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THE ROAD TO GERMANY

A one-stop guide to the European groups

feature by Glen Isherwood 

All fixtures are Wednesday 12th October 2005.

GROUP 1

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

PTS.

NETHERLANDS

11

10

1

0

27

3

31

Romania

12

8

1

3

20

10

25

Czech Republic

11

8

0

3

32

12

24

Finland

11

5

1

5

21

16

16

Macedonia

11

2

2

7

11

24

8

Andorra

11

1

2

8

4

31

5

Armenia

11

1

1

9

6

25

4

Fixtures:

ANDORRA v. ARMENIA

(Andorra) – 4PM (3PM BST)

FINLAND v. CZECH REPUBLIC

(Helsinki) – 8:30PM (6:30PM BST)

NETHERLANDS v. MACEDONIA

(Amsterdam) – 7:30PM (6:30PM BST)

Netherlands qualified on Saturday, by beating Czech Republic. They have now won the group.

Czech Republic have to win in Helsinki to finish second. A point is not good enough, because Romania have a better head-to-head record against them.

Romania have completed their fixtures and need Finland to prevent Czech Republic from winning, in order to finish second.

Best Runners-Up

Czech Republic or Romania could finish runners-up. Because there are seven teams in this group, the bottom side’s results have to be excluded, when determining qualifying points for best runner-up. Armenia must win their last game, in Andorra, to prevent their own results from being excluded. Otherwise, Andorra’s results will be excluded. Currently, the runner-up qualification table is as below if Armenia finish bottom:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

PTS.

Romania

10

7

0

3

16

9

21

Czech Republic

9

6

0

3

25

11

18

The runner-up qualification table if Andorra finish bottom:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

PTS.

Romania

10

6

1

3

13

9

19

Czech Republic

9

6

0

3

20

11

18

Czech Republic can get a maximum of 27 points and still finish runners-up. Regardless of which team finishes bottom of the group, this would give them 21 qualifying points.

Romania have finished on 25 points (less 4 points if Armenia finish bottom and 6 if Andorra). This gives them either 19 or 21 qualifying points.

Minimum points as runners-up:

Czech Republic – 27 (21 qualifying points)

Romania – 25 (19 or 21 qualifying points)

Whoever finishes runner-up is therefore, guaranteed, at least, 19 qualifying points.

GROUP 2

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

PTS.

UKRAINE

12

7

4

1

18

7

25

Turkey

11

5

5

1

22

9

20

Denmark

11

5

4

2

22

11

19

Greece

11

5

3

3

14

9

18

Albania

11

4

1

6

11

19

13

Georgia

11

2

4

5

14

24

10

Kazakhstan

11

0

1

10

5

27

1

Fixtures:

ALBANIA v. TURKEY

(Tiranλ) – 6PM (5PM BST)

GREECE v. GEORGIA

(Athens) – 7PM (5PM BST)

KAZAKHSTAN v. DENMARK

(Almaty) – 10PM (5PM BST)

Ukraine have already won this group and have completed their fixtures.

Denmark, Greece and Turkey all have a chance of finishing runners-up to Ukraine.

Turkey can secure a play-off spot with victory in Tiranλ.

Denmark have to win in Kazakhstan and hope that Turkey fail to win. They could finish second with a draw, but Greece would have to drop points and Turkey would have to lose by at least, two goals.

Greece have to beat Georgia, but are dependent on Denmark failing to win in Kazakhstan, and Turkey losing in Albania, unless they can bridge the goal-difference gap by putting, at least, eight goals past Georgia, in the event of Turkey getting a point in Albania.

Best Runners-Up

Because there are seven teams in this group, the bottom side’s results have to be excluded, when determining qualifying points for best runner-up. Kazakhstan have lost all their qualifiers, so a potential best runner-up would have 6 points deducted to give them their qualifying total (although Denmark have still to play them).

Currently, the runner-up qualification table is as below:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

PTS.

Denmark

10

4

4

2

19

11

16

Turkey

9

3

5

1

12

9

14

Greece

9

3

3

3

9

7

12

Denmark can get a maximum of 22 points (16 qualifying points).

