EURO 2016 Qualifier Preview – 9th to 11th October 2015

The international break can be a time of much sadness for fans of domestic football, but fear not: the European Championship qualifying campaign is red hot at the moment, and there is plenty still left to play for.

So enjoy our rundown of how each group is finely poised, and prepare to cheer on your favourite countries in a weekend that could make or break their international futures.

Group A

Iceland top Group A, and that may come as much as a surprise to them as it does to us, but they fully deserve their status as the most consistent team in the group; defeating Holland home and away no less. They have, due to their points haul of 19, guaranteed themselves a place at their first European Championships in their history. Well done chaps.

They will be joined at the tournament in France by the Czech Republic, who have also bagged 19 points and sealed their place.

That leaves a straight shootout between Turkey and Holland for the play-off place. The Turks are favourites as they are two points ahead of the Dutch, but they face the Czechs and the Ice Men whilst Holland take on Kazakhstan and Iceland. Plenty of intrigue left to unfold here then.

Group B

Incredibly, it is Andorra that have contributed the most to Group B….but probably not in the way they had hoped. They take on Belgium and Wales in their last two matches, and their lack of ability should ultimately see their respective opponents qualify from the group.

For Wales, this will be their first European Championship appearance, and only the second major competition they have participated in. A huge result for a side who, ignoring that ludicrous world ranking, are seriously punching above their weight.

Group C

If everything goes as expected, Spain will beat Luxembourg tonight and qualify for the right to defend the title they won in 2012.

They are likely to be joined in France by Slovakia, who should just about stave off the threat of the Ukraine, who will have to settle for a play-off spot.

Group D

A huge story unfolded in Group D last night when the Republic of Ireland defeated world champions Germany 1-0, and they now have a chance to qualify automatically should they beat Poland on Sunday and other results go their way.

The Poles have the irresistible Robert Lewandowski amongst their ranks however, and will know that just a point on home soil against the Irish will be enough to see them through on goal difference.

If that was the case, then they could both technically still qualify if Germany somehow lost at home to Georgia, whilst Scotland should sign off on a decent campaign by rattling up a cricket score against Gibraltar.

Group E

England were the first team to qualify outright for France ’16 after a perfect eight wins from eight, and they will be joined by the Swiss, who only need a point against the plucky but incompetent San Marino.

The play-off spot is likely to be bagged by Slovenia.

Group F

Northern Ireland have done it: a win over hapless Greece last night booked their place at their first major tournament since the World Cup in 1986.

There’s a two-way scrap for second place with Romania, one point clear of Hungary, travelling to the Faroe Islands for their last match and the Hungarians crossing the European mainland to Greece.

Group G

Austria have gone through Group G in unbeaten fashion, and fully deserve their place at the Euros next summer.

They are likely to be joined by Russia, who know a win in Moldova will be enough to see them through. But Sweden – and Zlatan Ibrahimovic – will have something to say about that, and will attempt to apply some pressure with victory in Liechtenstein tonight.

Group H

Italy have all booked their place on the plane, and a win in Azerbaijan tomorrow night will rubber stamp their spot.

That leaves Norway and Croatia battling it out for second place, but a win against Malta tonight will put the Norwegians firmly in the driving seat of the fun bus to France.

Group I

Portugal’s win over Denmark last night secured their place at Euro ’16, whilst victory for Albania in Armenia will secure a moment in their history: a spot at their first ever major championships.

The Danes – including Lord Nicholas Bendtner, Christian Eriksen et al – would have to settle for a play-off place.