The 2016 UEFA European Championship qualifying draw took place
in Nice on Sunday, 23 February 2014.
Euro 2016, which is being hosted by
France, will be made up of 24 nations, an increase from 16 previously.
Seedings have been decided by UEFA's coefficient system, which is
different from FIFA's world ranking and takes into account results from
the 2010 World Cup right through to qualification for the 2014 World
France will also take part in
qualifying, the first hosts to do so after a rule change, although no
qualifying points will rest on their fixtures. They will play in the
finals whatever the outcome of their games. Explaining the recent rule
change, UEFA president Michel Platini said it was brought in because the
hosts, who are normally exempt from qualifying, have found it hard to
arrange friendlies in the past. He added that France will join the group
that includes five teams. None of England, Germany, Italy, Spain or the
Netherlands will be in that group for television rights reasons. The
other eight groups will contain six teams.
Gibraltar, taking part for the first
time after being accepted as a UEFA member last year, will be kept apart
from neighbours Spain in qualifying to avoid exacerbating political
tensions. Azerbaijan and Armenia will also be kept apart for the same
reason, but Russia and Georgia, who do not share diplomatic ties
following conflict between the two former Soviet republics in 2008, have
agreed to play each other if drawn in the same pot.
There is also a change to the Euro 2016
fixture schedule, with qualifying matches spread over six days rather
than being played on just Fridays and Tuesdays. To ensure a place at
Euro 2016, nations must finish in the top two in their group. The best
third-placed finisher also qualifies before the remaining eight
third-placed teams go into the play-offs in November 2015.
The qualification period runs from 7
September 2014 until 13 October 2015. The play-offs will be held over
two legs in November, with the draw for the main tournament being held
on 12 December 2015. It all gets under way in France on 10 June 2016.
Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, England, Portugal,
Greece, Russia, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Luxembourg, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Faroe Islands,
Malta, Andorra, San Marino, Gibraltar.
Iceland, Northern Ireland, Albania, Lithuania, Moldova,
FYR Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Cyprus.
Montenegro, Armenia, Scotland, Finland, Latvia, Wales,
Bulgaria, Estonia, Belarus.
Serbia, Turkey, Slovenia, Israel, Norway, Slovakia,
Romania, Austria, Poland.
Ukraine, Croatia, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Belgium,
Czech Republic, Hungary, Republic of Ireland.