European Championship qualifications are gradually approaching their apotheosis. So: an overview of the surprises so far. From the stunting of football to the major countries that must be careful.
It’s not Spain, it’s Scotland in the lead
After five days of matches (or six in some groups), three countries still have the maximum points. France, Portugal and…Scotland. Yes, you read that correctly. The Scottish team occupies the top spot in Group A with 15 teams out of 15. It is a strong match in light of the competition between football giants Spain and talented Norway.
Scotland beat Spain, who had 75% (!) of possession, 2-0 last March thanks to two goals from Scott McTominay. “La Roja” he couldn’t laugh. “The way Scotland are playing is, to me, just nonsense. They are wasting time and causing trouble,” said midfielder Rodri, comments that coach Steve Clarke will use as fuel for the second match on Thursday evening in Seville. Whatever happens, the European Championship qualifiers cannot be completed. It gets worse for Scotland.
Spain competes with Norway for second place. The Norwegians are currently only third in the group and appear to be declining. It is disappointing for a country that boasts top players like Erling Haaland, Martin Odegaard and Antonio Nosa.
1. Scotland • 15 points
2. Spain • 9 points (one match less)
3. Norway • 7 points
4. Georgia • 4 points
5. Cyprus • 0 points
Netherlands without surplus
To be clear: the chance of the Netherlands reaching the European Championship is still high. Although there will be two crucial matches during the international break. The Dutch national team will meet France at home on Friday. A confrontation they looked forward to with little heart, as they lost the first leg with a heavy score of 4-0. The Netherlands currently has no surplus. They are on the same level as Greece (both 9 points), but one game less. In short: not losing to France would be a bonus. Better to beat Greece on Monday to avoid problems (and huge pressure).
1. France • 15 points
2. Netherlands • 9 points (1 match less)
3. Greece • 9 points
4. Ireland • 3 points
5. Gibraltar • 0 points
Will the European champion reach the European Championship?
No one wants to be where Italy is now. After missing out on the World Cup finals in Qatar, the European champions owe it to their position to secure a place in the European Championship. But it’s not smooth sailing. So much so that Roberto Mancini resigned last summer, and was succeeded by Luciano Spalletti. The team has only seven points after four matches. Thus, it ranks second in its group, while Ukraine and North Macedonia are at the same level. Leaders England are gone, but in Group C, it is shaping up to be an exciting battle for a second European Championship ticket.
1. England • 13 points
2. Italy • 7 points (one match less)
3. Ukraine • 7 points
4. North Macedonia • 7 points
5. Malta • 0 points
Albania makes Lewandowski tremble
Perhaps the biggest surprise in the European Championship qualifiers so far. Albania leads Group E, two points ahead of the Czech Republic and Moldova. Poland, the candidate in principle to win the group, is ranked fourth. painful. Albania beat Lewandowski and company in September.
The summit match against the Czech Republic will be held on Friday. Matches against Moldova and the Faroe Islands are scheduled for November, and the Albanians appear to be on their way to the European Championship. It will be their second major tournament ever, after Euro 2016. Will Sylvinho (former Barcelona and Manchester City player) achieve his first major success as a coach?
1. Albania • 10 points
2. Czech Republic • 8 points (1 match less)
3. Moldova • 8 points
4. Poland • 6 points
5. Faroe Islands • 1 point
Can Luxembourg do the trick?
A neighboring country surprises friend and foe. Luxembourg is competing for second place in Group 10. Despite its heavy loss to Portugal’s sovereign Roberto Martinez (0-6, 9-0), it presented an exceptional performance. They won against Iceland, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Liechtenstein, then tied with Slovakia. As matches against those four nations continue, Luxembourg can dream. Will Al-Ittihad goalkeeper Anthony Morris and his teammates qualify for a major tournament for the first time? Answer next month.
1. Portugal • 18 points
2. Slovakia • 13 points
3. Luxembourg • 10 points
4. Bosnia and Herzegovina • 6 points
5. Iceland • 6 points
6. Liechtenstein • 0 points
This is how countries can qualify for the European Championship:
The last European Championship qualifiers are scheduled to take place during the international break next month. All winners and runners-up from the ten groups qualify for Euro 2024. Along with host country Germany, they make up 21 of the 24 teams in the final tournament. The other three qualify through the qualifiers. It is a mini-tournament held in March with the participation of twelve countries, selected based on their Nations League results. They end up in a three-track knockout system. There are one semi-final and one final for each track. The winner of each final qualifies for the European Championship.
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