Hello. We still haven’t had the 2020 European Championship but that isn’t stopping Uefa from cracking on with its plans for the qualifiers because, lord knows, they just can’t wedge enough football into this most brutal of seasons. Three rounds of qualifying group games will take place in March, before the Euros kick off (pandemic-allowing) in the summer. If you’re wondering how today’s tombola will work we have put together a handy guide here.
The key information is as follows:
There are six pots: 10 nations in each of pots 1-5 and five in pot 6. They will be drawn into 10 groups: five groups of five (A-E) and five of six (F to J). Teams will play each other home and away between March and November next year. The 10 group winners qualify for Qatar, 10 runners-up go into the play-offs along with the two best-placed unqualified sides from the Nations League (yes, that again!).
Pot 1 Belgium, France, England, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands
Pot 2 Switzerland, Wales, Poland, Sweden, Austria, Ukraine, Serbia, Turkey, Slovakia, Romania
Pot 3 Russia, Hungary, Republic of Ireland, Czech Republic, Norway, Northern Ireland, Iceland, Scotland, Greece, Finland
Pot 4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, Israel, Belarus, Georgia, Luxembourg
Pot 5 Armenia, Cyprus, Faroe Islands, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Kosovo, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Latvia, Andorra
Pot 6 Malta, Moldova, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar, San Marino
The pandemic means this won’t be an all-singing, all-dancing ceremony with national representatives and an audience. We will, however, have Rafael van De Vaart and Daniele De Rossi to add a bit of ball-plucking star-dust. Van De Vaart’s a darts player these days.