As we’ve already seen, 20 teams have made it to France’s European Championship next year. Only four spots remain, with eight countries left in the running. By the 17th November, we will know exactly which 24 countries will be taking part in France.
As a reminder, here are the 20 sides who qualified via the groups:The play-offs are played between 8 of the 9 countries who finished third in their groups. Turkey finished third in A, but qualified automatically, meaning that Groups B through to I provided the sides for the play-offs. Bosnia and Herzegovina finished third in B, Ukraine in C, Republic of Ireland in D, Slovenia in E, Hungary in F, Sweden in G, Norway in H and Denmark in I.
The countries were then seeded according to their UEFA co-efficient, a complicated system seeming only to promote the traditional top sides staying at the top and not promoting growth. For evidence of this, see how Manchester City struggle in Europe with hard groups and how Wales, one of FIFA’s world top 10 nations, will be seeded in pot 4 for the upcoming European Championships.
Anyway, enough of my ramblings. Whether the system is right or not, it isn’t, Bosnia, Ukraine, Sweden and Hungary were seeded. This meant that they would each play one of Ireland, Denmark, Norway and Slovenia – which left a good chance of a tasty Scandinavian derby.
As you can see, one of those derby chances happened. The tie of the round is possibly Bosnia v Ireland – Bosnia fresh from their 2014 World Cup appearance but struggling in their group while Ireland were one goal away from going through automatically. Ukraine have a poor record in play-offs but have the lowest ranked side remaining according to UEFA and so will fancy their chances. The last time Hungary played at a international tournament they lost 6-0 to the Soviet Union in their first match! Norway haven’t graced the stage since 2000, so both will be looking to make up for lost time.
Oslo will kick off the play-offs on the 12th November, with Zenica in Bosnia hosting their match the next day and the two others taking place on the 14th. The pattern is the same for the second, with Budapest starting proceedings and ending in Maribor and Copenhagen.
Keep an eye on this page for match updates.
Norway v Hungary :
First leg: Norway 0 – 1 Hungary
- Kleinheisler (26′)
Second leg: Hungary 2 – 1 Norway
- Priskin (14′)
- Henriksen (83′ OG)
- Henriksen (87′)
Hungary qualify for Euro 2016 3-1 on aggregate
Bosnia and Herzegovina v Republic of Ireland :
First leg: Bosnia 1 – 1 Ireland
- Brady (82′)
- Dzeko (85)
Second leg: Ireland 2 – 0 Bosnia
- Walters (24′ pen, 70′)
Republic of Ireland qualify for Euro 2016 3-1 on aggregate
Ukraine v Slovenia :
First leg: Ukraine 2 – 0 Slovenia
- Yarmolenko (22′)
- Seleznyov (54′)
Second leg: Slovenia 1 – 0 Ukraine
- Cesar (11′)
Ukraine qualify for Euro 2016 2-1 on aggregate
Sweden v Denmark :
First leg: Sweden 2 – 1 Denmark
- Forsberg (45′)
- Ibrahimovic (50′ pen)
- Jorgensen (80′)
Second leg: Denmark 2 – 2 Sweden
- Ibrahimovic (19′, 76′)
- Poulsen (81′)
- Vestergaard (90′)
Sweden qualify for Euro 2016 4-3 on aggregate
So, there we have it – Sweden, Ukraine, Hungary and Ireland have all booked their place at Euro 2016.
Ireland’s participation will mean four of the five nations in the UK and Ireland will be in France next summer. Hungary have qualified for their first major tournament since the 80’s, Sweden have again qualified, making it four Euro’s in a row and Ukraine have finally ended their play-off heartbreak.Above is a complete list of all the nations who will be in France in the summer, in the order in which they qualified. Ukraine’s qualification means that they become the second nation, the other Austria, to be making their debut as a nation who have qualified rather than being there due to host status.
The next action to come from the Euros will be the draw, which will take place on December 12th in Paris. They’ve already announced the pots for that, and they are as follows:
Pot 1: France (automatically assigned to group A1), Spain, Germany, England, Portugal and Belgium.
Pot 2: Italy, Russia, Switzerland, Austria, Croatia and Ukraine.
Pot 3: Czech Republic, Sweden, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary
Pot 4: Turkey, Republic of Ireland, Iceland, Wales, Albania and Northern Ireland.
I’ll be back with the draw when it happens, and until then I’ll leave you to ponder some potential groups! There is the potential for a Italy, Sweden, Wales group – a prospect which none of the pot 1 teams will fancy.
Finally, here is the final picture showing which nations have qualified and which haven’t. The countries in blue will all be in France next summer.