UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying: all you need to know

Twenty finalists earn their places via the groups, with another four coming through a new play-off system.

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How does qualifying work?

With 12 countries staging finals matches in 2020, there is no automatic qualification for hosts, meaning that all 55 UEFA nations will compete for the 24 finals berths on offer. Twenty places will be decided by the qualifying group stage, with the top two in each section advancing. So far, so simple. The remaining four spots go to the winners of a new play-off system linked to the UEFA Nations League. More on that below.

The qualifying group stage is simple enough, right?

The road to UEFA EURO 2020 explained
The road to UEFA EURO 2020 explained

Indeed. The qualifying draw took place in Dublin on 2 December 2018. The 55 teams were split into ten groups of either five or six, with four of the five groups of five containing one team that had qualified for the UEFA Nations League Finals. The top two from each group qualify for the EURO final tournament.

Who has qualified from the groups?

Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Wales

What about the play-offs?

How the play-offs for UEFA EURO 2020 work
How the play-offs for UEFA EURO 2020 work

Are you sitting comfortably? Actually, it is pretty simple. Each separate League (i.e. A, B, C and D) in the UEFA Nations League has been allocated one UEFA EURO 2020 place. Four sides from each League will contest single-leg semi-finals and a one-off final (entirely specific to the EURO) in March 2020. The winner of each of these four one-off finals gets a ticket to UEFA EURO 2020.

The final pot allocation will be published on UEFA.com on Thursday 21 November once confirmed by the UEFA Emergency Panel.

Which teams contest the play-offs?

In theory, the four winners of the quartet of groups that form each of the four Leagues. However, as sone UEFA Nations League group winners qualified via the European Qualifiers, their spots went to the next best-ranked teams in their League. Note that at the conclusion of the UEFA Nations League, teams were ranked 1 to 55 according to their position in a group, points gained, goal difference, goals scored, etc.

If a League did not have four teams to compete (eg, 11 of the 12 League A teams qualified automatically), the remaining slots were allocated to sides from another League in accordance with the overall UEFA Nations League rankings.

Play-off line-up

Path A: Iceland, Bulgaria/Israel/Hungary/Romania*
Path B: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovakia, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland
Path C: Scotland, Norway, Serbia, Bulgaria/Israel/Hungary/Romania*
Path D: Georgia, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Belarus

*A draw will decide which of Bulgaria, Israel, Hungary or Romania fill the empty slot in Path C, and which three go into Path A.

How does UEFA EURO 2020 work?

The format will be the same as for UEFA EURO 2016, with 24 teams in six groups of four, and the top two in each group progressing to the knockout phase together with the four best third-placed sides. Unlike 2016 (and any other major finals in history), matches will be played across 12 different countries.

Dates for your diary

Memories of UEFA EURO 2016
Memories of UEFA EURO 2016

21–23/03/2019: Matchday one
: Matchday two
: Matchday three
: Matchday four
: Matchday five
: Matchday six
: Matchday seven
: Matchday eight
: Matchday nine
: Matchday ten
: European Qualifiers play-off draw
: UEFA EURO 2020 final tournament draw, Bucharest
: European Qualifiers play-offs
: Additional final tournament draw if required
: UEFA EURO 2020 final tournament