The last stage for qualification into next summer’s European Championship in France came to an end last night with the identities of all the 24 participating nations now being known. The latest entrants were Sweden, Ukraine, Ireland and Hungary who won their respective two-legged playoffs over the course of the ongoing international break.
Sweden saw off the challenge of Denmark as they won the tie 4-3 over two legs. The Swedes’ 2-2 draw in Copenhagen last night was enough to secure passage into next summer’s finals. Ukraine, too, qualified last night at the expense of Slovenia. The east Europeans ran out comfortable 3-1 winners on aggregate.
Martin O’Neill’s Ireland denied Bosnia-Herzegovina their first ever European Championship appearance as the Boys in Green secured a clinical 3-1 win over two legs to book their place in Euro 2016. Joining the Irish were Hungary, who defeated Norway 3-1 on aggregate to qualify for their first major international tournament in three decades.
The draw for next summer’s mega event is scheduled to take place on the 12th of December in Paris, and following the playoff results, the pots for the draw have been finalised. Teams have been sorted into different pots based on their seedings. Following are the four pots.
France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, England
Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Russia, Croatia, Ukraine
Czech Republic, Sweden, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary
Turkey, Republic of Ireland, Iceland, Wales, Albania, Northern Ireland
There will be six groups of four teams in total for the finals, with one team from each pot to be drawn in each of the six groups. Ireland’s qualification at the expense of Bosnia-Herzegovina meant that Ukraine made it to Pot B alongside Russia which killed any chance of a potentially explosive group stage match up between the eastern European neighbours.