UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying: all you need to know

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

Spain take on the Faroe Islands and Sweden this month
©Getty Images

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's playing who?

Group A: England, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Kosovo

Group B: Portugal, Ukraine, Serbia, Lithuania, Luxembourg

Group C: Netherlands, Germany, Northern Ireland, Estonia, Belarus

Group D: Switzerland, Denmark, Republic of Ireland, Georgia, Gibraltar

Group E: Croatia, Wales, Slovakia, Hungary, Azerbaijan

Group F: Spain, Sweden, Norway, Romania, Faroe Islands, Malta

Group G: Poland, Austria, Israel, Slovenia, FYR Macedonia, Latvia

Group H: France, Iceland, Turkey, Albania, Moldova, Andorra

Group I: Belgium, Russia, Scotland, Cyprus, Kazakhstan, San Marino

Group J: Italy, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Finland, Greece, Armenia, Liechtenstein

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.

Which teams contest the play-offs?

In theory, the four winners of the quartet of groups that form each of the four Leagues. However, if a UEFA Nations League group winner has already qualified via the European Qualifiers, their spot goes to the next best-ranked team 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 does not have four teams to compete (say, for example, ten of the 12 League A teams qualify automatically), the remaining slots are allocated to sides from another League in accordance with the overall UEFA Nations League rankings.

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