We’re all here looking ahead to the World Cup in South Africa, but lets not forget that in 2 years time it’s the European Championships again!
The draw was made yesterday in Poland for the qualifying groups and came up with some interesting match-ups:
GROUP A: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Belgium, Austria, Turkey, Germany
GROUP B: Andorra, Armenia, Macedonia, Republic of Ireland, Slovakia, Russia
GROUP C: Faroe Islands, Estonia, Slovenia, NORTHERN IRELAND, Serbia, Italy
GROUP D: Luxembourg, Albania, Belarus, Bosnia, Romania, France
GROUP E: San Marino, Moldova, Hungary, Finland, Sweden, Netherlands
GROUP F: Malta, Georgia, Latvia, Israel, Greece, Croatia
GROUP G: Montenegro, WALES, Bulgaria, Switzerland, ENGLAND
GROUP H: Iceland, Cyprus, Norway, Denmark, Portugal
GROUP I: Liechtenstein, Lithuania, SCOTLAND, Czech Republic, Spain
Qualification starts in September and runs through to October 2011 with the nine group winners automatically qualifying for the tournament together with the runner-up with the best overall record. The eight other runners-up will then face play-offs over two legs in November 2011. Co-hosts, Poland and Ukraine qualify automatically.
England manager Fabio Capello said his team had been drawn in one of the two toughest groups, “All four opponents are really dangerous,” Capello said. “Wales will be my first derby as manager of an international team. It will be interesting. They are really young but the value of the players is high.” “I prefer a smaller group because we have less games but the group is very tough.”
“Switzerland qualified for the World Cup, they are one of the best teams. I remember when I played against them it was not easy to win away.”
“I have big confidence in my team and I am sure we will play a fantastic qualifying tournament for 2012.”