Euro 2012 qual. - Ten places up for grabs

Thu, 06 Oct 17:49:00 2011

A full 14 months after the Euro 2012 qualifying process began in the Estonian capital of Tallinn, two rounds of games in five days will finally determine which countries will be in contention for the honour of being European champions in Poland and Ukraine next summer.

Samir Nasri - 0

The hosts will of course be in attendance, along with Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Germany, who have all secured their participation in the finals, leaving ten places still to be filled.

The nine group winners will all qualify, along with the best of the second-placed finishers when results against the teams in first, third, fourth and fifth are taken into account.

The remaining eight runners-up will be entered into the play-offs and will be a two-legged tie away from reaching the finals.


Germany have already qualified with a deeply impressive 100 per cent record after eight games, and the battle for second place has been narrowed down to Turkey and Belgium. Guus Hiddink's Turkey are two points ahead of Belgium at present and although they host Germany on Friday as Kazakhstan visit Belgium, it is the Belgians who have the daunting task of travelling to Dusseldorf on the final matchday.

Done and dusted on Friday? If Belgium lose at home to Kazakhstan then a point will take Turkey through due to a superior head-to-head record. If Belgium draw then Turkey need to beat Germany.


Russia (17 points), Ireland (15), Armenia (14) and Slovakia (14) are all still in contention in a group that remains open. Ireland will expect to win in Andorra on Friday and their home tie with Armenia on Tuesday looks set to be more decisive. Friday's match between Slovakia and Russia will be vital to the outcome of the group and if Russia win, they are virtually guaranteed of top spot as their final match comes at home to minnows Andorra.

Done and dusted on Friday? A win for Russia against Slovakia will guarantee they finish at least second, while a victory coupled with a draw for Ireland, will put Dick Advocaat's team into the finals as group winners.


Cesare Prandelli's Italy are through in first place but Serbia (14 points), Estonia (13), Slovenia (11) and Northern Ireland (nine) could all finish second. Serbia have a game in hand over Estonia and Slovenia, although they host the Azzurri in Belgrade on Friday evening. Northern Ireland must beat Estonia and then win in Italy to have any chance of qualifying.

Done and dusted on Friday? If Serbia beat Italy they will have a play-off place. If they draw and Estonia beat Northern Ireland then the battle for second will go to the final day.


Given that leaders France and second-placed Bosnia-Herzegovina face easy tests against Albania and Luxembourg respectively on Friday, Group D is likely to come down to a straight head-to-head battle between the two in Paris on Tuesday. Injury-ravaged France currently enjoy a one-point lead, so they will only need a draw on home turf if both clubs do win their initial games as expected. Romania must see Bosnia lose to Luxembourg to have any chance of claiming second place.

Done and dusted on Friday? Unlikely, but if Bosnia lose to Luxembourg then a win for France against Albania will see Laurent Blanc's side safely through in first. If Romania also lose at home to Belarus then second place will be decided as well.


Though Netherlands are assured of a place in the finals as at least the best runners-up across the groups, technically they have not yet won the group. A point at home to Moldova on Friday will be sufficient, but if they lose and Sweden beat Finland then the Swedes could yet take top spot with a result better than a 4-1 win against the Oranje on the final day. Realistically, though, this group's intrigue comes in the battle for second, with Sweden and Hungary level on 18 points, though Sweden have a game in hand and an advantage on head-to-head record.

Done and dusted on Friday? If Sweden win against Finland in Helsinki they will be guaranteed a play-off place.


Croatia and Greece are guaranteed to finish in the top two places and, with two games remaining, Slaven Bilic's men enjoy a slender one-point advantage over the 2004 champions. On Friday the two sides face off in Greece in the most important fixture of the group. The final day sees Croatia host Latvia and Greece visit Georgia.

Done and dusted on Friday? If Croatia come to Athens and win on Friday then they will be group winners and Greece will be forced to settle for second. However, Greece are unbeaten in 14 matches under coach Fernando Santos.


Unbeaten England are on the brink and lead the group by six points from Montenegro, who they play in their final game on Friday evening. Switzerland are a further three points behind Montenegro but remain in contention for second place. Both sides have played a game less than England.

Done and dusted on Friday? England will be group winners if they can draw in Podgorica. However, if Montenegro win then it goes to the final day and England will have to settle for a play-off spot if Montenegro beat Switzerland on Tuesday.


Portugal, Denmark and Norway are all level on 13 points but Norway only have one game remaining. Portugal and Denmark will be expected to win against Cyprus and Iceland respectively on Friday, meaning their meeting in Copenhagen on Tuesday will in all likelihood decide the group winners. However, Norway could have a say in matters if they get a result at home to Cyprus on the final day.

Done and dusted on Friday? If Denmark do beat Cyprus they will be guaranteed of a play-off place at least. Even if Portugal defeat Iceland, they could still in theory be caught by Norway though it would require a big swing in goal difference on the final day.


Spain have been imperious in qualifying with a 100 per cent record and finish off with games against Czech Republic and Scotland, both of whom are in contention for second place and a play-off spot. However, the Czechs are two points ahead of Craig Levein's side. If Czech Republic lose at home to Spain on Friday and Scotland defeat Liechtenstein away on Saturday - a likely scenario - then the Scots would have to equal or better Czech Republic's result away at Lithuania when they travel to Spain on the final matchday if they are to take second.

Done and dusted on Saturday? Potentially. If Czech Republic get a draw or a win against Spain, and Scotland lose to Liechtenstein, then the group will be settled.


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