This week sees the final set of games taking place in the qualification campaign for the Euro 2020 qualifiers. A total of 20 teams will confirm their place in next summer’s finals tournament in Europe, with the likes of Belgium, Russia and Italy already amongst those that have confirmed their place in the tournament next summer.
By the end of Tuesday night, we will know 20 of the 24 teams that will be battling it out across Europe next summer in this special celebratory event to commemorate the 60th year anniversary of the first European Championships. The remaining four teams will be decided by the Nations League Playoffs, which are scheduled to take place across two dates in late March 2020.
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With ten groups to complete, some of which see three or four teams in with a chance of taking one of the two qualification spots available, this does mean that there are a number of key games taking place across both Matchdays 9 and 10 this coming week.
Here’s our run down of the key games on both of these matchdays.
Matchdays 9 & 10
- Thu – England v Azerbaijan
- Thu – Czech Republic v Kosovo
- Sun – Kosovo v England
- Sun – Bulgaria v Czech Republic
A win for England against either Azerbaijan or Kosovo confirms Gareth Southgate’s team as through as they need just one point from those games to qualify. The key game is the Czech Republic v Kosovo on Thursday. If the Czech’s win it, they and England progress. A Kosovo win however would mean that if Kosovo can beat England on Sunday, they would progress, most likely at the Czech’s expense.
Tips – Back England to get the job done against Azerbaijan and the Czech’s to do enough against a spirited Kosovo to ensure the final two group games won’t matter in terms of qualification.
- Thu – Portugal v Lithuania
- Thu – Luxembourg v Serbia
- Sun – Luxembourg v Portugal
- Sun – Serbia v Ukraine
With Ukraine already confirmed as qualified, it is a straight race between Portugal and Serbia for second place in the group, If Portugal win both their games this week then they will qualify and in truth, it seems likely that will be the case.
Tips – Portugal to win both their games this week to qualify behind Ukraine.
- Sat – Northern Ireland v Netherlands
- Tue – Germany v Northern Ireland
Group C has seen Northern Ireland put up a fight in the group, but it seems that their efforts will be in vain as Germany and the Netherlands will clinch qualification with a win or draw in either of these games. Northern Ireland need four points from these two games to stand a realistic chance but I can’t quite see that happening.
Tips – back Germany and the Netherlands to claim wins which will ensure that both progress into the finals next summer.
- Mon – Republic of Ireland v Denmark
Although there are a number of other games in this group, the final game between the Republic of Ireland and Denmark looks likely to be a straight decider to see who qualifies for the finals, with Switzerland likely to win both their final two games to clinch the other spot. The Danes have been a nemesis for Ireland in recent times and this could well happen again on Monday.
Tips – I can see this one ending in a draw which will likely be enough for Denmark to clinch the second qualifying spot in the group.
- Sat – Azerbaijan v Wales
- Sat – Croatia v Slovakia
- Tue – Wales v Hungary
- Tue – Slovakia v Azerbaijan
A win for Croatia against Slovakia would confirm them as the winners of the group and that would leave Slovakia, Hungary and Wales battling for the second qualifying spot. If Wales can win. Both their games, they could steal a march in front of both Slovakia and Hungary, but it could well be very close in this group.
Tips – Croatia will win the group, but if Wales can win in Azerbaijan then I think they should have enough at home to Hungary to earn another win and perhaps clinch that qualification spot.
- Fri – Romania v Sweden
- Fri – Spain v Malta
- Mon – Spain v Romania
- Mon – Sweden v Faroe Islands
I think it is going to be hard for Norway to force their way into contention in this group. Spain just need a single point to confirm themselves as qualified and they’ll get that and more at home to Malta. It is between Sweden and Romania for the second qualification spot but the Romanian’s have such a tough finish to the group that I feel Sweden will just about nab it.
Tips – Spain will qualify but back Sweden to join them
- Sat – Austria v North Macedonia
With Poland already qualified from Group G, a win for Austria over North Macedonia in Vienna on Saturday will be enough for them to join the Poles in the next round, and in truth, I can see this group being over come Saturday evening.
Tip – Austria to make light work of North Macedonia to join Poland in qualifying for the finals.
- Thu – Turkey v Iceland
Turkey and France hold a four point lead over Iceland with two games left in the group, France face Moldova at home and they will surely win that to confirm their place in the next round, but in truth, they may have alreadt qualified before that game kicks off as Iceland need to beat Turkey on Turkish soil to take this to the last game and I can’t see that happening.
Tip – Back Turkey to beat Iceland and ensure they and France progress to Euro 2020.
- Sat – Russia v Belgium
There’s nothing to be settled in this group in terms of qualification as Belgium and Russia are both through, but a point or better for Belgium here would confirm them as winners of the group.
Tip – This will be tricky for Russia, so back Belgium to claim the win here.
- Fri – Finland v Liechtenstein
With Italy already confirmed as group winners and qualified for the finals, Finland are five points clear in second spot in the group and a home game against Liechtenstein is all that stands between them and a place in the finals and I think they will land that with a win here.
Tip – Back Finland to win to claim the second qualification spot in the group.