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European Qualifiers: What to look out for in October

France, Spain and Italy face significant challenges when the European Qualifiers resume, while a place at UEFA EURO 2024 is at stake as Austria welcome Belgium.

Spain's Joselu, the Netherlands' Wout Weghorst and Belgium's Romelu Lukaku
Spain's Joselu, the Netherlands' Wout Weghorst and Belgium's Romelu Lukaku Getty Images

France caught the Netherlands cold on Matchday 1, and Spain and Italy are also in search of the right responses on Matchdays 7 and 8 of the European Qualifiers for UEFA EURO 2024.

UEFA.com identifies the main talking points in the next two rounds of fixtures.

Permutations: Who is through? Who is out? Who can qualify?

Dutch fired up for France rematch

Highlights: France 4-0 Netherlands

A virus-hit Oranje conceded twice in the first ten minutes and went on to lose 4-0 to Les Bleus in their opening Group B game, but have made up some ground since, building on 3-0 wins against Gibraltar and Greece with a 2-1 success in the Republic of Ireland in September. "It's a really important win," concluded forward Wout Weghorst.

Victory at home against France would represent a significant success as Ronald Koeman's side aim for the finals, but if their opponents have a 100% record in the group so far (five wins from five, no goals conceded) a friendly loss to an out-of-sorts Germany in their last game has shaken Didier Deschamps' side. "We're not used to losing," said the coach, though he added: "You don't know whether we would have won if Kylian Mbappé and Olivier Giroud had been playing."

Austria welcome Belgium for a finals showdown

Highlights: Belgium 1-1 Austria

There is little to choose between the top two in Group F; both come into this encounter in Vienna with 13 points, a 1-1 draw in Brussels the only game of the campaign in which either have dropped points. Austria ended September with a flourish thanks to a 3-1 success in Sweden. "Now we can breathe a bit," said coach Ralf Rangnick. "We have got a really good situation in the group."

They may not breathe easily, though, as they mull over the prospect of taking on the European Qualifiers' eight-goal top scorer Romelu Lukaku (who scored a beauty in their last encounter). A win for either side would mean qualification, but with an encounter with Sweden to follow their trip to Vienna, Domenico Tedesco knows the Red Devils still have work to do: "Nothing is certain yet. We have to go our own way. We have a tough camp in October."

Spain and Italy seek return victories

Highlights: Scotland 2-0 Spain

"I'm happy because there's reason to be," said Spain coach Luis de la Fuente after September's 6-0 Group A win against Cyprus. "I'm an optimist; we have marvellous players at our disposal." On Matchday 7, he will be hoping those good vibes can help his side to avenge their shock 2-0 loss in Scotland earlier in the campaign, and ideally follow that up with a defeat of Erling Haaland and Martin Ødegaard's Norway.

"Smile Italy," was the Gazzetta dello Sport headline after a 2-1 win against Ukraine in their first home game under new coach Luciano Spalletti, but the smiles may not entirely reach their eyes unless they can make amends for a Matchday 1 home loss to England on Matchday 8. Gareth Southgate's side are six points clear in Group C coming into October, but that lead would be reduced to nothing if Italy can get six points from their next two games.

All the qualifying fixtures

European Qualifiers in October

All kick-offs 20:45 CET unless stated


Thursday 12 October 2023

Group A: Cyprus vs Norway, Spain vs Scotland
Group D: Croatia vs Türkiye, Latvia vs Armenia (18:00)
Group E
: Albania vs Czechia, Faroe Islands vs Poland
Group I*: Andorra vs Kosovo, Belarus vs Romania

*Israel's home meeting with Switzerland has been postponed

Friday 13 October 2023

Group B: Netherlands vs France, Republic of Ireland vs Greece
Group F: Austria vs Belgium, Estonia vs Azerbaijan (18:00)
Group J
: Iceland vs Luxembourg, Liechtenstein vs Bosnia and Herzegovina, Portugal vs Slovakia

Saturday 14 October 2023

Group C: Ukraine vs North Macedonia (15:00), Italy vs Malta
Group G: Bulgaria vs Lithuania (18:00), Hungary vs Serbia
Group H: Northern Ireland vs San Marino (15:00), Slovenia vs Finland (18:00), Denmark vs Kazakhstan


Sunday 15 October 2023

Group A: Georgia vs Cyprus (15:00), Norway vs Spain
Group D: Türkiye vs Latvia, Wales vs Croatia
Group E
: Czechia vs Faroe Islands (18:00), Poland vs Moldova
Group I: Switzerland vs Belarus (18:00), Kosovo vs Israel, Romania vs Andorra

Monday 16 October 2023

Group B: Gibraltar vs Republic of Ireland, Greece vs Netherlands
Group F: Azerbaijan vs Austria (18:00), Belgium vs Sweden
Group J: Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Portugal, Iceland vs Liechtenstein, Luxembourg vs Slovakia

Tuesday 17 October 2023

Group C: England vs Italy, Malta vs Ukraine
Group G: Lithuania vs Hungary, Serbia vs Montenegro
Group H: Finland vs Kazakhstan (18:00), Northern Ireland vs Slovenia, San Marino vs Denmark

EURO 2024: The host cities