Euro 2024 qualifying: England drawn with Italy; Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland discover groups


Wales manager Rob Page, Scotland boss Steve Clarke, England manager Gareth Southgate and Northern Ireland boss Ian Baraclough
England have been drawn in the same group as Italy – the team that beat them in the Euro 2020 final – in qualifying for Euro 2024 in Germany.

Ukraine, North Macedonia and Malta are the other teams in Group C.

Scotland will be in Group A along with Spain, Norway, Georgia and Cyprus.

Wales will face Croatia, Armenia, Turkey and Latvia in Group D, while Northern Ireland are joined by Denmark, Finland, Slovenia, Kazakhstan and San Marino in Group H.

The Republic of Ireland face a tough task as they are in Group B alongside the Netherlands and France, plus Greece and Gibraltar.

At the draw in Frankfurt, there were gasps when England were pulled out to face Italy, with the Azzurri having beaten Gareth Southgate’s side on penalties at Wembley to win the Euro 2020 final.

Italy will also face North Macedonia, who beat Roberto Mancini’s side in their 2022 World Cup play-off in March.

England reached the final of Euro 2020 but lost in the final to Italy
England were denied a first European Championship when they were neaten by Italy in the Euro 2022 final
“It’s ironic when you’ve had a fixture like we’ve had and then played them again already again so recently that you seem to have these sort of things,” said Southgate, whose side lost to Italy in the Nations League in September.

“We seemed to be playing Croatia every five minutes not so long ago and now its seems we have got that situation with Italy.”

Mancini said: “I knew that we’d get either England or France, but that’s OK. It’s a decent five-team group, no easy matches, all ones we can have a go at.”

England also played Ukraine at Euro 2020 when Southgate’s side earned a 4-0 a quarter-final win in Rome.

“We know the quality of a lot of [Ukraine’s] players,” added the England boss.

“We had a good result against them at Euro 2020 but the scoreline did not reflect the quality of their team. They will be difficult games.”

Russia were not part of the draw as they are banned from Euro 2024 qualification by Uefa following their invasion of Ukraine.

“We don’t know what that [games against Ukraine] will look like politically and venue wise,” added Southgate.

“All of us, of course, have got more that we are thinking about when we talk about Ukraine than football, but the team themselves football-wise are a very good side.”

Scotland have qualified for three European Championships – in 1992 and 1996, and for Euro 2020, which was delayed by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

They are guaranteed at least a play-off place after finishing top of their Nations League group and earning promotion to the top tier of that competition, but manager Steve Clarke wants to avoid having to follow that route.

“We want to qualify as of right. We don’t want to rely on the play-offs,” he said.

“We qualified for the last Euros via the play-offs but we missed out on the World Cup through the play-offs, so we know they’re fraught with danger.

“We’d much rather be in a position where we qualify as of right from the group, so that’s what we’re concentrating on.”

Scotland’s group game against Norway will see them face Manchester City’s in-form striker Erling Haaland.

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Wales made their European Championship finals debut in 2016 when they reached the semi-finals.

“We’re pretty pleased with the group,” boss Rob Page said.

“We’ve avoided some teams like Belgium, who we’ve played quite a bit in recent years.

“If you try to forecast what teams you’d prefer compared to others we’re not far from it. Overall, pretty pleased.”

Northern Ireland were the only home nation not to qualify for Euro 2020, with their only finals appearance having come in 2016.

How does it work?
There are seven groups with five countries – and three groups with six teams in them. The four Nations League finalists – Croatia, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain – have gone into the smaller groups.

The top two teams in each of the 10 groups qualify directly for Euro 2024.

Germany automatically qualify as hosts, while the remaining three teams will come via the Nations League play-offs.

The groups start on 23 March and end on 21 November 2023.

The groups in full
Group A: Spain, Scotland, Norway, Georgia, Cyprus

Group B: Netherlands, France, Republic of Ireland, Greece, Gibraltar

Group C: Italy, England, Ukraine, North Macedonia, Malta

Group D: Croatia, Wales, Armenia, Turkey, Latvia

Group E: Poland, Czech Rep, Albania, Faroe Islands, Moldova

Group F: Belgium, Austria, Sweden, Azerbaijan, Estonia

Group G: Hungary, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Lithuania

Group H: Denmark, Finland, Slovenia, Kazakhstan, Northern Ireland, San Marino

Group I: Switzerland. Israel, Romania, Kosovo, Belarus, Andorra

Group J: Portugal, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Liechtenstein.


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