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Euro 2016 Qualifiers Preview: Group A-D

We’ve passed the halfway mark of the 2016 European Championship qualifiers, and a couple of nations can almost taste the coffee and baguettes as they are so close to punching a ticket for France next summer. Here a rundown of Group A-D heading into the second to last round of games.

Group A: Iceland On The Verge Of Qualifying

Iceland has been one of the biggest surprises during the qualifiers, and head coach Lars Lagerback and his men play a crucial game against the Netherlands on Thursday at the Amsterdam Arena in Amsterdam on Thursday. Iceland tops the group on 15 points after six games, and has Netherlands, Kazakhstan, Latvia and Turkey left to play. If they manage to qualify it will be Iceland’s first trip to a major international tournament. The Dutch sits in third, five points behind iceland and three points behind second-placed Czech Republic.

Iceland won the last meeting between the two nations 2-0 back in October of last year. Gylfi Sigurdsson was the Player of the Match for Iceland as the Swansea City midfielder scored both goals in Reykjavik.

The Czech Republic take on Kazakhstan at home, and they will be confident to keep the Netherlands at bay with a win over the Kazakhs. The Czechs won the first meeting against Kazakhstan 4-2. Turkey could leapfrog the Netherlands if they beat Latvia and the Dutch lose to Iceland. The last meeting between Turkey and Latvia ended in a 1-1 draw.

Standings Group A:

  1. Iceland 15pts
  2. Czech Republic 13pts
  3. Netherlands 10pts
  4. Turkey 8pts
  5. Latvia 3pts
  6. Kazakhstan 1pts

Schedule Group A:

9/3: Netherlands – Iceland

9/3: Czech Republic – Kazakhstan

9/3: Turkey – Latvia

9/6: Latvia – Czech Republic

9/6: Turkey – Netherlands

9/6: Iceland- Kazakhstan

 

Group B: Wales, Belgium Fighting For Top Spot

Wales is another country that is on its way to make some history, as the Welsh has never been in a European Championship tournament and the last time they were in a major international tournament was the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. The Welsh tops Group B on 14 points, three ahead of Belgium. Wales takes on fourth-placed Cyprus on Thursday in Nicosia and then go up against Israel at home in Cardiff on Sunday.

Belgium has a stacked squad, but has stumbled a little along the way with a 1-0 loss to Wales in June during the previous rounds of qualification games. The Belgians will host Bosnia and Herzegovina on Thursday and then travel to Cyprus for an away game on Sunday. Belgium and Bosnia Herzegovina drew 1-1 in the first meeting in Zenica after goals by Edin Dzeko and Radja Nainggolan.

Israel host Andorra on Thursday and if other results go their way, they could go past Belgium and up into second place. Israel won the away game against Andorra 4-1 back in October 2014. The only team that is really out of the running is Andorra, who is still looking for their first points of the qualifications. Only six points separate first-place Wales and fifth-place Bosnia and Herzegovina.  

Standings Group B:

  1. Wales 14pts
  2. Belgium 11pts
  3. Israel 9pts
  4. Cyprus 9pts
  5. Bosnia and Herzegovina 8pts
  6. Andorra 0pts

Schedule Group B:

9/3: Belgium – Bosnia and Herzegovina

9/3: Cyprus – Wales

9/3: Israel – Andorra

9/6: Wales – Israel

9/6: Bosnia and Herzegovina – Andorra

9/6: Cyprus – Belgium

 

Group C: Slovakia Looking To Stay Perfect

Slovakia is one of two nations in the 2016 Euros Qualifiers that have won all games so far. The Slovaks tops Group C with 18 points, three points ahead of Spain. The two nations meet up in Oviedo, Spain on Saturday in a game that could decide who will be the winner of the group and take the direct spot to the tournament. Slovakia won the first meeting 2-1 back in October 2014 after a late winner by Miroslav Stoch. That game ended a 36-game unbeaten streak for Spain in qualifiers, but they will be out for revenge and a win would put them at the top of the group. Slovakia will then host Ukraine on Tuesday and Spain will travel to Macedonia.

Ukraine trails Spain by three points and a win at home over Belarus on Saturday could put them level with the Spaniards if they fall to Slovakia once more. Ukraine won the first meeting against Belarus 2-0 after an own goal by Aleksandr Martynovich and a goal by substitute Serhiy Sydorchuk. Belarus sits in fourth in the table, but only have four points after six games.

FYR Macedonia travels to Luxembourg for a meeting between the bottom two teams on Saturday in Luxembourg. Both teams are already out of contention for a spot in the Euros, but pride is still at stake. Luxembourg will then travel to Belarus on Tuesday.

Standings Group C:

  1. Slovakia 18pts
  2. Spain 15pts
  3. Ukraine 12pts
  4. Belarus 4pts
  5. FYR Macedonia 3pts
  6. Luxembourg 1pts

Schedule Group C:

9/5: Luxembourg – FYR Macedonia

9/5: Ukraine – Belarus

9/5: Spain – Slovakia

9/8: Belarus – Luxembourg

9/8: FYR Macedonia – Spain

9/8: Slovakia – Ukraine

 

Group D: Germany, Poland Square Off For Group Lead

Poland has been impressive so far in the qualification  for Euro 2016. The Polacks top Group D on 14 points, one point ahead of Germany. Poland won the first meeting between the nations back in October 2014 in a thrilling game in Warsaw 2-0 after goals by Arkadiusz Milik and Sebastian Mila. It was one of Poland’s biggest wins in recent memory and gave the Polacks a great start. The sides will do battle once more on Friday in Frankfurt. Poland will then host Gibraltar on Monday in what should be an easy win, and Germany travel to Scotland.

Scotland sits in third place with 11 points and could overtake Germany with a road win over Georgia on Friday if the German drops points to Poland. Then they host the Germans on Monday in what could be a vital game. Scotland won the first meeting against Georgia 1-0 after an own goal by Akaki Khubutia.

Ireland will travel to Gibraltar on Friday and then hosts Georgia on Monday. The Irish sits in fourth with nine points, and should they win out, they could have a shot to make it to France. But it will be a big ask as they have Germany and Poland in the last two games.

Standings Group D:

  1. Poland 14pts
  2. Germany 13pts
  3. Scotland 11pts
  4. Ireland 9pts
  5. Georgia 3pts
  6. Gibraltar 0pts

Schedule Group D:

9/4: Georgia – Scotland

9/4: Germany – Poland

9/4: Gibraltar – Ireland

9/7: Poland – Gibraltar

9/7: Ireland – Georgia

9/7: Scotland – Germany

 

Check local listings for TV times. Some games will be streaming on Watch ESPN.

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