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. What to watch out for in Groups E to I will be posted on Thursday morning but for now, let’s take a look at Groups A to D.
This group seems pretty straight forward. Iceland and Czech Republic have already qualified and Latvia and Kazakhstan have been eliminated. This leaves only Turkey and the Netherlands left whereas one will qualify for the third place table. There is a real chance that the defending third place World Cup team will not qualify for a 24 team Euro tournament.
1) Iceland 19 points (Qualified for Euro 2016)
2) Czech Republic 19 (Qualified for Euro 2016)
3) Turkey 12
4) Netherlands 10
5) Latvia 4 (Eliminated for Euro 2016)
6) Kazakhstan 2 (Eliminated for Euro 2016)
Group A will play on Saturday the 10th and Tuesday the 13th and the games to focus on will be games involving Turkey and the Netherlands. Turkey will have the most difficult schedule as they must play the top two teams in the group, Czech Republic on Saturday (on FS2) and Iceland on Tuesday (on FSP). The Netherlands will also have to play Czech Republic on Tuesday (on ESPN2) but get to play in Kazakhstan on Saturday (on FS2). The Netherlands must win in Kazakhstan if they want a chance to advance in the tournament.
In Group B, nobody has clinched qualification yet. Wales and Belgium have the best chance and all they need to qualify is a draw or better for Wales and a win for Belgium unless Israel drops points. Again the closer battle will be for third.
1) Wales 18 points (Clinches at least third place)
2) Belgium 17 (Clinches at least third place)
3) Israel 13
4) Bosnia and Herzegovina 11
5) Cyprus 9
6) Andorra 0 (Eliminated for Euro 2016)
Just like Group A, Group B will play on Saturday the 10th and Tuesday the 13th. Wales can clinch a Euro spot with a draw or better against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Saturday. If worse comes to worse, Wales can get that point against Andorra but considering Wales is unbeaten and Andorra has zero points and a -27 goal differential, Wales is as good as in.
Belgium must win one game or draw each of their two games. Belgium also plays Andorra so yeah, they’re likely clinching on Saturday. But if for some reason, they cannot clinch, Belgium will play Israel on Tuesday (on FS2).
This likely leaves Israel to go up against Bosnia and Herzegovina for the third place position with Cyprus as a dark horse. Cyprus plays both Israel (on FSP) and Bosnia and Herzegovina so if Cyprus somehow wins both games, they are very likely to sneak past the two teams. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Israel face a top two team as well as Cyprus making for a very similar schedule. Israel is likely the favorite to advance because Bosnia and Herzegovina will face the unbeaten Wales.
Group C has already decided the teams who are advancing and those who are eliminated. This is a pretty straightforward group.
1) Spain 21 points (Clinches at least third place)
2) Slovakia 19 (Clinches at least third place)
3) Ukraine 16 (Clinches at least third place)
4) Belarus 7 (Eliminated for Euro 2016)
5) Luxembourg 4 (Eliminated for Euro 2016)
6) FYR Macedonia 3 (Eliminated for Euro 2016)
Group C will play on Friday and Monday. Spain can clinch with a draw or better against Luxembourg on Friday (on ESPN2). If they somehow lose, they can clinch against Ukraine on Monday (on ESPN2). Slovakia needs to win and draw in their final two games if Ukraine wins out in order to clinch. By playing Belarus on Friday and Luxembourg on Monday (on FSP), Slovakia should have nothing to worry about.
This leaves Ukraine who will have a difficult road to qualify. They will play Macedonia and then play Spain. And considering they must win both games, that may be too much to automatically qualify. The good thing for Ukraine is that they currently lead all the third place teams in Qualification and the top third place team will qualify. Ukraine has a great chance to get that spot.
Well, Group D will come down to the top four teams. Georgia and Gibraltar have long been eliminated and Scotland is all but out but still has an outside chance.
1) Germany 19 (Clinches at least third place)
2) Poland 17 (Clinches third place if Scotland doesn’t make up 18 goals)
3) Ireland 15
4) Scotland 11
5) Georgia 6 (Eliminated for Euro 2016)
6) Gibraltar 0 (Eliminated for Euro 2016)
Group D will play on Thursday and Saturday. A Germany draw or win against Ireland on Thursday (on ESPN) will clinch Germany a spot in the Euros. They’ll play Georgia on Saturday (on FS1) just in case they can’t get a point against Ireland but I’m pretty sure Germany will get a point from one of these games.
Poland enters this week with a lot of uncertainty. On Thursday, Poland must play Scotland (on FS2), and then play Ireland on Saturday (on ESPN) so they cannot let off the accelerator and let these teams get back into things. If Scotland beats Poland, they’ll likely beat Gibraltar and then all of a sudden Scotland has caught up with Poland, even though Scotland needs to make up 18 goals. Who knows, playing against Gibraltar, if they can get a ten goal win against Gibraltar and Poland gets rocked with four goal losses in both games, who knows.
Well that is that for Groups A to D. We will provide what you should look for in Groups E to I on Thursday morning, before Euro games are played.