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Euro 2016 Qualifiers Preview Group E-I

We are heading into the final two games of the Euro 2016 qualifiers. Some nations have already punched a ticket to the tournament next summer in France, and others are going to be fighting until the final game to secure a spot.

The top two teams in each will automatically earn a place, along with the best third-placed team. The remaining eight third-placed teams will be drawn against each other and play a two-game playoff for the remaining four spots.

 

Group E: Switzerland, Slovenia Battle For Second Spot

England has already punched a ticket and booked a hotel for Euro 2016 as winners of Group E. National team manager Roy Hodgson is set to experiment a bit in the final two games against Estonia and Lithuania and take a look at some potential players for his squad next summer.

Switzerland sits in second place, three points ahead of chasing Slovenia. The Swiss will take on minnows San Marino on Friday and then go on the road to Estonia in the final game on Monday. Slovenia will have to win out and have Switzerland drop one of their games in order to get into that elusive second place. Slovenia plays Lithuania on Friday and San Marino on Monday. Estonia still have a mathematical chance to get into the second or third spot, but that would take two wins over England and Switzerland.

Standings Group E:

  1. England 24 points
  2. Switzerland 15 points
  3. Slovenia 12 points
  4. Estonia 10 points
  5. Lithuania 9 points
  6. San Marino 1 point

Schedule Group E:

10/9: England – Estonia

10/9: Slovenia – Lithuania

10/9: Switzerland – San Marino

10/12: Lithuania – England

10/12: Estonia – Switzerland

10/12: San Marino – Slovenia

 

Group F: Northern Ireland Closer Than Ever

Northern Ireland is on the brink of reaching the first big international tournament since the 1986 World Cup. It would be the first European Championship ever for the Northern Irish if they manage to get a spot. They lead Group F on 17 points, one point ahead of Romania and four points ahead of Hungary.

Northern Ireland host last-placed Greece on Thursday, and a win would guarantee a spot in the top two. In the final game they will travel to Helsinki to take on Finland on Sunday. Second-placed Romania plays Finland on Thursday and then take on the Faroe Islands on Sunday.

Hungary needs some help if they are to get into that second place and avoid the qualification playoffs. The Hungarians host the Faroe Islands on Thursday and then travel to Greece for the final game on Sunday. Finland still has a mathematical chance, but they would need wins over Romania and Northern Ireland.

Standings Group F:

  1. Northern Ireland 17 points
  2. Romania 16 points
  3. Hungary 13 points
  4. Finland 10 points
  5. Faroe Islands 6 points
  6. Greece 3 points

Schedule Group F:

10/8: Hungary – Faroe Islands

10/8: Northern Ireland – Greece

10/8: Romania – Finland

10/11: Greece – Hungary

10/11: Faroe Islands – Romania

10/11: Finland – Northern Ireland

 

Group G: Can Sweden Catch Russia?

Austria are already through to Euro 2016, but there’s still a battle for second place between Russia and Sweden. Russia sits in second with 14 points, two points ahead of the Swedes. The Russians will take on Moldova on Friday and then host Montenegro in the final game on Monday.

Sweden, lead by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, will travel to Vaduz and take on Liechtenstein on Friday and then host Moldova on Monday. Sweden will have to win out and hope that Montenegro can beat Russia. If not, Sweden will most likely head to the qualification playoffs unless they collapse and see Montenegro pass them.

The Swedes are coming off two losses against Russia (0-1) and Austria (1-4), so they have to put those losses behind them and put in an extra gear in the final two games.

Standings Group G:

  1. Austria 22 points
  2. Russia 14 points
  3. Sweden 12 points
  4. Montenegro 11 points
  5. Liechtenstein 5 points
  6. Moldova 2 points

Schedule Group G:

10/9: Liechtenstein – Sweden

10/9: Moldova – Russia

10/9: Montenegro – Austria

10/12: Sweden – Moldova

10/12: Russia – Montenegro

10/12: Austria – Liechtenstein

 

Group H: Italy, Norway On The Verge

Italy and Norway are oh so close to reaching the promised land (France…) next summer. Italy could seal the deal with a win over Azerbaijan in Baku on Saturday. Norway takes on Malta at home at Ulleval Stadion in Oslo in Saturday before Italy and Norway meet in Rome on Tuesday.

Croatia sits in third and they will need to win against Bulgaria and Malta to have a shot to get passed Norway into second. If Italy wins over Azerbaijan, they only need one point against Norway to secure the group win.

Standings Group H:

  1. Italy 18 points
  2. Norway 16 points
  3. Croatia 14 points
  4. Bulgaria 8 points
  5. Azerbaijan 6 points
  6. Malta 2 points

Schedule Group H:

10/10: Azerbaijan – Italy

10/10: Norway – Malta

10/10: Croatia – Bulgaria

10/13: Italy – Norway

10/13: Bulgaria – Azerbaijan

10/13: Malta – Croatia

 

Group I: Portugal, Denmark, Albania Battle For Top 2

Portugal, Denmark and Albania all have the chance of getting one of the two direct spots. Portugal leads the group on 15 points, three ahead of Denmark, but they have two games remaining to Denmark’s one. And Denmark’s last game in the group is on the road against Portugal on Thursday at the Estadio de Municipal Braga in Braga.

Albania sits in third, four points behind Portugal and one point behind Denmark, but they also have two games left. They will first take on Serbia on Thursday and then travel to Armenia for the final game on Sunday. Portugal’s last game is on Sunday against Serbia.

Standings Group I:

  1. Portugal 15 points
  2. Denmark 12 points
  3. Albania 11 points
  4. Armenia 2 points
  5. Serbia 1 point

Schedule Group I:

10/8: Albania – Serbia

10/8: Portugal – Denmark

10/11: Armenia – Albania

10/11: Serbia – Portugal

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