Tuesday, October 15 marked the end of round eight of EURO 2020 qualifiers, meaning there are only two more qualifying rounds left to be played before the qualifiers conclude and the top 20 teams earn a ticket for the EURO 2020 tournament.
Euro 2020 Qualifiers – Round 7 and 8 – Groups and Standings
With only two more rounds left to be played, there are a handful of groups where one team already secured their spot in the EURO tournament, meaning there are only a few more spots open for the teams to fight for. That being said, some groups still look very open, and from what we have seen in the last two rounds, anything can happen in the remaining two rounds. Now let’s take a look at how the teams performed and how the groups look ahead of round 9 and 10.
The battle for the top two seeds in group A continues with England leading the race with a 5-0-1 record and 15 points, followed by the Czech Republic with 4-0-2 record and 12 points and Kosovo at third with a 3-2-1 record and 11 points. While four points are separating England and Kosovo, the race for the top two is still far from over, considering the top three teams still need to play against each other. The most important result of the week was England’s defeat (1:2) against the Czech Republic, putting Kosovo in a tough spot where they need to be on top of their game to advance here.
Kosovo and the Czech Republic will meet in round nine, whereas England will clash with Kosovo in round 10, meaning a lot can change in group A by the end of the qualifiers.
In Group B, Ukraine already secured their ticket for EURO 2020 with a 6-1-0 record next to their name seven games in. That leaves Portugal (3-2-1) and Serbia (3-1-2) as the two teams who will battle it out for the final ticket. While Serbia and Portugal won’t meet each other again, it will be their performance against the remaining teams that will dictate which side will advance and which will be sent packing. That being said, Portugal look to be in a much better position, seeing how they are playing Lithuania in round nine and Luxemburg in round 10. It’s worth mentioning Portugal lost in their meeting with Ukraine (1:2) on October 14, which could potentially result in Serbia overtaking them on the standings in the next two rounds.
Netherlands, Germany and Northern Ireland continue to fight it out for the top two spots, whereas Belarus and Estonia remain sited at the bottom of the group. Heading into the last two rounds, Netherlands and Germany sit tied with 15 points each, closely followed by Northern Ireland with 12, who will look to cause an upset in the final two rounds, when they face off against both Netherlands and Germany. That being said, Northern Ireland already lost to both Germany (0:2) in September and the Netherlands (3:1) on October 10, 2019, which potentially cost them the chance to finish the top two here.
In group D, we will see a very tight race in the final two rounds between Ireland, Denmark and Switzerland. Ireland lead the race with 12 points, however, they are closely followed by Denmark (12 points) and Switzerland (11 points). On top of that, both Denmark and Switzerland have one game in hand, which puts them in a very promising position as they look to take advantage of Irelands’ drop in form, which saw them losing 2:0 against Switzerland in round eight. It’s also worth noting Switzerland lost to Denmark (1:0) on October 12, 2019, which was a defeat that could turn around and bite them if they don’t show up and win both upcoming fixtures.
Croatia managed to defeat Hungary (3:0) and produced a draw against Wales (1:1) to increase the lead, which now puts them two points clear of Hungary who sit at second with 12 points and four points clear of Slovakia who sit third with a 3-1-2 record and 10 points. While both Croatia and Hungary sit at the top of the group, Slovakia still have one game in hand and should they prove their worth against Croatia in round eight, they could be a serious contender to qualify for EURO 2020.
Not a lot of shocking results in group F, where Spain already secured a ticket for EURO 2020. While they did drop points against Norway (1:1) and Sweden (1:1), they still remain at the top of the group with a 6-2-0 record and 20 points. Closely behind we have Sweden and Romania, who both walked away from the last two rounds with a win and a draw. That being said, the most important match of the qualifiers for these two sides will come on November 15, when they will face each other to decide who will advance and who will be sent packing.
Group G is more or less decided in terms of which two teams will advance. Poland already secured their ticket to EURO 2020 with a 6-1-1 record, whereas Austria just need to avoid “choking”. With 16 points, the Austrian team is in a five-point lead ahead of both North Macedonia and Slovenia, meaning that if they can avoid losing to North Macedonia and Latvia in the remaining two rounds, they will join Poland at EURO 2020. Slovenia had an excellent opportunity to compete for a spot at the tournament, however, a streak of two consecutive defeats against N. Macedonia (2:1) and Austria (0:1) in the last two rounds pushed them down to fourth, where they can now only hope for a miracle.
No team has already secured a ticket for the main event, however, from the looks of it, it will be Turkey and France who will be the two teams claiming the top two spots. Iceland looked like strong contenders for the top two finish, however, a 0:1 defeat against France in round seven pushed them down the leaderboard where they sit four points short of reaching France and Turkey. There is still a chance for Iceland to climb out of the hole and claim a top-two finish, however, that chance is very slim, seeing how they need to defeat Turkey on the road in round nine.
After round seven and eight fixtures, Group I is already decided and it should not come off as a surprise, it is Belgium and Russia, who finished top of the group with a near-perfect record. The difference in quality between Russia and Belgium compared to the remaining four teams was immense and the final result shows that.
Italy has secured their spot at EURO 2020 prematurely, leaving Finland, Armenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina to fight it out for the second and last ticket. That being said, it’s Finland who look to be in the best spot. They hold a rather massive five-point lead ahead of Armenia and Bosnia after their impressive 3:0 win against Armenia in round eight. All things considered, Finland should come out as the second seed, however, there is always room for an upset and both Armenia and Bosnia will hope that will be the case here.
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