The draw took place last Saturday even though not all teams have been determined.
How does that happen, you say?
Well, UEFA decided to introduce a new competition called the Nations’ League to take place during the FIFA International Breaks so as to give more teams a chance at playing competitive games instead of dumb friendly matches and thus get better.
The results have actually been pretty good as the games were hotly-contested and some of the lower-level teams have gotten opportunities to compete they otherwise wouldn’t have gotten.
Case in point: Four spots at Euro 2020 will be awarded to the winners of little mini-tournaments among the teams participating in the Nations League. The whole process and explanation is here. The four teams in each path have been drawn into matchups. Winners of the initial matchups play each other for the right to play in Euro 2020.
The Paths and teams involved are as follows:
- Path A: Iceland v Romania, Bulgaria v Hungary
- Path B: Bosnia and Herzegovina v Northern Ireland, Slovakia v Republic of Ireland
- Path C: Scotland v Israel, Norway v Serbia
- Path D: Georgia v Belarus, North Macedonia v Kosovo
The other interesting thing about this year’s European Championship is that it will be held in multiple countries instead of just one or two as in the past.
The Groups and (Host Cities) are as follows:
- Group A: (Rome and Baku) Turkey, Italy, Wales, Switzerland
- Group B: (Saint Petersburg and Copenhagen) Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Russia
- Group C: (Amsterdam and Bucharest) Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, Playoff Winner from Path D unless Romania wins Path A and will therefore go in Group C so it can play at home twice.
- Group D: (London and Glasgow) England, Croatia, Czech Republic, Playoff Winner from Path C. If Scotland were to win Path C, it would get two home games.
- Group E: (Bilbao and Dublin) Spain, Sweden, Poland, Playoff Winner from Path B. If Ireland were to win Path B, it would get two home games.
- Group F: (Munich and Budapest) Portugal, France, Germany, Playoff Winner from Path A unless Romania wins and then the Winner of Path D goes here. If Hungary wins Path A, it will get two home games.
It should be noted that special rules were set up so that:
- Kosovo, should they qualify, was not drawn in the same group as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Russia.
- Ukraine and Russia would not be in the same group.
Apparently, UEFA is trying to avoid setting off WWIII.
The full game schedule is below (all times local, home teams listed in bold italics):
Friday 12 June
Group A: Turkey v Italy (21:00, Rome)
Saturday 13 June
Group A: Wales v Switzerland (15:00, Baku)
Group B: Denmark v Finland (18:00, Copenhagen)
Group B: Belgium v Russia (21:00, St Petersburg)
Sunday 14 June
Group D: England v Croatia (15:00 Wembley)
Group C: Austria v Play-off winner D or A (18:00, Bucharest)
Group C: Netherlands v Ukraine (21:00, Amsterdam)
Monday 15 June
Group D: Play-off winner C v Czech Republic (15:00, Glasgow)
Group E: Poland v Play-off winner B (18:00, Dublin)
Group E: Spain v Sweden (21:00, Bilbao)
Tuesday 16 June
Group F: Play-off winner A or D v Portugal (18:00, Budapest)
Group F: France v Germany (21:00, Munich)
Wednesday 17 June
Group B: Finland v Russia (15:00, St Petersburg)
Group A: Turkey v Wales (18:00, Baku)
Group A: Italy v Switzerland (21:00, Rome)
Thursday 18 June
Group C: Ukraine v Play-off winner D or A (15:00, Bucharest)
Group B: Denmark v Belgium (18:00, Copenhagen)
Group C: Netherlands v Austria (21:00, Amsterdam)
Friday 19 June
Group E: Sweden v Play-off winner B (15:00, Dublin)
Group D: Croatia v Czech Republic (18:00, Glasgow)
Group D: England v Play-off winner C (21:00, London)
Saturday 20 June
Group F: Play-off winner A or D v France (15:00, Budapest)
Group F: Portugal v Germany (18:00, Munich)
Group E: Spain v Poland (21:00, Bilbao)
Sunday 21 June
Group A: Italy v Wales (18:00, Rome)
Group A: Switzerland v Turkey (18:00, Baku)
Monday 22 June
Group C: Play-off winner D or A v Netherlands (18:00, Amsterdam)
Group C: Ukraine v Austria (18:00, Bucharest)
Group B: Russia v Denmark (21:00, Copenhagen)
Group B: Finland v Belgium (21:00, St Petersburg)
Tuesday 23 June
Group D: Czech Republic v England (21:00, London)
Group D: Croatia v Play-off winner C (21:00, Glasgow)
Wednesday 24 June
Group E: Play-off winner B v Spain (18:00, Bilbao)
Group E: Sweden v Poland (18:00, Dublin)
Group F: Germany v Play-off winner A or D (21:00, Munich)
Group F: Portugal v France (21:00, Budapest)
As you can see, some teams have big home-country advantages. Italy, Denmark, Netherlands, England, Spain, and Germany will play all of their Group Stage games at home. Russia will only get two games at home after losing out on a draw with Denmark to determine where their group match would take place.
If they are able to qualify through the Nations League paths, Scotland, Romania, Ireland, and Hungary would play two home games as they are host countries.
The first and second place teams in each group qualify for the knockout stages as well as the four best 3rd place teams. That schedule is as follows:
Saturday 27 June
1: 2A v 2B (18:00, Amsterdam)
2: 1A v 2C (21:00, London)
Sunday 28 June
3: 1C v 3D/E/F (18:00, Budapest)
4: 1B v 3A/D/E/F (21:00, Bilbao)
Monday 29 June
5: 2D v 2E (18:00, Copenhagen)
6: 1F v 3A/B/C (21:00, Bucharest)
Tuesday 30 June
7: 1D v 2F (18:00, Dublin)
8: 1E v 3A/B/C/D (21:00. Glasgow)
Most likely, no team will have home field advantage in the Round of 16. That will even things up a bit.
So, Who Wins?
The format is so unique and unpredictable that I have to give the advantage to the host countries. One of the following countries hosting games will win Euro 2020: