UEFA Crunch day: Russia almost there!

UEFA Crunch day: Russia almost there!. 45589.jpegToday is the day on which the nine groups for qualification for the final phase of the UEFA Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine are finalised, when we know the nine winners and the runner-up with the most points - which will qualify directly, and which eight teams in second place will enter the play-offs for the remaining four places.

Some teams have already guaranteed first place: Germany (Group A), Italy (Group C), Netherlands (Group E), England (Group G) and Spain (Group I).

In Germany's Group A, Turkey and Belgium will fight for second place. Belgium travels to Germany, Turkey receives Azerbaijan and in the other game, Kazakhstan takes on Austria.

Russia's group (B) is up for grabs, as three teams could clinch first spot: Russia, Rep. Ireland and Armenia; however, Russia only has to beat lowly Andorra at home to leave Rep. Ireland and Armenia, who meet in Dublin, fighting for the runner-up spot. A draw would take the Republic through. In the other game, Macedonia plays Slovakia.

In Group C, Slovenia and Serbia meet in Maribor Stadium and Serbia, if the winner, will claim second place behind Italy. Italy takes on Northern Ireland in the other game.

In Group D, first place will be between France and Bosnia, who meet in Paris. France needs to draw to qualify automatically. Bosnia is guaranteed second place. Albania plays Romania in the other game.

In Group E, Hungary and Sweden are the contenders for the second place behind Holland. Sweden takes on the leaders who have maximum points from nine games while Hungary hosts Finland. A point is enough for Sweden; even if Sweden loses and Hungary wins, it goes down to goal difference but Sweden's is vastly superior. No surprises here: Sweden should qualify from this group at least for the play-offs, if not the best second spot.

Group F is between Greece and Croatia. Greece has a two-point advantage and travels to Georgia; Croatia receives Latvia at home and will overtake Greece if Croatia wins and Greece loses. Malta receives Israel in the other game. If Greece draws and Croatia wins, it will be decided by goal difference, which at the moment is minimal, Croatia having a one-goal advantage.

Montenegro has guaranteed second place behind England in Group G where Bulgaria takes on Wales and Switzerland receives Montenegro.

In Group H, Denmark receives Portugal. A draw is enough for the Portuguese in Copenhagen and in principle these two teams will go through as first and second, whatever the result between Norway and Cyprus due to their superior goal difference (10 for Portugal and 8 for Denmark, while Norway's is 1).

In Group I, Scotland has to beat Spain away and the Czech Republic has to draw or lose away with Lithuania for the Scots to go through. A Czech win seals second place, as would anything except a win for the Scots.

Contenders for the best second place and therefore automatic qualification alone with the group leaders are Sweden (21 points already) in Group E, Bosnia (19, Group D) and Croatia (19, Group F). Bosnia would have to win in France and Sweden would have to lose for the Balkans side to pass over the Scandinavians; for Croatia to pass Sweden, the Swedes would have to lose at home to the Netherlands and the Croats would have to beat Latvia at home.


Group A

Country Games Points Goals

Germany             9 27 31-6

Turkey                9 14 12-11

Belgium              9 13 17-12

Austria               9 11 16-17

Azerbaijan          9   7 10-25

Kazakhstan        9   4  6-21

Germany v. Belgium

Turkey V. Azerbaijan

Kazakhstan V. Austria


Group B

Country Games Points Goals

Russia              9 20 11-4

Rep. Ireland     9 18 13-6

Armenia            9 17 21-8

Slovakia            9 14   6-9

Macedonia        9   7   7-13

Andorra             9   0   1-19

Russia v. Andorra

Rep. Ireland v. Armenia

Macedonia v. Slovakia.


Group C

Italy                 9   23 16-3

Serbia              9   15 13-11

Estonia            10 12 15-14

Slovenia           9   11 10-7

N. Ireland         9    9   9-10

Faroe Islands 10   4  6-26

Slovenia v. Serbia

Italy v. Northern Ireland


Group D

France             9    20 14-3

Bosnia-H.        9    16 15-7

Romania          9    13 12-8

Belarus            10  13   8-6

Albania             9      8   6-12

Luxemburg       10    4   3-21

France v. Bosnia

Albania v. Romania


Group E

Netherlands     9 27 35-5   

Sweden             9 21 29-8

Hungary            9 18 22-14

Moldavia           9   6  8-16

Finland              9   9 16-11

S. Marino           9   0   0-49

Sweden v. Netherlands

Hungary v. Finland

Moldavia v. San Marino


Group F

Greece             9 20 11-3

Croatia             9 19 16-7

Israel               9 13 11-11

Georgia            9 10   6-7

Latvia               9 10   7-10

Malta                9   1   4-19

Georgia v. Greece

Croatia v. Latvia

Malta v. Israel


Group G

England            8 18 17-5

Montenegro      7 12   7-5

Switzerland       7   8 10-10

Bulgaria            7   5   9-12

Wales                7   6   5-10

Bulgaria v. Wales

Switzerland v. Montenegro


Group H

Portugal            7 16 20-10

Denmark           7 16 13-5

Norway              7 13   7-4

Iceland             8  4   6-12

Cyprus              7  2   3-16

Denmark v. Portugal

Norway v. Cyprus


Group I

Spain                7  21 14-5

Scotland           7   11  8-7

Czech Rep.       7  10  8-7

Lithuania          7    5  3-9

Liechtenstein   8    4  3-17

Spain v. Scotland

Lithuania v. Czech Republic


UEFA Rules for qualifying:

"Qualifying group stage
The 51 entrants were drawn into nine groups, six of six teams and three of five. Matches are played on a home-and-away basis between 3 September 2010 and 11 October 2011. The nine winners and the runner-up with the best record against the top five sides in their pool qualify directly for the final tournament. The eight remaining runners-up enter the play-offs.

The four sides with the best UEFA national team coefficient ranking will be seeded and will play the second legs on 15 November 2011 at home. The first legs will be played on 11 or 12 November. The teams which score the greater aggregate of goals qualifies for the finals, with away goals and then penalties used to determine the winner in the event of a draw".

(Source: UEFA.com)


Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey


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Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey