The UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying rounds are coming to a close and the tables, with the exception of a couple, look set in stone. Some teams have already qualified and look promising to win the competition, which is set to take place next year.
Football betting now turns to outright winners, with France sitting as favourites at odds of 4/1 at the time of writing. But first, let’s take a look at how the home nations have fared in the qualifying rounds.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup was the last time English players found themselves in a major tournament. The side fared well reaching the semi-finals with striker Harry Kane winning the Golden Boot for the competition. Now the attention turns to the European stage, and so far England has lived up to the standards they set last year.
England has fared well in their qualifiers, winning all bar one of their games. They lost out to the Czech Republic, who too have qualified from Group A. On paper, it looks as though England is stronger than ever, although their defensive abilities against Kosovo had fans worried after conceding three goals.
After conversations blew up again between Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez at training earlier in the week, the side will be more than happy with their result against Montenegro. Now they will look to close their qualifying campaign with another three points from Kosovo.
In Group C, Northern Ireland have made the best out of what could be described as an unfortunate group. Competing against Belarus and Estonia was not a problem for the nation ranked 34th in the world – defeating them both in the earlier rounds. It was against Germany and the Netherlands that Northern Ireland have struggled.
Losing to Germany was somewhat inevitable. The side is one of the most successful in the history of the competition, winning the Henri Delaunay Trophy three times from six finals. The Netherlands has also won the title, and although that was in 1988, they managed to reach the World Cup Final more recently in 2010, showing their talent is still thriving.
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Michael O’Neill’s side needs to win one of their final games against the Netherlands and Germany to have a chance at advancing, but even then, success would rely on other results. It’s going to take a lot of work for Northern Ireland to break into the top two and automatically qualify for the main tournament – some might say too much.
Group I initially showed great promise for Scotland. Although current leaders, Belgium, were always expected to advance from the group, the fight for second place was undetermined. But it seems as though the results at the previous World Cup were not a fluke for Russia, as they currently sit in the second qualifying spot.
It wasn’t too long ago that you would have considered Russia as an easy win for many nations, but with the country focusing on their youth development and home talent in their national league, the side has made a vast improvement on the pitch.
Despite winning two of their first three matches, Scotland have been unable to contend with Belgium and Russia, who have both already qualified for the main tournament. It’s not over for Steve Clarke’s side as they will be in the play-offs as the UEFA Nations League Group C1 winner.
Wales have also had a disappointing qualifying campaign, although they’re in the playoffs as things stand. Winning only two games so far, they have two more games to go against Azerbaijan and Hungary. With another six points up for grabs, the chance to move forward is still within reach.
A previous win against Azerbaijan will fill the Welsh national side with confidence that they can win three points. It is the game against Hungary that fills the fans with doubt. Although Wales only lost out to the Hungarians 1-0, they currently sit in the second qualifying place. The match could well be a decider for qualification.
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