What you need to watch out in Groups E to I for the final weekend of Euro 2016 Qualifiers

This international break marks the end of UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying. Out of the 24 Euro spots up for grabs, 19 are still available going into the final weekend. Hosts France as well as Iceland, Czech Republic, England and Austria have qualified and 15 additional teams will clinch this week. Four teams will qualify in a home and away series next month. We covered what to watch out for in Groups A to D, now let’s take a look at Groups E to I.

 

Group E

Except for England going 8-0-0 and running away with the group and San Marino taking up the rear, the middle of the group is somewhat wide open for advancement. Until you closely look at the rest of the schedule.

1) England 24 points (Qualified for Euro 2016)
2) Switzerland 15
3) Slovenia 12
4) Estonia 10
5) Lithuania 9
6) San Marino 1 (Eliminated for Euro 2016)

Group E will play on Friday the 9th and Monday the 12th. Estonia (Friday on FS2) and Lithuania (Monday on FS2) have the unlucky task of having to face England this week. That will hurt their chances of entering the top three especially when they have to likely win both of their games. Switzerland and Slovenia will play San Marino for a game so that alone will all but eliminate Estonia and Lithuania.

 

Group F

This group is tight at the top. Nobody has clinched qualification and the top three have a shot at taking the group.

1) Northern Ireland 17 points (Clinches at least third place)
2) Romania 16
3) Hungary 13
4) Finland 10
5) Faroe Islands 6 (Eliminated for Euro 2016)
6) Greece 3 (Eliminated for Euro 2016)

Group F will play on Thursday the 8th and Sunday the 11th. This week is shaping up to be a colossal ending and may wind up being the most entertaining finish to a group. Finland is the dark horse in this fight and having to go out against Romania on Thursday (on FSP) and Northern Ireland on Monday (on FS1), they’re likely out.

So that leaves three teams for the two qualification spots while the other goes to the home and away series. Hungary is behind and probably need to win both games for a chance at automatically qualifying but they get the easiest schedule in Faroe Islands and Greece (Sunday on FS2). Romania get Finland on Thursday (on FSP) and Faroe Islands on Sunday (on FSP) while Northern Ireland faces Greece and Finland (Sunday on FS1). If Finland can sneak in a win against Romania, Hungary may just sneak in a top two spot. The finish will come down to the wire.

 

Group G

Group G is going to come down to those teams in 2nd to 4th. One team will qualify for Euro 2016, one will go into the home and away series and one will be eliminated.

1) Austria 22 points (Qualified for Euro 2016)
2) Russia 14
3) Sweden 12
4) Montenegro 11
5) Liechtenstein 5 (Eliminated for Euro 2016)
6) Moldova 2 (Eliminated for Euro 2016)

Group G will play on Friday and Monday. In terms of who is likeliest to qualify, that would go to Sweden. Sweden may be two points behind Russia but Sweden has by far the easiest schedule of the three teams. Sweden will play the two worst teams in the group, Liechtenstein on Friday (on FSP) and Moldova on Monday (on FS2). Russia still has a good chance to qualify as they too play Moldova. Their big test will be against Montenegro on Monday (on ESPN2) and if they can beat them, they will qualify.

And speaking of Montenegro, poor Montenegro. They need to pick up points and have to play Austria on Friday and Russia on Monday. This may be the end of the road for Montenegro.

 

Group H

Group H is pretty much set for the top three teams. Bulgaria is still alive but that’s pretty much in name only

1) Italy 18 points (Clinches at least third place)
2) Norway 16 (Clinches at least third place)
3) Croatia 14
4) Bulgaria 8
5) Azerbaijan 6 (Eliminated for Euro 2016)
6) Malta 2 (Eliminated for Euro 2016)

Group H will play on Saturday and Tuesday. Italy will qualify for Euro 2016 by beating Azerbaijan on Saturday or if Croatia drops points Saturday against Bulgaria. Speaking of Croatia, if they at least draw Bulgaria, they will clinch a top three spot and if they beat Bulgaria and surely get past Malta on Tuesday and Norway struggles and doesn’t beat Italy on Tuesday (on FS1), Croatia can overtake Norway and clinch a Euro spot.

 

Group I

Group I is a little bit tougher to analyze since teams have games in hand but we at least know who all is moving on and who is eliminated. It’s now all about figuring out who finishes where.

1) Portugal 15 points from 6 games (Clinches at least third place)
2) Denmark 12 from 7 games (Clinches at least third place)
3) Albania 11 from 6 games (Clinches at least third place)
4) Armenia 2 from 7 games (Eliminated for Euro 2016)
5) Serbia 1 from 6 games (Eliminated for Euro 2016)

Group I will play on Thursday and Sunday. Considering Portugal has a game in hand over Denmark and they play them on Thursday, they can clinch then with at least a draw. Denmark may be the odd man out because their last game is against Portugal. So if they lose to Portugal, that means Albania has two games to grab two draws or better against Serbia and Armenia to leap frog Denmark and qualify for Euro 2016.

Well that is that for Groups E to I. It’s shaping up to be an exciting conclusion to this round of Euro 2016 Qualifying. The picture is getting clearer in terms of who is going to France next summer

About Phillip Bupp

News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them. Follow me on Twitter @phillipbupp

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