So – the next round of Euro 2016 qualifiers commence in a few days – and we thought an update on how things stand would be good! For those who didn’t know, next years tournament in France has been expanded to 24 teams meaning the following applies:
- Winner + Runner Up qualify automatically (18 teams)
- France + Best 3rd place team qualify automatically (2 teams)
- Other 8 3rd placed teams playoff for last 4 spaces (4 teams)
In a way it is good as we will see a lot of new teams that have not qualified for a long time, if not at all. Already we are sure the likes of Slovakia and Czech Republic will qualify as both have 12 points from the first 4 games. Ireland, Wales, N Ireland and Scotland are all in with a shot too, with all of them being up there at the moment. Austria, Romania and Poland all have 10 points or more too, and Israel top their group as well.
Czech Repulic sit top with 12 points, 3 ahead of Iceland in 2nd, while Holland have 6 and sit 3rd. Turkeyy, Latvia and Kazakhstan make up the group but none have a chance of qualifying unless the other three really mess up. The top three should pick up 3 points each, with all of them facing one of the poorer teams.
Israel are the shock team, sitting top at the moment, Wales are 2nd with 8 points while Cyprus amazingly sit 3rd after beating Bosnia, who are 5th at the moment! Belgium have won 1 and drawn 2 so sit 4th at the moment, and really need to pick up to catch the others and get an auto spot. The final team are Andorra, who as you expect have 0 points.
Slovakia have 12 points with 4 wins from 4, and even beat Spain! They face Luxembourg, so should be sitting on 15 in a few days time. Spain face Ukraine, who are 2nd and 3rd respectively. Whoever wins this could well take 2nd spot, with both winning 3/4 so far. Even then, I would think whoever finishes 3rd may well have an easy tie anyway. Macedonia and Belarus make up the rest of the group – both have no chance.
Poland top Group D with 10 points, with Ireland, Germany and Scotland all on 7 points. The Poles play Ireland this weekend, which could help in deciding their fate – a win should secure their place, with the likes of Georgia and Gibraltar to play again.
England top the group with 12 wins, and 4 wins from 4. Slovenia, Switzerland and Lithuania are joint 2nd with 6 points apiece. England face Lithuania, and should win especially at home – the team they face have beaten San Marino and Estonia, but lost 4-0 to Switzerland and 1-0 to Slovenia.
This group lacks real quality. Romania top the group with 10 points, and then you have N Ireland with 9 and Hungary with 7. Finland have 4, while Greece sit bottom after losing to the Faroe Islands, unbelievably. Whichever 3 get in from this group will probably exit at the first stage next year!
Austria are top with 10 points, with Sweden 2nd with 6 and Russia/Montenegro joint 3rd with 5th. Those four are competing for the top 3 really with Liechtenstein and Moldova down the bottom.
Croatia and Italy are joint top with 10, while Norway have 9 points. Bulgaria have 4, while Malta and Azerbaijan are scrapping for the odd draw. This group is pretty much decided. Italy and Croatia are more than likely to go automatically, while Norway need another win or two to secure 3rd and a play off spot.
This is the group with just 5 teams. Denmark top it with 7, Portugal trail by a point with 6 while Albania have 4 and are 3rd. Serbia and Armenia have just 1 each, probably why Dick Advocaat left his position at Serbia. Could we see Albania next year? That would be interesting!
So – that’s how it sits at the moment. No one has qualified yet, but with each group having 2/3 easy fixtures – you know which are already in France next summer. The likes of England, Poland, Slovakia, Czech’s and Italy/Croatia are basically home and hosed.
A Preview will be put up Wednesday or Thursday once I get hold of all the odds on certain markets – even the likes of William Hill have not fully priced up everything yet. I get the feeling with there being a lot of mis-matches, we will be tipping a lot of handicap bets. England -2 is 6/5, Holland -1 is 5/4, Iceland -1 is 13/8, Slovakia -2 is 7/5, as a few examples. Win Both Halves is another bet we have looked at for a lot of games.
Anyway – best of luck for the rest of the week – with so little football on I can’t envisage much from myself or Jamie until Friday, although we should have some Cricket tips later today hopefully.