By: Raziq K.
With the UEFA European qualifiers coming to a wrap, the teams that have made it are set in their respected groups. 19 teams have already made it in, meaning that they were one of the top 2 teams with the highest points in their group. There are also 8 more teams fighting for 4 spots left in the tournament. They will be having their playoff games in the second week of November, playing each other twice, once with home-field advantage and one without. The teams played their qualifying round with 10 games with an exception of one group playing only 8 due to an odd number of countries.
Teams that have qualified:
- Czech Republic
- Northern Ireland
Teams going into playoffs:
- Republic of Ireland
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
With majority of the teams set for the Euro tournament, which teams have the best chance at winning the tournament that happens once every 4 years. There are some crowd favorites that have been prominent in the past Euro tournament, the FIFA World Cup, and the Summer Olympics. The team defending their title for the second consecutive time in a row is Spain, who has won the last 2 Euro Tournament and the 2010 World Cup, winning 3 major international tournaments in succession. In the qualifying round, Spain came with a booming 9 – 1 record in their group scoring 23 goals and letting in 3 over the span of 10 games. They will be defending their title this tournament after 8 years holding the gold medals.
Surprisingly, England had a magnificent record going undefeated at 10 – 0, scoring a total of 31 goals and also allowing 3 goals, same to Spain. England has been on a little drought the past couple years, not making it far on the World Cup’s recently, and not placing in any of the recent Euro’s. England has won the 1966 World Cup, as they hosted the finals beating Germany 4-2 in extra time. Since England has never actually won the Euro, with a 10 – 0 start to the tournament this might just be their lucky year, as they have the skill and momentum to come out with a gold.
Some of the other favored teams are Portugal, Italy, and Germany. Germany has been on an elevator only going up, as they have won 4 FIFA World Cups including the recent 2014 one, and 3 Euros. Germany has placed second in the Euro 3 times, and four times in the World Cup, being one of the most successful and accomplished international soccer team in international competitions. In World Cup history, Italy takes the title for most accomplished as they have won 4 World Cup’s, and 2 silver medals. In 1938 they became the only team to successfully defend their previous World Cup tournament victory, and due to the outbreak of World War II, they remarkably retained the title for a record 16 years. Portugal hasn’t had much accomplishment, but with Ronaldo on their team, they are always a crowd favorite, and a fun, exciting team to watch on the field. They have made it to the finals of the 2004 Euro, falling short to Greece at home. And in the 2012 Euro, They feel short again to the eventual champions Spain in penalty shots after a 0-0 game.
23 teams will make it to the tournament, but only 1 team will eventually win the 2016 European Championships this June.