With around eight months to go before the action kicks off at the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament, teams are already beginning to qualify for spots in the final tournament. Here in October we’re well into the last two international breaks of 2019, and with a total of 24 spots on offer this year, there are plenty more up for grabs—particularly since no team has automatically qualified to be the host country for next year’s tournament.
Unlike previous tournaments, the 2020 event will be played across Europe for the very first time. This has meant that all teams have had to earn the right to enter the finals through the Euro qualifying rounds, although some teams will be granted an additional opportunity to fight for a place in the UEFA Nations League playoffs during spring 2020.
So far, the qualifiers have given us some of the most anticipated football matches for pundits, fans and bookmakers alike. However, with the qualifying rounds due to come to an end in November, and a total of six teams looking to book their place in the Euro 2020 finals during the rest of October, the action is really beginning to heat up.
Here’s the lowdown on everything we know so far, including the highlights of the most recent matches and the national teams that have already secured their place in next year’s prestigious tournament.
Highlights from recent games
The action hasn’t let up during the first two weeks of October, so let’s break down some of the key events group-by-group:
England went into match day 7 against the Czech Republic with an impeccable four wins from four games. Although they hoped to snatch a 100% record and an easy qualification win, they lost 2-1 against the Eastern European side. However, they were granted another chance against Bulgaria during match day 8, scoring a glorious 6 goals against Bulgaria’s 0. They are still to face Kosovo on match day 10 to determine whether they’ll come in 1st or 2nd to the finals next year, but either way they’ve nabbed a spot.
Heading into match day 8, Ukraine were the unlikely leaders of the group, with a total of 16 points. After successfully beating Lithuania during match day 7 and emerging victorious against Portugal (2-1), the party’s in full swing as they celebrate their place in the finals.
Ukraine are the unlikely leaders in Group B and they will secure qualification if they can beat Lithuania on Friday and achieve at least a draw against Portugal on Monday.
Germany and The Netherlands have remained level in points at the top of Group C; that’s despite Emre Can being sent off early during the former’s match against Estonia. Meanwhile, The Netherlands have stayed level thanks to a 2-1 victory against Belarus during match day 8. Group C will need to wait until match day 9 on 16th November before an overall victor is decided.
Poland stunned with a 2-0 win against North Macedonia, putting them at the top of the group and granting them that coveted spot in the finals. Despite winning 1-0 over Slovenia, Austria needs to wait until match day 9 next month to determine whether they’ll have a finals place or not.
Teams who have qualified so far
At the time of writing, the following teams have qualified for a place in the Euro 2020 finals next summer:
- Ukraine (1st in Group B)
- Poland (1st in Group G)
- Belgium (1st in Group I)
- Russia (2nd in Group I)
- Italy (1st in Group J)
However, next year’s Nations League play-offs will give four more teams the opportunity to join the finals tournament in the summer. These matches will take place in March 2020, on Thursday 26th and Monday 30th. The teams who will participate—including Scotland, who missed out from qualifying in Group I—are as follows:
- Path A: Bulgaria/Israel/Romania, Iceland, Switzerland
- Path B: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Northern Ireland, Slovakia, Wales
- Path C: Bulgaria/Israel/Romania, Norway, Scotland, Serbia
- Path D: Belarus, Georgia, Kosovo, North Macedonia
In the event of any of the Nations League play-off teams qualifying during the rest of the main Euro 2020 qualifying phase, their place in the play-offs next March will be passed to the next-best team in their league group.
In accordance with UEFA rules, if there are under four teams who are still to qualify from a league, their spot will be filled with teams from other Leagues who are in accordance with the current UEFA Nations League rankings. However, group winners won’t be moved up into play-offs with higher leagues.