The Croats are assured of at least a place in the play-offs, but considering the fact that they have the more favourable group fixtures remaining (Latvia, Armenia) out of the two sides, they will want to get the job done now. With Wales hosting Turkey on the 21st while the Croats host Armenia in Zagreb, this is one race that will go right down to the wire.

Group E: Albania, Czech Republic, Poland, Moldova & Faroe Islands

Similarly to Group D in what is another qualification race that will go right down to the wire, any two of Albania, Moldova, Poland and the Czech Republic could finish as this group’s two automatically qualifying teams.

Just 4 points currently separates the four countries, but for current group leaders Albania, they only need to win one of their last two games to reach this summer’s tournament following their comprehensive 3-0 win over the Czech Republic last month. The Czechs themselves moved back into 2nd-place following a tight 1-0 win over bottom-side Faroe Islands on 15th October, and they and Albania are the current favourites to finish in the top two.

The meeting between Poland and the Czech Republic on November 17th will be key in this group, with a Poland win taking them ahead of the Czechs and into 2nd place, while a Czech Republic win in that one coupled with a Moldova loss to Albania on the same night would see the Czechs qualify instead.

Moldova will need to win their last two fixtures if they want to stand any chance of qualifying, with their Nations League standing meaning that they would not be eligible to go through to the play-off phase. But with those final two opponents being Albania and the Czechs, it will be a tall order for the Moldovans. This is definitely one group to keep an eye on.

Group F: Belgium, Austria, Sweden, Azerbaijan & Estonia

Alongside Group A, Group F is the only other group to have its two qualifying teams confirmed already, with both Belgium and Austria finishing in the top two.

Ralf Rangnick’s Austria side are giving Belgium a good run for their money, as they are just one point behind the Red Devils having accumulated 16 from seven matches, although it looks likely that Domenico Tedesco’s men will finish on top as they face Azerbaijan at home on 19th November.

Both Azerbaijan and Estonia now cannot qualify from the group but still have a shot at doing so through the play-off phase following their strong Nations League showings, while Sweden have been eliminated and will not be in Germany this summer.

This is the first time that Sweden have failed to qualify for the European Championships since Euro 1996 Notably, the last tournament finals they competed in was the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Group G: Hungary, Serbia, Montenegro, Lithuania & Bulgaria

Group G looks set to see both Hungary and Serbia automatically qualify for this summer’s Euros after the two countries’ strong showings in the qualifying stage, with 5 points currently separating 2nd-place Serbia from 3rd-place Montenegro.

The Montenegrins are still in with a shot of direct qualification, but only just. They will need to beat Lithuania on November 16th to keep the heat on Serbia, with anything but a Montenegro win seeing Serbia qualify as a result. And the Serbs can also still qualify for the tournament through the play-offs were anything to go wrong in November – this is due to their status as group winners in the Nations League.

Meanwhile, Hungary can confirm their spot at the finals with a win over bottom side Bulgaria in the next set of matches, who themselves still have the possibility of making the play-off phase.

Group H: Slovenia, Denmark, Kazakhstan, Finland, Northern Ireland & San Marino

The first of the three groups to have six teams within it instead of five, Group H looks extremely likely to have both Slovenia and Denmark automatically qualify from it.

The two countries are tied on 19 points currently, and will come up against each other on November 17th, with the winner of that meeting ensuring qualification. 3rd-place Kazakhstan and 4th-place Finland are on 15 and 12 points respectively, and we will see both make it into the play-offs if, as expected, both Denmark and Slovenia do qualify. Meanwhile, San Marino and Northern Ireland’s prospects of making the tournament were extinguished long ago.

Group I: Romania, Switzerland, Israel, Kosovo, Belarus & Andorra

Romania’s 4-0 thrashing of bottom side Andorra on 15th October saw them move back into first place in Group I, with the Romanians now a point ahead of 2nd-place Switzerland, who have themselves played a game less.

Fairly comfortably, you would expect these two countries to finish in the top two and gain automatic qualification. That leaves 3rd-place Israel, who now look set to miss out on automatic qualification and are currently 4 points behind the Swiss having still yet to play both them and Romania, with just a play-off spot as their only route to the tournament.

Meanwhile, Andorra, Kosovo and Belarus all look set to miss out on a spot at a major tournament yet again.

Group J: Portugal, Slovakia, Luxembourg, Iceland, Bosnia-Herzegovina & Liechtenstein

Portugal have made it to the finals in Germany this summer following their 100% record in Group J so far, the highlight of which was a 9-0 thrashing of Luxembourg in September.

Now Luxembourg themselves are assured of at least a play-off spot, and they could still qualify directly were Slovakia to drop points in their final two matches against Iceland and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

But the Slovaks, currently on 16 points in 2nd-place, look highly unlikely to capitulate in such a fashion, and with a 5-point gap on Luxembourg, it is fair to say that we almost already know who will be qualifying automatically from this group. Slovakia will qualify if they avoid defeat to Iceland on the 16th of November, which would resign both Luxembourg and Bosnia-Herzegovina to a spot in the play-offs.