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Euro 2024 qualifying recap: who are the early group leaders? Scotland, France, England...

France and England are expected early front runners-up, while Scotland have sprung an early surprise in Group A after beating Spain.

The future of football kits
Lorraine O'SullivanEFE

Qualifying for the 2024 European Championships, which will take place in Germany in June and July next year, started with an eye-catching result as World Cup runners-up France thrashed the Netherlands in Paris, and ended with another as Scotland downed three-time winners Spain surprisingly comfortably at Hampden Park.

Which teams qualify for the 2024 European Championships?

The majority of the 53 teams taking part in qualification – Germany, as hosts, aren’t involved and Russia are banned due to the country’s invasion of Ukraine – have played twice: let’s take a look at how things stand before the second qualifying double-header comes back around in June.

Remember that the teams play each other home and away, which means that five-team groups will play a total of eight games, with six-team groups playing 10 matches. The top two teams in each group qualify automatically for the finals.

How do things stand in Euro 2024 qualifying?

Group A

Scotland (6 points) are the surprise early pacesetters after following up a home win over Cyprus with an impressive triumph over favourites Spain (3) in Glasgow. Importantly for the Scots, they are already five points clear of Erling Haaland’s Norway (1), who should be their main rivals for the second qualification spot.

Group B

Two wins out of two for France (6), who followed up their thrashing of the Netherlands (3) by defeaing the Republic of Ireland (0) in Dublin. The Dutch bounced back with an expected win over Gibraltar (0), who were also beaten by Greece (3) in their only game so far.

Group C

Qualification specialists England (6) look to be on course to breeze through to the final tournament once again. They impressively won in Italy (3) and comfortably saw off Ukraine (0). Roberto Mancini’s side got off the mark by defeating Malta (0), who also lost to North Macedonia (3) in their sole fixture.

Group D

Croatia (4) and Wales (4) lead the way after drawing in their opening game and then defeating Turkiye (3) and Latvia (0) respectively. The Turks won in Armenia (0) in their first match and sit just a point behind the top two in third spot.

Group E

Czech Republic (4) blew Poland (3) away in the first game of the group but were then held to a goalless draw in Moldova (2), who also drew at home to the Faroe Islands (1). The Poles bounced back with a slender win over Albania (1), who prop up the table but have played only once.

Group F

Austria (6) top the group after home victories against Azerbaijan (0) and Estonia (0), the two weakest sides. Romelu Lukaku scored three times as Belgium (3) impressively won 3-0 in Sweden (3) in the Red Devils’ only match so far. The Swedes followed that defeat up with a 5-0 thrashing of Azerbaijan, who have conceded nine goals in two games.

Group G

Two wins and two clean sheets for Serbia (6), the second of which came away to Montenegro (3), who defeated Bulgaria (0) in their first match. Hungary (3) also beat the Bulgarians and are in second spot in the table on goal difference having only played one match.

Group H

Slovenia (6) are in first spot after wins in Kazakhstan (3) and at home to San Marino (0). The Kazakhs surprisingly beat Denmark (3), with Finland (3) and Northern Ireland (3) completing the list of four teams on three points from their first two matches.

Group I

The only group in which two countries have won their first two games. Switzerland (6) and Romania (6) are the teams in question. No other nation has recorded a victory so far, with third-placed Kosovo (2), who have drawn twice, already four points adrift of the automatic qualification places.

Group J

Portugal (6) have stormed to the top of Group J, helped by playing minnows Liechtenstein (0) and Luxembourg (0) in their opening two games. Cristiano Ronaldo scored four goals in 4-0 and 6-0 wins respectively. Slovakia (4) are in second spot in the standings, a point ahead of Bosnia and Herzegovina (3) and Iceland (3), who have won once and lost once so far.