were handed a straightforward qualifying group E for Euro 2016, a group that
may require some creative work by the FA in ticketing prices at Wembley.
There will inevitably be calls for England to take some of the games on the
road, playing at smaller capacity grounds around the country as they will
never fill Wembley for the likes of San Marino and Lithuania. Englnd have
also been drawn against Estonia and Slovenia and will challenge Switzerland
for top spot.
Uefa’s general secretary, Gianni Infantino, predicted “some fierce qualifiers”
but even for England it should not be too taxing. The tournament has been
expanded to 24 teams for the first time, a decision by Uefa that angered
England and Germany, although the FA will at least take comfort from the
knowledge that England should progress even more smoothly.
The nine group winners, nine runners-up, the best third-placed team and hosts
France qualify directly. The remaining four places are decided by play-offs
between the eight other third-placed teams. The safety net is so large for
England to reach the tournament which will be played in 10 stadia including
from Marseille to Paris, St-Etienne to Lyon.
Wales were given a difficult draw with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Andorra, Cyprus,
Wales, Israel, Belgium. Scotland had the toughest assignment with Germany,
Gibraltar, Georgia, Poland and the Republic of Ireland. Northern Ireland
were placed in a group with Greece, Faroe Islands, Finland, Romania and
Republic of Ireland
*France qualify as hosts, but will play friendlies against teams in Group I.
There will be no points awarded for games in which France figure, so these
will have no affect on the Group I table.
Qualifiers to be played between September 7, 2014 and October 13, 2015.
Play-off matches to be played in November 2015.
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