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Euro 2020 draw: groups, schedule and much more

Euro 2020 draw: groups, schedule and much more

That's all from us - thanks for reading!

A reminder that the Euro 2020 play-offs will be held on Thursday 26 March and Tuesday 31 March.

The play-offs will be:

Path A: Bulgaria vs Hungary*, Iceland vs Romania
Path B: Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Northern Ireland*, Slovakia vs Republic of Ireland
Path C: Norway vs Serbia*, Scotland vs Israel
Path D: Georgia vs Belarus*, North Macedonia vs Kosovo

*At home in the final

 

Euro 2020 draw: Groups E and F

Group E (Bilbao, Dublin)
Spain
Sweden
Poland
Winner play-off Path B

Group F (Munich, Budapest)
Winner play-off Path A or D
France
Portugal
Germany

Euro 2020 draw: Groups C and D:

Group C (Amsterdam, Bucharest)
Netherlands
Austria
Ukraine
Winner play-off Path A or D

Group D (London, Glasgow)
England
Croatia
Winner play-off Path C
Czech Republic 

Euro 2020 draw: Groups A and B

Group A (hosts: Rome, Baku)
Turkey
Italy
Wales
Switzerland

Group B (Saint Petersburg, Copenhagen)
Denmark
Belgium
Finland
Russia

So, we have two finalised groups: A and B. As had been confirmed before the draw, the winner of play-off Path A or D will be in Groups C or F depending on whether or not Romania qualify. Elsewhere, the play-off Path C winner will go into Group D and the qualifier from play-off Path B will take their place in Group E.

Group B: Belgium, Russia, Denmark, Finland

Finland are placed into Group B, with Belgium, Russia, Denmark - who, remember, already knew this.

Group A: Italy, Switzerland, Turkey and Wales

Wales go into Group A, with the Italians, the Swiss and the Turks.

It's first confirmed that the winner of play-off Path A (Iceland, Bulgaria, Hungary or Romania) will go into Group F - unless, of course, the Romanians win through. As hosts, they'd go into Group C and the winner of play-off Path D would instead be in Group F.

And finally, we come to Pot 4, which includes: Wales, Finland and the four play-off winners

Group F: Germany, France, Portugal

...and Portugal go into Group F with France and Germany! Definitely the Group of Death now. Blimey.

Group E: Spain, Poland, Sweden

Denmark are confirmed in Group B with Belgium and Russia, before Sweden are drawn into Group E with Spain and Poland.

Italy vs Turkey to open up Euro 2020

Italy vs Turkey will be the opening game of Euro 2020 on 12 June in Rome, by the way.

Group D: England, Croatia, Czech Republic

The Czechs are drawn into Group D, with England and Croatia.

Group C: Ukraine, Netherlands, Austria

Austria join the Ukraine and the Netherlands in Group C

Group A: Italy, Switzerland, Turkey

Turkey are first out, and join Italy and Switzerland in Group A.

Now to Pot 3, in which we have: Portugal, Turkey, Denmark (hosts), Austria, Sweden, Czech Republic

Group of Death ahoy? 

...and France go into Group F with Germany!

Group E: Spain, Poland

Out come Poland, and they'll go into Group E with Spain!

Group D: England, Croatia

Croatia are drawn in Group D with England!

Group B: Belgium, Russia, Denmark; Group C: Ukraine, Netherlands

The Netherlands are confirmed in Group C with Ukraine, and Russia's presence in Group B is rubber-stamped. Both countries already knew which group they were going into, remember.

Group A: Italy, Switzerland

Switzerland come out of the hat and will join Italy in Group A!

Right, now to Pot 2, which contains: France, Poland, Switzerland, Croatia, Netherlands (hosts). Russia (hosts). Time for countries to start getting paired up.

Draw underway!

The ball-plucking begins. The first step appears to be all about simply confirming the groups that the top seeds are to go into - information that we already knew coming into the draw, remember.

The draw is still to get underway; we're currently being given the obligatory dose of prolonged exposition on how the draw works. To be fair, this one does require a bit of explanation.

England manager Gareth Southgate arrives at ROMEXPO for the draw. England are guaranteed to go into Group D, remember, as London is one of the two venues for that section.

Incidentally, no team has played more European Champions games without reaching the final than the Three Lions (31).

I'd like to be able to tell you more about what's going on in Bucharest, but having played a Harry Potter movie until about 10 past, Spanish television channel Cuatro are now treating us to a good 10 minutes of adverts. So I'm very much flying blind right now.

Euro 2020 2

How and where to watch the draw

By the way, should you still be wondering where you can watch the imminent Euro 2020 draw, then you might wish to peruse our useful guide on how to tune into the event.

While we wait for the ball-pluckage to commence, why not take a look at this tidy little bundle of European Championship stats, courtesy of Opta?

Returning Spain boss Luis Enrique is at ROMEXPO for the draw, as is his compatriot Roberto Martínez, head coach of Belgium.