Greece can get a maximum of 21 points (15 qualifying points).

Turkey can get a maximum of 23 points (17 qualifying points).

Minimum points as runners-up:

Denmark – 20 (16 qualifying points)

Greece – 21 (15 qualifying points)

Turkey – 20 (14 qualifying points)

Whoever finishes runner-up is therefore, guaranteed, at least, 14 qualifying points.

GROUP 3

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

PTS.

PORTUGAL

11

8

3

0

32

5

27

Slovakia

11

6

4

1

24

8

22

Russia

11

6

4

1

23

12

22

Latvia

11

4

3

4

18

18

15

Estonia

11

4

2

5

14

17

14

Liechtenstein

12

2

2

8

13

23

8

Luxembourg

11

0

0

11

5

46

0

Fixtures:

LUXEMBOURG v. ESTONIA

(Luxembourg) – 8:15PM (7:15PM BST)

PORTUGAL v. LATVIA

(Porto) – 7:30PM

SLOVAKIA v. RUSSIA

(Bratislava) – 8:30PM (7:30PM BST)

Portugal qualified on Saturday by beating Liechtenstein.

Slovakia need only a point against Russia to pip them to a play-off place on goal-difference. Their head-to-head records are the same.

Russia have to win in Bratislava to stay in the competition.

Best Runners-Up

Because there are seven teams in this group, the bottom side’s results have to be excluded, when determining qualifying points for best runner-up. Luxembourg have lost all their qualifiers, so a potential best runner-up would have 6 points deducted to give them their qualifying total.

Russia or Slovakia will finish runners-up.

Currently, the runner-up qualification table is as below:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

PTS.

Slovakia

9

4

4

1

17

7

16

Russia

9

4

4

1

14

11

16

Russia or Slovakia could gain 25 points and finish runners-up. This would give them 19 qualifying points.

Minimum points as runners-up:

Russia – 25 (19 qualifying points)

Slovakia – 23 (17 qualifying points)

Whoever finishes runner-up is therefore, guaranteed, at least, 17 qualifying points.

GROUP 4

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

PTS.

Israel

10

4

6

0

15

10

18

Switzerland

9

4

5

0

18

7

17

France

9

4

5

0

10

2

17

Republic of Ireland

9

4

4

1

12

5

16

Cyprus

9

1

1

7

8

16

4

Faroe Islands

10

0

1

9

4

27

1

Fixtures:

FRANCE v. CYPRUS

(Paris) – 8:45PM (7:45PM BST)

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND v. SWITZERLAND

(Dublin) – 7:45PM

Israel have completed their fixtures and need France to lose at home to Cyprus if they are to clinch a play-off spot, whilst the game in Dublin must end in a draw. They cannot win the group, even though they are currently top.

Switzerland need to win in Dublin and maintain their goal-difference advantage over France to be certain of qualifying. A point will only take them to Germany, if France also fail to win, but it will guarantee them a play-off, at least.

France have to beat Cyprus by four clear goals to qualify, unless Switzerland fail to win in Dublin. In which case, the win against Cyprus would be enough to take the French to Germany. A draw guarantees them a play-off. Defeat will eliminate them.

Republic of Ireland have to beat Switzerland to secure a play-off place and they could win the group, if Cyprus can avoid defeat in Paris.

Best Runners-Up

Maximum points as runners-up:

France and Switzerland – 20 points

Israel – 18 points

Republic of Ireland – 19 points

Whoever finishes runner-up is guaranteed, at least, 18 points.

GROUP 5

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

PTS.

ITALY

9

6

2

1

15

7

20

Norway

9

4

3

2

11

7

15

Slovenia

9

3

3

3

10

10

12

Belarus

9

2

4

3

12

13

10

Scotland

9

2

4

3

6

7

10

Moldova

9

1

2

6

4

14

5

Fixtures:

BELARUS v. NORWAY

(Minsk) – 9:30PM (7:30PM BST)

ITALY v. MOLDOVA

(Lecce) – 8:30PM (7:30PM BST)

SLOVENIA v. SCOTLAND

(Celje) – 8:30PM (7:30PM BST)

Italy qualified on Saturday by beating Slovenia.

