Hungary, Ireland, Sweden and Ukraine won their respective play-off encounters. They ascertained the last four places for the finals of the UEFA European Championship to be held for the first time with 24 teams on June 10 to July 10, 2016.
After 268 matches the qualification for the 2016 UEFA European Championship was completed on Tuesday, November 17. The next important date prior to the tournament in France is the 12th of December. On that Saturday the draw for the six groups will take place at the Palais des Congrès de Paris. Six nations are seeded and will form the first pot in the draw. They are World Cup champions Germany, host France, title holders Spain as well as England, Portugal and Belgium.
It is not the FIFA world rankings, currently led by Belgium followed by Germany, which is decisive, but the system established by the European Football Association (UEFA), into which of the four pots a team is placed. Various sporting performances are considered in its evaluation, such as the results in the qualification and at previous tournaments. Older results are less valuable than more recent ones.
POT 1: Germany (40,236), Spain (37,962), England (35,963), Portugal (35,138), Belgium (34,442), France (hosts 33,599)
POT 2: Italy (34,345), Russia (31,345), Switzerland (31,254), Austria (30,932), Croatia (30,642), Ukraine (30,313)
POT 3: Czech Republic (29,403), Sweden (29,028), Poland (28,306), Romania (28,038), Slovakia (27,171), Hungary (27,142)
POT 4: Turkey (27,033), Ireland (26,902), Iceland (25,388), Wales (24,521), Albania (23,216), Northern Ireland (22,610)
Five nations will make their debut at these European Championship finals: Slovakia, Wales, Northern Ireland, Iceland and Albania. The finals were held with 16 teams (previously with eight or four) from 1996 to 2012, but next year for the first time 24 teams will fight for the title. The two best teams of the six first round groups (A-F) as well as the four best third-placed teams qualify for the knock-out stage. The finals will kick-off with the opening match featuring hosts France at the Stade de France on June 10. The same venue will also host the final on July 10. Further venues are Bordeaux, Lens, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Paris with the Parc de Prince Stadium, Saint Etienne and Toulouse.
A 2-2 draw with Denmark in Copenhagen was sufficient for Sweden to win this Scandinavian encounter, after a 2-1 win in the first leg. Ukraine was finally successful in a play-off round. After their 2-0 victory at home the 2012 European Championship co-hosts only needed a 1-1 draw with Slovenia in Maribor to put behind them the nightmare of previous failures in five relegation rounds. Prior to EURO 2000 Ukraine had lost to Slovenia. In addition the Eastern Europeans have failed in four play-off rounds for World Cup finals.
Hungary reached the finals for the European title for the first time since 1972, when just four teams played. With a 2-1 win in Budapest against slightly favoured Norway, plus an earlier 1-0 away in Oslo, the Magyars achieved victories in both play-off matches. With a 2-1 win in Budapest against slightly favoured Norway, plus an earlier 1-0 away in Oslo, the Magyars achieved victories in both play-off matches.
Ireland qualified for a European Championship finals for the third time since 1988 and 2012. The “Boys in Green” defeated Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-0, after a 2-2 draw in the first leg. Ireland’s star striker Jon Walters defeated the Balkan dragon with his brace, thus initiating a big “green” party in the Irish capital.