Born in the south east of Ireland, Simon put his life-long love of football to good use when he started a successful independent blog in 2010. That opened up an alternative route to a career in journalism, and having had work published across a number of sites and publications, Simon joined the staff at Spotlight Sports Group in 2018.
After an eight-month slog, the Euro 2020 Qualification Group campaign reaches its climax on Monday and Tuesday when the stage’s final round of fixtures are contested across the continent.
17 of the 20 qualification slots available to the nations competing in the 10 separate groups have already been filled, but with three slots for next summer’s Finals still open and a number of first and second place positional reshuffles still possible, there is plenty to play for this week.
Remember- we’ll be covering all of this week’s qualification action in detail on our Euro 2020 predictions page!
QUALIFIED FOR UEFA EURO 2020
Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, England, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine.
Final Fixtures: Netherlands v Estonia, Germany v Northern Ireland (Tuesday 19th)
Group leaders Germany and the Netherlands just behind them have already secured their places at next year’s Euro 2020 finals, though the order in which they finish in Group C can still change depending on results in the section’s final fixtures this week.
Germany will cement their place as Group C winners if they can complete the double over Northern Ireland, while Netherlands, who are hoping for a shock German slip up, will be out to repeat the 4-0 thumping they dished out to Estonia in Septmeber when the teams renew acquaintances in Amsterdam on Tuesday.
After their draw at home to the Dutch on Saturday, Northern Ireland can no longer qualify via the Group Stage, though they still have a play-off to look forward to as the next best-ranked team in Nations League B.
Similarly, 4th placed Belarus will feature in the play-offs as UEFA Nations League Group D2 winner.
Final Fixtures: Republic of Ireland v Denmark, Gibraltar v Switzerland (Monday 18th)
Group D remains incredibly open with three nations’ qualification hopes still hanging in the balance ahead of the section’s final round of games on Monday.
In the first of a convoluted set of scenarios, Group leaders Denmark will qualify if they draw against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin, or if they lose by one goal and Switzerland fail to beat Gibraltar. The Danes will also seal their place in the Finals if the Swiss lose unexpectedly.
2nd place Switzerland will qualify if they avoid defeat against Gibraltar, or if Ireland do not beat Denmark, while the Republic will make it through at the death if they beat Denmark by a margin of two goals or better of if they win by one goal and Switzerland do not draw with Gibraltar.
To add a further layer of complication to events, Denmark, Switzerland and Ireland will all still have an opportunity to qualify for the Finals via the playoffs if they lose out on Monday.
4th place Georgia will join them there having grabbed their own play-off spot after topping the pile in UEFA Nations League Group D1 winner.
Final Fixtures: Wales v Hungary, Slovakia v Azerbaijan (Tuesday 19th)
Beaten World Cup finalists Croatia are safe, secure and untouchable at the top of Group E, though sparks look set to fly in Cardiff when Wales go toe-to-toe with Hungary for the runners-up spot.
Currently in second spot, Hungary will hold on to that position if they beat Wales or if they draw and 3rd placed Slovakia do not beat Azerbaijan.
Wales will qualify for next summer’s Finals if they beat Hungary, while Slovakia, lurking with intent just behind that aforementioned duo, will qualify if they beat Azerbaijan and Wales and Hungary share the spoils.
The do or die element is stripped away a little however, with Hungary, Wales and Slovakia all assured of a play-off place and another shot at qualification if they miss out on Tuesday.
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