2016 European Championship Qualifiers: Group A
This group has thrown up some surprises already with the Netherlands and Turkey – two teams that most people would have predicted to qualify – struggling down in third and fourth places respectively in the group. They face each other over the weekend with both knowing that anything less than a win will leave their qualification chances in peril. The Czech Republic currently top the group with 12 points from 12 followed by dark horses Iceland and both should continue their good runs with the leaders hosting Latvia and Iceland travelling to bottom side Kazakhstan.
Group B is an extremely competitive group with only minnows Andorra not standing any chance of making it to the finals. 2014 World Cup qualifiers Bosnia have had a poor start and only have two points from their first four matches so they will be hoping to bag their first win at Andorra. Leaders Israel have 100% record from their three matches and will host unbeaten Wales who sit in second place on 8 points. Cyprus are in third place two points further back and they travel to Belgium this weekend with the ‘Red Devils’ hoping to improve on their haul of five points. Belgium should win this one and if they beat Israel on Tuesday they will be right back in it.
Group C seems more straightforward with three teams battling for two places. The current holders of the European crown, Spain, beat Ukraine 1-0 last night which saw them move them up to second place behind group leaders Slovakia who easily defeated Luxembourg 3-0. Spain host Slovakia in September which will go a long way in deciding which team will finish top of this group.
Group D probably comes closest to the ‘group of death’ in these qualifying rounds with Poland leading the group with 10 points from four games – that’s three ahead of Germany, Scotland and Ireland. With only two sides making it to the finals it is still a difficult group to predict which is demonstrated by the fact that if the Republic of Ireland beat Poland at home on Sunday and Germany and Scotland beat Georgia and Gibraltar (which they both should) then four teams will all have the same amount of points at the halfway stage of the group. A tight one to call indeed.
England crushed Lithuania 4-0 last night and they are running away with the group with five wins from five. Slovenia and Switzerland are in second place on nine points and it seems clear that it will be between these two nations to claim the runners-up spot and qualification in the group above Lithuania, Estonia and San Marino.
Romania top group F with 10 points from their first four matches. Behind them Northern Ireland, Hungary and Finland will all fancy their chances of claiming second spot as Greece, who made the second round at Brazil 2014, languish in last place behind the Faroe Islands on one point.
Austria are comfortably leading group G as they find themselves four points clear of a group that also includes Sweden, Russia and Montenegro. Sweden won away in Moldova last night but the match between Montenegro and Russia was abandoned last night after the Russian goalkeeper was hit by a flare and players were involved in a brawl. It will be interesting to see how UEFA reacts to this incident.
Only one point separates the top three sides in Group H with Croatia ahead of Italy on goal difference; with Norway a point back in third. It seems that these three sides will battle it out for the two qualification spots but if Bulgaria defeat Italy this weekend then they will be right back in the qualification race.
There are only five teams in Group I and currently Denmark lead the group with seven points from four games, followed by Portugal on six from three matches and Albania on four. Surprisingly, Serbia find themselves joint bottom with Armenia on one point so they will have to get something from their trip to Portugal this weekend or they could find themselves out of contention by the halfway mark.
- Download the Countries and Adjectives worksheet here
has thrown up some surprises: There have been some unexpected results
face each other: Play against each other
in peril: In danger
top the group: Lead the group; are leading
hosting: Playing at home
competitive: Fairly equal; many teams could win
to bag their first win: To earn a win; to win
sit in second place: Are second
‘Red Devils’: The nickname of Belgium
their haul of five points: Their collection; their total
they will be right back in it: They will have a good chance of qualifying (‘it’ here refers to the race for qualification)
straightforward: Clear cut; easy to understand
A tight one to call: It is so close that it is difficult to predict (call)
are running away with: Easily winning, dominating
to claim the runners-up spot: To earn; to finish second and then qualify for the finals
fancy their chances: Think they have a possibility of making it to the finals
languish in last place: Struggle at the foot of the table
was abandoned: Called off after having started it – the game may be played again at a later date
a flare: It is like a firework
were involved in a brawl: Fighting
they will be right back in the qualification race: They will have a good chance of qualifying
joint bottom: Equal bottom (both teams have only one point)
out of contention: Have no chance of qualification
- You can find some more worksheets on nationalities here (from the 2010 World Cup)
- UEFA’s 2016 European Championship home page
- The World Factbook includes information on country names and adjectives used to describe them.