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'Week of Football' broadens the canvas

Published: Tuesday 10 June 2014, 20.01CET
On 7 September the first 'Week of Football' of the UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying round begins – lifts the lid on a new concept for the international game.
'Week of Football' broadens the canvas
The 'Week of Football' means fans can watch more qualifiers than ever before ©Getty Images
Published: Tuesday 10 June 2014, 20.01CET

'Week of Football' broadens the canvas

On 7 September the first 'Week of Football' of the UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying round begins – lifts the lid on a new concept for the international game.

In a little under three months, 53 nations will begin their attempts to join hosts France in the first 24-team UEFA European Championship – which starts two years today.

How does qualifying work?
The qualifying round for UEFA EURO 2016 comprises eight groups of six teams and one section of five, with matches played on a home-and-away basis.

For the first time, qualifying takes place under the new 'Week of Football' concept, in which games are spread out from Thursday to Tuesday, shining the spotlight on more teams on the road to France.

Moreover, thanks to the Week of Football idea, at least 33% of games will be played on weekends, giving fans a better chance to follow the action on television, in the stadiums and on In UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying, only 26 matches out of 245 were held on Saturdays or Sundays.

Kick-off times will be set mainly at 18.00CET and 20.45CET on Saturdays and Sundays and at 20.45CET for Thursdays, Fridays, Mondays and Tuesdays.

In double-header matchweeks, teams will play on Thursday/Sunday, Friday/Monday or Saturday/Tuesday. Each day of the Week of Football will have eight to ten matches.

The nine group winners, the nine runners-up and the best third-placed side will qualify directly for the final tournament. The eight remaining third-placed teams will contest play-offs to determine the last four qualifiers for the finals.

Matchday 1 (7-9 September)
All 53 contenders will have their first fixtures over three days in early September, with Denmark, Georgia and Hungary having the honour of getting the inaugural Week of Football under way on 7 September when they host Armenia, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland respectively from 18.00CET.

Among the sides in action on the opening day are Gibraltar, who – buoyed by their first victory as a UEFA nation, a 1-0 defeat of Malta – welcome Poland to their temporary home in Faro, Portugal, for their maiden competitive assignment. At the same time, 20.45CET, Greece tackle Romania in a repeat of the teams' 2014 FIFA World Cup play-off.

Other appetising fixtures in the first round of matches include Roy Hodgson taking England to Switzerland, where he is fondly remembered for his time in charge of the national team in the 1990s, and the Czech Republic versus the Netherlands.

Click here to see all the qualifying fixtures

Last updated: 11/06/14 17.03CET

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