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EURO 2020 qualifying rules: how it works

Twenty sides earn finals places via qualifying groups, with four coming through a new play-off system.

The official European Qualifiers ball
The official European Qualifiers ball ©Igor Panevski

Qualifying for UEFA EURO 2020 remains largely the same (with 24 finalists in all), although the European Qualifiers started later than normal – the March after a major tournament instead of immediately in September (i.e. March 2019 rather than September 2018 in this case). No team gained automatic qualification as hosts (there are 12 host nations in all).

Qualifying group stage (20 teams qualify)

The 55 teams were split into ten groups of five or six. Four of the five groups of five contain one team that has qualified for the UEFA Nations League Finals. The top two from each group will qualify for the final tournament, determining the first 20 places.

Play-offs (four teams qualify) 
The last four EURO places will be won through the European Qualifiers play-offs, which will be contested by the 16 UEFA Nations League group winners (i.e. the four group winners in each of the four divisions).


  • Each league has a path of its own and will feature two single-leg semi-finals and one single-leg final. The winner of each path will win a ticket to UEFA EURO 2020.

  • If a UEFA Nations League group winner has already qualified via the European Qualifiers, then their spot goes to the next best-ranked team in their league. If a league does not have four teams to compete, the remaining slots are allocated to teams from another league, according to the overall UEFA Nations League rankings.

Play-off fixtures

Path A
Semi-final 1 (1 v 4): Iceland v Romania
Semi-final 2 (2 v 3): Bulgaria v Hungary

The winners of semi-final 2 (Bulgaria or Hungary) will play the final at home.

Path B
Semi-final 1 (1 v 4): Bosnia and Herzegovina v Northern Ireland
Semi-final 2 (2 v 3): Slovakia v Republic of Ireland

The winners of semi-final 1 (Bosnia and Herzegovina or Northern Ireland) will play the final at home.

Path C
Semi-final 1 (1 v 4): Scotland v Israel
Semi-final 2 (2 v 3): Norway v Serbia

The winners of semi-final 2 (Norway or Serbia) will play the final at home.

Path D
Semi-final 1 (1 v 4): Georgia v Belarus
Semi-final 2 (2 v 3): North Macedonia v Kosovo

The winners of semi-final 1 (Georgia or Belarus) will play the final at home.

UEFA EURO 2020 final tournament

Format: Like UEFA EURO 2016, the 24 teams will be drawn into six groups of four. The top two in each group and four best third-placed teams advance to the knockout phase.

Final and semi-finals
London, England: Wembley Stadium

Three group games, one quarter-final
Baku, Azerbaijan: Olympic Stadium
Munich, Germany: Fußball Arena München
Rome, Italy: Olimpico in Rome
Saint Petersburg, Russia: Saint Petersburg Stadium

Three group games, one round of 16 game
Amsterdam, Netherlands: Johan Cruijff ArenA
Bilbao, Spain: Estadio de San Mamés
Bucharest, Romania: National Arena
Budapest, Hungary: Ferenc Puskás Stadium
Copenhagen, Denmark: Parken Stadium
Dublin, Republic of Ireland: Dublin Arena
Glasgow, Scotland: Hampden Park
London, England: Wembley Stadium

The host cities were paired by means of a random draw – from six different lists of city pairings established on the basis of sporting strength and geographical consideration.

Watch every goal scored at UEFA EURO 2016

Host nations that qualify are automatically placed in the following groups. If both paired nations qualify, a draw will be held to determine which is at home in their direct encounter.

Group A: Italy (Olimpico in Rome, Rome)*
Group B: Russia (Saint Petersburg Stadium), Denmark (Parken Stadium, Copenhagen)*
Group C: Netherlands (Johan Cruijff ArenA, Amsterdam)*, Romania (National Arena, Bucharest)
Group D: England (Wembley Stadium, London)*, Scotland (Hampden Park, Glasgow)
Group E: Spain (Estadio de San Mamés, Bilbao)*, Republic of Ireland (Dublin Arena)
Group F: Germany (Fußball Arena München, Munich)*, Hungary (Ferenc Puskás Stadium, Budapest)

*Will play all three group stage games at home.

European Qualifiers & UEFA EURO 2020 timetable

21–26 March, 78 & 1011 June, 5–10 September, 10–15 October & 14–19 November 2019: European Qualifiers group stage (ten matchdays)

22 November 2019: European Qualifiers play-off draw

30 November 2019: UEFA EURO 2020 final tournament draw, Bucharest