Anyway, here's a breakdown of who is, or can end up, in each group:

Group A (hosts: Rome, Baku)
Italy
France/Poland/Switzerland/Croatia
Portugal/Turkey/Austria/Sweden/Czech Republic
Finland/Wales

Group B (hosts: Saint Petersburg, Copenhagen)
Belgium
Russia
Denmark
Finland/Wales

Group C (hosts: Amsterdam, Bucharest)
Ukraine
Netherlands
Portugal/Turkey/Austria/Sweden/Czech Republic
Winner play-off Path A or D*

Group D (hosts: London, Glasgow)
England
France/Poland/Switzerland/Croatia
Portugal/Turkey/Austria/Sweden/Czech Republic
Winner play-off Path C 

Group E (hosts: Bilbao, Dublin)
Spain
France/Poland/Switzerland/Croatia
Portugal/Turkey/Austria/Sweden/Czech Republic
Winner play-off Path B

Group F (hosts: Munich, Budapest)
Germany
France/Poland/Switzerland/Croatia
Portugal/Turkey/Austria/Sweden/Czech Republic
Winner play-off Path A or D*

*Depending on whether or not Romania get through the Path A play-offs

Two, or possibly three, to qualify from each Euro 2020 group

The top two in each group at the Euros, plus the four best third-placed sides, will progress to the last 16 stage - at which point, as I'm sure you are already well aware, it becomes a straight knockout tournament.

De Bruyne

And then there's Group B...

However, while some groups won't be finalised after today's draw, Group B has, conversely, all but been decided in advance of it. Here's why.

As the only top seeds who are not host countries, Belgium and Ukraine must go into groups with lower-ranked hosts, leaving B and C as their only options. Ukraine and Russia must be kept apart for political reasons, though, so Belgium have to join the Russians in Group B, which Denmark also have to go into as a host nation. So that's three of the four teams set in stone already.

And to top things off, the four play-off winners have been assigned to other groups, leaving only two Pot 4 nations - Finland and Wales - available to complete the section.

De Bruyne: "This feels like a fake competition"

It's a situation that Belgium's Kevin de Bruyne is not happy about. "It's a shame," the Manchester City midfielder told VTM Nieuws this month. "For me, this feels like a fake competition. Football has become more and more [like] a business.

Make-up of Groups C and F depends on Romania's play-off fortunes

But it can get more complicated: the identity of the Pot 4 teams in Groups C and F will depend on whether or not Romania win their Path A play-off. If they do, they'll take their place in C as one of the host nations, and the qualifier from Path D will go into F. If Iceland, Bulgaria or Hungary win Path A, they'll go into F and the victorious country from Path D will complete Group C. 

Some teams already know their group...

As every host nation is certain to play at least two games at home at the Euros, tonight's draw will make sure such countries are directed into the group that their venue has been assigned to, whether that team has already qualified or is still try to reach the finals through the play-offs.

For example, already-qualified England will be in Group D as London is one of its venues, and with Glasgow chosen as the section's other host city, not-yet-qualified Scotland's involvement in the Path C play-offs means that the winners of that four-team match-up are sure to be placed in D, too.

The four pots are as follows:

Pot 1:

Belgium, Italy (hosts), England (hosts), Germany (hosts), Spain (hosts), Ukraine

Pot 2:

France, Poland, Switzerland, Croatia, Netherlands (hosts), Russia (hosts)

Pot 3:

Portugal, Turkey, Denmark (hosts), Austria, Sweden, Czech Republic

Pot 4:

Wales, Finland, winner play-off Path A (Iceland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania), winner play-off Path B (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovakia, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland), winner play-off Path C (Scotland, Norway, Serbia, Israel), winner play-off Path D (Georgia, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Belarus)

The draw explained...

Buckle up.

Six groups of four will be drawn from four, eight-nation pots, which have been filled depending on each country's performance in qualifying.

2020 tournament to be held in 12 cities across Europe

And there are more changes afoot in next summer's tournament, as for the first time in the history of the European Championship, the finals are to take place in more than two nations.

In cities in 12 different countries, to be precise: Rome, Baku, Saint Petersburg, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Bucharest, Bilbao, Dublin, Munich, Budapest, Glasgow and London, where Wembley will hold the semi-finals and final.

Soviet

A much-changed tournament

When the Soviet Union won the inaugural Euros back in 1960, the finals featured just three other teams: runners-up Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and hosts France. Since then, the tournament has steadily expanded: to eight teams in 1980, to 16 in 1996 and to 24, its current size, in 2016.

20 out of 24 Euro 2020 nations confirmed so far...

20 teams have so far booked their spot at the finals, including one nation, Finland, who are making their first appearance at the tournament. The last four teams are to be decided in March's Euro 2020 play-offs, which means the make-up of some of the groups will not be finalised today. More on that shortly...

Good evening!

Welcome to our live coverage of the draw for next summer's European Championship, the 16th edition of a competition that will be celebrating 60 years of existence in 2020.

The draw is scheduled to get underway at 18:00 CET, and, claims UEFA, will last 20 minutes. I'll believe that when I see it.

.