This week we are looking forward to some exciting International Soccer as the race to reach the finals of Euro 2016 continues. The 2016 European Championships are played in France in the summer of 2016 (June 10-July 10). As they are the host nation, “Les Bleus” are already qualified for the tournament. The rest of the European teams are battling for 23 spots. In the qualifiers, the 53 teams are divided into 9 groups. From each group, the first and second placed teams are directly qualified to the championships together with the best 3rd placed team. The other eight 3rd placed teams have to play play-offs from which the last 4 teams advances to Euro 2016.
The British teams
England, at the top of Group E after a victory against Switzerland, are looking to gain an advantage in their goal difference when they welcome San Marino to Wembley Thursday October 9th. Wales beat Andorra in the last round and they are facing Bosnia and Herzegovina who is hoping to bounce back from a disappointing defeat against Cyprus (!) In Group D, Scotland faces Georgia at Hampden Park, while the Republic of Ireland entertain Gibraltar in Dublin. Northern Ireland take on the Faroe Islands at Windsor Park. Against these opponents, the British teams should come out on top.
Sweden vs Russia
Another interesting match-up are Sweden against Russia at Friends Arena, Stockholm Sweden. The winner here gets a big advantage and will become favourites for the group victory. Sweden was the last team to beat Spain in a qualifier game, that was in 2008. Spain is facing Slovakia in Zilina. Will the swedes prevail or will it be a sad reminder of the Swedish king Charles XII defeat against Russia at Poltava in 1709? Hopefully they have what it takes to tame the Russian bear this time.
The qualifiers are played 9,10 and 11th of October so we have a great weekend of great international football to look forward to.