The last round of the qualifiers to the UEFA European Championships 2016 has been played and after a lot of drama, 20 countries are now ready to play in the tournament. They will be accompanied by an 4 additional teams after the playoffs have been decided.
France (host country), Iceland, Czech Republic, England, Austria, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, Wales, Albania, Romania, Germany, Poland, Russia, Turkey, Croatia, Slovakia.
Se comments under final standings below.
Play offs (seeded | unseeded)
Ukraine, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Sweden, Hungary | Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Slovenia.
The seeded teams will be drawn against the unseeded teams Sunday, October 18th. Each pair of teams will face each other two times, home and away. The first play off matches are played 12-14 November and the second three days later. The four winning teams will get a spot in the European Championships 2016.
The first and second placed teams are directly qualified to the UEFA European Championships in France 2016, together with the best third placed team. The remaining third placed teams will play for a place in the tournament through play offs.
Czech Republic 22p
Comment: By far the most surprising results of the qualifiers. Who could have guessed that Iceland would clinch a spot in the EURO 2016 beforehand? And what a catastrophe for Netherlands, who won bronze in the 2014 World Cup. Turkey clinched a place in the tournament as the best third placed team.
Bosnia & Herzegovina 17p
Comment: Belgium and Wales have placed themself on the top of FIFA’s world ranking during the qualifiers. This has been a tough group. At Chicken Swedes we have placed a few bets against Cyprus this season, and lost..
Comment: This group turned out pretty much as expected, with Spain at the top. Slovakia has done a solid performance throughout the qualifiers.
Republic of Ireland 18p
Comment: FIFA World Cup 2014 winners Germany at the top, as expected. However, they weren’t dominating the group: A 7-1-2 record tells us that there has been some fierce battles and Polish resistance in group D.
San Marino 1p
Comment: England have prevailed since the failure in the 2014 World Cup. 10 straight wins sent them to France in 2016. It will be interesting to see how far they can go in the main tournament this year! At the other end of the spectrum we have San Marino. They scored their first away goal in 14 years and almost got the draw against Lithuania but lost in overtime.
Northern Ireland 21p
Faroe Islands 6p
Comment: The biggest mystery here is: what happened to Greece? Did the economic crisis affected them? From winning the 2004 European Championships to a last spot in the qualifiers. Horrible! Northern Ireland and Romania goes through to the EURO 2016 in a group that didn’t really scare anyone.
Comment: Austria has made an excellent qualifier and our guess is that they will go far in the main tournament. Sweden almost got the second place but had a horrible match 7 and 8 with two straight losses against their top competitors. Now, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the rest of the team will have to rely on a couple of wins in the play offs instead. In the play offs for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Sweden lost against Portugal. Russia was awarded the win in the away match against Montenegro after their goalie being hit by a firework from the crowd.
Comment: A tough group where Norway almost got the second spot in the last match, but failed to keep the lead against Italy. They might end up playing their neighbours Sweden in the play offs. Croatia clinched the second place in the group despite of getting a penalty for racist symbols at their home field in the match against Italy.
Comment: Portugal came out strong as expected. Albania was the big surprise in this group where many thought that Denmark would qualify directly to the UEFA 2016. Instead, they have to go through the play offs, perhaps against Sweden. Sadly, we see another point deduction from a team from former Yugoslavia. Serbia got penalized for a pitch invasion in the match against Albania.
We will be back with predictions after the play offs have been drawn!