Sunday lunch time sees the draw for the qualifying rounds for the 2012 European Championships in Poland and Ukraine. The draw itself in Warsaw consists of 51 teams being split into six groups of six and three groups of five. As host nations, Poland and Ukraine are automatic qualifiers. For political reasons, UEFA will not allow Armenia and Azerbaijan to be in the same group as they dispute the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. And due to the war over South Ossetia, Georgia will not play Russia.
My predictions for England are as follows. If we are drawn in a group of six teams, it will be: England, Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Belgium, Iceland & Malta GC. If we are in a group of five, it will be: England, Greece, Austria, Cyprus & Georgia.
The winners of each group advance to the finals directly, as do the second place team who have the best record against the: first, third, fourth and fifth teams in their groups. The remaining eight second placed teams play-off against another second placed team, and the winner of the tie advances. This will be the last Euro with just 16 teams. The number of teams in Euro 2016 will increase to 24. Currently Turkey, France and Italy are bidding to host the tournament.
I’ll have more on Sunday for you. 😉