Norway secured a play-off place when they beat Moldova. Slovenia cannot catch them because of Norway’s head-to-head record against them (6-2).

Best Runners-Up

Maximum points as runners-up:

Norway – 18 points (not enough to qualify them as a best runner-up)

Minimum points as runners-up:

Norway – 15

GROUP 6

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

PTS.

POLAND

9

8

0

1

26

7

24

ENGLAND

9

7

1

1

15

4

22

Austria

9

3

3

3

13

12

12

Northern Ireland

9

2

3

4

10

16

9

Wales

9

1

2

6

8

15

5

Azerbaijan

9

0

3

6

1

19

3

Fixtures:

AUSTRIA v. NORTHERN IRELAND

(Vienna) – 8:30PM (7:30PM BST)

ENGLAND v. POLAND

(Manchester) – 7:45PM

WALES v. AZERBAIJAN

(Caerdydd) – 7:45PM

England and Poland have already secured the top two places.

To win the group, England must beat Poland. If they do not, Poland will take the top slot.

Best Runners-Up

England can get a maximum of 23 points as runners-up.

Poland have to remain on 24 points to finish runners-up.

Minimum points as runners-up:

England – 22

Poland – 24

Whoever finishes runner-up is therefore, guaranteed, at least, 22 points.

GROUP 7 

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

PTS.

Serbia and Montenegro

9

5

4

0

15

1

19

Spain

9

4

5

0

13

3

17

Bosnia-Herzegovina

9

4

4

1

12

8

16

Belgium

9

3

2

4

15

10

11

Lithuania

9

2

3

4

7

8

9

San Marino

9

0

0

9

2

34

0

Fixtures:

LITHUANIA v. BELGIUM

(Vilnius) – 9:30PM (7:30PM BST)

SAN MARINO v. SPAIN

(Serravalle) – 8:30PM (7:30PM BST)

SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO v. BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

(Belgrade) – 8:30PM (7:30PM BST)

Serbia and Montenegro have to beat their neighbours from Bosnia-Herzegovina to be certain of qualifying. If they draw, they are reliant on Spain failing to pip them on goal-difference in San Marino. Should they lose, they will only make the play-offs if Spain fail to win.

Spain have to win by four goals to qualify, if the Serbs pick up a point. A win by less than four goals will only be enough if Serbia lose. Should Spain fail to win, they will qualify for the play-offs, unless Bosnia win in Belgrade (or in the highly unlikely event of Spain slipping behind Bosnia on goal-difference).

Bosnia-Herzegovina can qualify by winning in Belgrade, if Spain fail to beat San Marino. If Spain win, Bosnia would then qualify for the play-offs, which they could also reach with a draw, together with a miraculous five-goal San Marino victory.

Best Runners-Up

Maximum points as runners-up:

Bosnia-Herzegovina – 19 points

Serbia and Montenegro – 20 points

Spain – 20 points

Minimum points as runners-up:

Bosnia-Herzegovina and Spain – 17

Serbia and Montenegro – 19

Whoever finishes runner-up is therefore, guaranteed, at least, 17 points.

GROUP 8

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

PTS.

CROATIA

9

7

2

0

21

5

23

Sweden

9

7

0

2

27

3

21

Bulgaria

9

4

2

3

16

16

14

Hungary

9

4

1

4

13

14

13

Iceland

9

1

1

7

13

24

4

Malta

9

0

2

7

3

31

2

Fixtures:

HUNGARY v. CROATIA

(Budapest) – 7:30PM (6:30PM BST)

MALTA v. BULGARIA

(Ta’Qali) – 7PM (6PM BST)

SWEDEN v. ICELAND

(Stockholm) – 7:30PM (6:30PM BST)

Croatia qualified on Saturday by beating Sweden, because their points tally of 23 can only be bettered by England or Poland as one of the best two runners-up. Because of their superior head-to-head record against Sweden, Croatia need only a point in Budapest to win the group, which they will win anyway, if Sweden don’t beat Iceland.

