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Monday, September 29, 2008

EURO qualifying set to become a joke

The most likely qualification setup for EURO 2016 (and beyond) is a 9-group system. I'm going to look only at the one host scenario (France), but it makes little difference when you move to two hosts.

9 groups (2 x 5, 7 x 6)

Top two from each group and the best team in third place advance. The other eight play-off for the final four spots.

Using the current UEFA coefficient these would be the pots for the preliminary draw:

Pot 1: Spain, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Croatia, England, Portugal, Greece, Turkey
Pot 2: Sweden, Russia, Czech Republic, Romania, Poland, Israel, Ukraine, Scotland, Denmark
Pot 3: Switzerland, Serbia, Bulgaria, Norway, Ireland, Slovakia, Finland, Austria, Lithuania
Pot 4: Belgium, Northern Ireland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Wales, Latvia, Macedonia, Slovenia, Belarus, Albania
Pot 5: Hungary, Cyprus, Georgia, Moldova, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Iceland, Liechtenstein
Pot 6: Azerbaijan, Montenegro, Malta, Luxembourg, Andorra, Faroe Islands, San Marino

Possible draw:

Group 1: Croatia, Russia, Norway, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, Azerbaijan
Group 2: Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Northern Ireland, Kazakhstan, Faroe Islands
Group 3: England, Czech Republic, Serbia, Belgium, Armenia, San Marino
Group 4: Germany, Israel, Austria, Wales, Iceland, Luxembourg
Group 5: Greece, Scotland, Lithuania, Slovenia, Cyprus, Montenegro
Group 6: Portugal, Romania, Ireland, Latvia, Hungary, Andorra
Group 7: Spain, Poland, Switzerland, Macedonia, Moldova, Malta
Group 8: Italy, Denmark, Bulgaria, Albania, Estonia
Group 9: Turkey, Ukraine, Slovakia, Belarus, Liechtenstein

Remember, top two from each group and the best team in third place advance. The other eight play-off for the final four spots.

What big gun could fail to qualify if third place means you're still in the race?

With second place enough to avoid play-offs, qualification will be achieved sooner and teams will play their last matches with their second string. How will this make the qualifying more competitive?

About me:

Christian, husband, father x 3, programmer, Romanian. Started the blog in March 2007. Quit in April 2018. You can find me on LinkedIn.


  1. I think you wrong here, because of the reasons you mentioned.
    The most likely system IMO is 10 groups, with 2 teams qualifying from each group + best 3rd placed teams (no playoffs).
    If it's one host, then 3 best 3rd placed teams will qualify.
    Maybe the champion of EURO2012 will qualify automatically.
    That way the qualification will be shorter (in average) and there would still be a slim chance that a good team won't qualify, and the teams will play their best squads.

    1. Hey what-ever the format for qualification-the more teams in the finals the better!!! Yes it will mean qualifying is to be alot easier for bigger nations but it also gives the lesser nations more of a chance. Now that theres more places up for grabs it also gives countries like (ireland,wales and scotland)-tripal affiliates- the oppurtunity to hoest!! With minor nations like little azerbajan and georgia,nations that could quite possably never be big anuff to qualify competively a chance to now compete-Then hats off! Yes i do think that its unfaire that such nations as croatia,russia,ukraine and rep.ireland miss out because of competitive groups and n.zealand get through after overcomeing wipping boys like tonga and the thomas cook honeymoon iles(lol) But thats why its called the world cup and thats what makes it so special,remember what makes the fa cup so special,arsenal playing utd in the 3rd round or the final?

  2. Hmmm... I think we'll have to see what qualifying format UEFA will use for EURO 2012. If they will use play-offs I might be right.

  3. When a side like New Zealand could qualify for the World Cup just by beating Bahrain and a few Pacific Island whipping boys, when the likes of Russia, Ukraine, Croatia all stay at home you have to ask questions about such a farce.

    Europe has developed to a level which can accomodate 24 sides I believe.

  4. Never been a fan of the "best 3rd place" system which happens with tournaments that involve a non-binary number of teams. 16 was the best. Might as well change the format to 32 teams.

  5. I'd like to feel good about my team making it to EURO 2016. At the moment, I don't like the qualifying format nor the final tournament format. Probably in time I will get used to both :)

  6. Perhaps they may make the qualification shorter:

    Here's a possible scenario:

    52 teams play for 23 spots (France qualify as hosts)

    12 groups in total

    4 groups of 5 teams (20 teams)
    8 groups of 4 teams (32 teams)

    12 group winners qualify
    11 best runners up qualify

    An idea perhaps? It means teams would only have to play 6 or 8 games in qualification, which I'm sure would also please the clubs.

  7. UEFA already said they will keep the traditional qualifying system:

    EURO 2012 qualifying format update

    It should have been 2016 in the title, obviously :)

  8. I think UEFA should make qualifying for Euro 2016 much shorter.

    There are 52 teams playing for 23 places (France qualify automatically as host).

    I think there should be 13 groups of 4. 1st in each group qualify, along with the 10 best Runners-Up.

  9. I like the idea of 13 groups of 4. It makes qualification much shorter.

    I think UEFA should introduce a play-off format instead of the 10 best 2nd placed teams qualifying with the group winners.

    1st in each group qualify, along with the 7 best runners-up. The remaining 6 runners-up are in the play-offs. Winner of each play-off qualifies.

  10. I think 2 groups of 26 would be good, with the top 11 qualifying from each group, and the 12th placed teams playing off for the last spot.

  11. Or 26 groups of 2 with the best 20 group winners qualifying automatically and the other 6 winners being paired up for the play-offs.

  12. I hope they make it as short as possible, too long qualification has no meaning !

    24 teams means a mini world cup with no disappointing teams

    Euro 2016 will be competitive as hell !!