Euro 2020 qualifying begins Thursday, September 5, as 55 soccer nations continue their quest to qualify for next summer’s European championships. The qualifying format is different this time around, so let’s take a look at how teams can qualify, as well as a couple teams that deserve a look over the next week.
During this qualifying cycle each UEFA team must qualify through the group stage or the qualifying playoffs. With there being no single host nation (the tournament will be played in 12 cities across Europe), no team automatically qualified for Euro 2020 as a host. During the group phase, there are 10 groups of either five or six teams. The top twp teams from each group will qualify for Euro 2020.
The results from the 2019-2020 UEFA Nations League also play a role in which teams will qualify for Euro 2020. The four group winners from each league in Nations League will make the Euro qualifying playoffs should they not finish in the top two in their group. The nations that have already qualified for the playoffs are Portugal, the Netherlands, England and Switzerland from League A; Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine, Denmark and Sweden from League B; Scotland, Norway, Serbia and Finland from League C; and Georgia, Macedonia, Kosovo and Belarus from League D.
After the top two in each qualifying group have been determined, there will be a Euro 2020 qualifying playoffs in March. Sixteen teams will qualify for the playoffs based on the Nations League standings. If a team that won its Nations League group qualifies through the group stage, the next team in the Nations League standings will qualify for the playoffs. The 16 teams will be divided into four four-team brackets based on their Nations League designation, and the winners of the four brackets will be the final teams that qualify for Euro 2020.
A favorite makes it look easy at Wembley
England (-1175) is an overwhelming favorite when it hosts Bulgaria (+2425) on Saturday. Most of the team has started the year off wonderfully with their clubs. Led by Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford up front, England can throw any of those guys at Bulgaria and it will mean a great night at the office for the Three Lions. Look for them to make easy work of Bulgaria in a 4-0 (+595) rout.
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) September 1, 2019
North Macedonia gets a shocking win in Israel
North Macedonia (+410) heads to Beersheba on Thursday to take on Israel (-125), and the underdog has what it takes to knock off The Blue and Whites. North Macedonia has several players who make their living in Serie A and La Liga, and has some quality that can’t be denied. North Macedonia won its League D group, which earned a promotion to League C. The North Macedonians will upset Israel 2-1 (+1650).