The Euro 2016 qualification draw this morning brought hope of home nation representation in France.
England appear to have been handed a straight forward pass through to the finals, having been drawn against the familiar qualifying opponents San Marino and Switzerland. England’s historical stats against their group nations is extremely in their favour, except however against Lithuania, a country they are yet to face on the football field.
Wales however face a tougher time, being lined up against a Belgium team who many are tipping to put in an extremely strong performance in Brazil and meanwhile Bosnia/Herzegovina and Israel who could all be competing for the second berth in the group.
With the top two teams and the best third-placed team qualifying automatically for the finals and other third place finishers contesting a play off, Scotland and Republic of Ireland should be hopeful of making a decent challenge to book their tickets to France. Both countries are drawn against each other in Group D alongside Germany, Georgia, Poland and debutant nation Gibraltar.
Meanwhile Northern Ireland face a tough quest against countries who, it is fair to say, aren’t tournament favourites but will all provide stiff opposition for Michael O’Neill’s side and will need to make sure they secure points at home if they stand any chance of getting through.
France automatically qualify as hosts yet are drawn as part of Group I to play friendlies against the other group members. Their games to not score points.
The Draw In Full
GROUP A: Holland, Kazakhstan, Iceland, Latvia, Turkey, Czech Republic
GROUP B: Bosnia/Herz., Andorra, Cyprus, Wales, Israel, Belgium
GROUP C: Spain, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Belarus, Slovakia, Ukraine
GROUP D: Germany, Gibraltar, Georgia, Scotland, Poland, Rep. Of Ireland
GROUP F: Greece, Faroe Islands, N. Ireland, Finland, Romania, Hungary
GROUP G: Russia, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Montenegro, Austria, Sweden
GROUP H: Italy, Malta, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Norway, Croatia
GROUP I: Portugal, Albania, Armenia, Serbia, Denmark