Sweden need only a point to secure their trip to Germany, because it will elevate them into a best runners-up placing, though they will almost certainly qualify on goal-difference even if they lose. To win the group, they must win and hope Croatia lose in Budapest.

Best Runners-Up

Maximum points as runners-up:

Croatia – 23 points

Sweden – 24 points

Minimum points as runners-up:

Croatia – 23

Sweden – 21

Whoever finishes runner-up is therefore, guaranteed, at least, 21 points.

RUNNERS-UP QUALIFICATION

These are the current qualifying records of all the teams in contention for best runner-up:

Group

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

PTS.

6

Poland

9

8

0

1

26

7

24

8

Croatia

9

7

2

0

21

5

23

6

England

9

7

1

1

15

4

22

8

Sweden

9

7

0

2

27

3

21

7

Serbia and Montenegro

9

5

4

0

15

1

19

1

Romania*

10

6

1

3

13

9

19

1

Czech Republic*

9

6

0

3

20

11

18

4

Israel

10

4

6

0

15

10

18

4

Switzerland

9

4

5

0

18

7

17

7

Spain

9

4

5

0

13

3

17

4

France

9

4

5

0

10

2

17

3

Slovakia

9

4

4

1

17

7

16

2

Denmark

10

4

4

2

19

11

16

4

Republic of Ireland

9

4

4

1

12

5

16

7

Bosnia-Herzegovina

9

4

4

1

12

8

16

3

Russia

9

4

4

1

14

11

16

5

Norway

9

4

3

2

11

7

15

2

Turkey

9

3

5

1

12

9

14

2

Greece

9

3

3

3

9

7

12

* the records of the teams in Group 1 are the minimum goals and points that will count, regardless of whether Andorra or Armenia finish bottom.

These are the maximum possible qualifying points for each runner-up:

24 – Poland, Sweden

23 – Croatia, England

21 – Czech Republic, Romania

20 – France, Serbia and Montenegro, Spain, Switzerland

19 – Bosnia-Herzegovina, Republic of Ireland, Russia, Slovakia

18 – Israel, Norway

17 – Turkey

16 – Denmark

15 – Greece

The minimum and maximum qualifying points that can be won by each group:

Group

Minimum

Maximum

1

19

21

2

14

17

3

17

19

4

18

20

5

15

18

6

22

24

7

17

20

8

21

24

Looking at the minimum possible qualifying runners-up points above, there are two groups (Groups 6 and 8), which are guaranteed runners-up points of, at least, 22 and 21, respectively. So, any team which cannot reach 21 points, cannot qualify as a best runner-up and if they can’t win the group either, then they can only qualify via the play-offs. This only leaves Groups 1, 6 and 8 to produce the best runners-up. Only the following nations can, therefore, qualify as one of the two best runners-up:

Croatia, Czech Republic, England, Poland, Romania and Sweden

Of these, Croatia, England and Poland have already qualified. Group 6 (England or Poland) has to provide one of the best runners-up, because only the runner-up from Group 8 (Croatia or Sweden) can get more points. Which leaves Group 1 (Czech Republic and Romania) to contest the final place with Group 8.

If Sweden gain a point against Iceland, they finish second in Group 8 with 22 points, a total which neither Czech Republic nor Romania can reach, so that would be enough to qualify them. Should they beat Iceland and end up winning the group, Croatia would take the final runners-up place, but still ahead of the teams in Group 1.

Sweden can even afford to lose to Iceland, because of their goal-difference of 27-3, compared to the Group 1 contenders, who, dependent on which team finishes bottom of their group, have the following goal-difference totals:

            Czech Republic – 25-11 or 20-11

            Romania – 16-9

Romania will only be in contention if Armenia fail to win in Andorra. This will leave Armenia bottom of Group 1 and allow Romania to add the six points won against Andorra to bring them up to 21 qualifying points. They must also, of course, finish runners-up, so the Czech Republic must also fail to win in Helsinki.

The Czech Republic would have to make up a goal-difference of, at best, ten goals (15, if Andorra finish bottom of Group 1) to catch Sweden, so, unless some very unusual results occur, it would be quite safe to say that Sweden have already qualified and that Czech Republic or Romania will be in the play-offs.

____________________

GI