Euro 2016: A guide to the draw, including seeds and qualification process
Gibraltar will be in the draw while hosts France will also be in the mix
Friday 21 February 2014
Ahead of Sunday's draw for the Euro 2016 qualifiers, Press Association Sport looks into the key questions for the home nations and more.
- How does qualification work?
There will be eight groups of six teams and one of five, each playing home and away. The top two teams from each group and the best third-placed side will qualify, while the eight remaining third-placed sides will contest play-offs.
- What is the Week of Football?
Matches will be spread over several days during the usual international breaks, with games being played on each day between the Thursday and Tuesday. Teams with two fixtures will play either Thursday-Sunday, Friday-Monday or Saturday-Tuesday. The initiative is designed to allow fans to watch more matches, and, of course, to increase the value of television rights by making more matches available.
- Who are England hoping to draw?
England are among the top seeds alongside holders Spain, Germany, Holland, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Russia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Roy Hodgson will be eager to avoid the likes of Turkey and Serbia, both tough draws from Pot 3, while hoping Pot 2 offers up one of its relatively easier ties in Switzerland or Hungary. Belgium look the best of Pot 2 and will be a long way from Hodgson's wishlist.
- Who will Scotland and Wales hope to be paired with?
Scotland and Wales are both in Pot 4 and need friendly draws in order to have a realistic hope of qualifying. Drawing Greece or Bosnia-Herzegovina would be a good result from Pot 1, while further down the main priority will be to avoid long and difficult away trips, making the likes of Cyprus (Pot 5) and Luxembourg (Pot 6) infinitely preferable to Azerbaijan (Pot 5) and Kazakhstan (Pot 6).
- Who might Northern Ireland face?
Northern Ireland are in Pot 5 and would need a string of shocks to be in contention. A victory over Russia and a draw with Portugal highlighted their World Cup qualifiers, and so, if Greece and Bosnia-Herzegovina are out of reach from Pot 1, they might be next on Michael O'Neill's wishlist.
- Who do the Republic of Ireland need to avoid?
Seeded in Pot 2, Ireland are in a good position to make a run at qualification, but must improve on their World Cup qualifying campaign as new-look management combo Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane make their mark. Austria, in Pot 3, took four points off Ireland in the World Cup qualifiers and might be best avoided.
- Why are hosts France playing in the qualifiers?
France are assured of their place in the finals, but have been placed in Group I where no points will be awarded for their matches. UEFA has made the change recognising host nations can struggle to arrange suitable friendlies while others focus on qualification.
- Are there any other restrictions on the draw?
England, Germany, Italy, Spain and Holland must all be placed in one of the six-team groups under the terms of UEFA's television rights contracts. Newcomers Gibraltar will not be allowed to play Spain for political reasons, while Azerbaijan will also be kept away from Armenia.
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