Euro 2024 qualifying: Analysing each group
Euro 2024 qualifying: Analysing each group

Euro 2024 qualifying: Analysing each group

The Euro 2024 qualifying process will kick off in March, with 23 teams vying to join hosts Germany in the finals.

We have analysed this year’s qualifying format to work out who is likely to make the cut.

How does the qualification process work?

Teams have been divided into 10 groups, with group winners and runners-up automatically qualifying for the finals.

The 12 teams who did not qualify as winners or runners-up and performed best in the recent UEFA Nations League will contest the play-offs.

These teams will be divided into three ‘paths’ of four, which consist of semi-finals and a final, with the winners also qualifying for Euro 2024.

Does qualifying matter?

Since the tournament was expanded to 16 teams in 1996, all seven European champions were qualifying group winners.

Excluding hosts, 11 of the 12 finalists in this period had won their qualifying group.

More than half of group winners have gone on to reach at least the quarter-final stage, compared to less than a third of those who finish lower in their qualifying group.

Who has the easiest (and toughest) draw?

We have calculated the average UEFA coefficient of each team’s opponents, split by the pot they were drawn from.

Denmark were the surprise package of Euro 2020, reaching the semi-finals, and have been given the easiest Euro 2024 qualifying draw of any Pot 1 team this time around.

Defending champions Italy have struggled since their triumph, failing to qualify for the 2022 World Cup, and now have to contend with England in a tough group to reach Euro 2024.

Scotland and Wales, having qualified for recent major tournaments to end their respective long droughts, will have their work cut out to repeat that showing despite being drawn from Pot 2.

The Republic of Ireland have the toughest slate of any team in Pot 3 as the play-off regulars chase a first qualification in the last four major tournaments.

Who has the edge over their group opponents?

Norway haven’t reached a major tournament since 2000, but their encouraging record against the other teams in Group A – plus the emergence of stars like Erling Haaland and Martin Ødegaard – suggests that this could be their year.

Greece boast the strongest head-to-head in Group B, having beaten France on the way to their 2004 triumph and the Netherlands in September 2016

Past results bear out the seedings in Group C, with Italy and England well clear of their group rivals in meetings over the last two decades.

Wales have reached the knockout stage at each of the last 2 tournaments but have not fared well against the combination of teams in Group D.

Given their respective records, it would be a surprise not to see Poland and the Czech Republic battling it out at the top of Group E.

Similarly, Group F appears to be a formality for Belgium, who have won their last five major qualifying groups, and 40 matches out of 48 along the way.

Hungary were seeded ahead of Serbia after strong showings in Euro 2020 and the Nations League, but have a much poorer record against the teams in Group G.

Northern Ireland are in poor form but will take heart from Michael O’Neill’s return as manager and an unbeaten record against their Group H opponents since losing to Slovenia in 2008.

In Group I, favourites Switzerland have not won in six meetings with Romania and Israel combine combined, registering five draws and a loss.

Finally, Portugal are unbeaten against members of Group J since a solitary defeat in 1961, when a team featuring Eusebio lost 4-2 to Luxembourg.

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