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Tuesday, 06 September 2011

Who's Going To Be At Euro 2012?


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The qualifying groups for Euro 2012 are reaching the business end and it's becoming a little clearer which players will be in Poland and Ukraine and which ones will be spending extra time on the beach.

Places Booked

As usual Germany have headed the way in qualification. Aside from a sticky period around the Millennium, the Germans breeze through qualification for major tournaments - even after England dumped them 5-1 in 2001 they still made it to the 2002 World Cup.

Once again Joachim Low's squad have made light work of the task and eight wins on the bounce made them the first automatic attendee, joining the two hosts.

Nearly There

Spain and the Netherlands also boast 100% records in their sections and barring a Devon Loch scenario, the 2010 World Cup finalists will both be at Euro 2012. An England win over Wales would be enough to just about guarantee Fabio Capello another chance to prove his credentials as a tournament coach.

Italy have the whip hand in their section and a win over Slovenia will make things secure. France are being kept honest by Bosnia-Hercegovina but Edin Dzeko and co will probably have to settle for a play-off.

Work Still To Do

Russia are making the pace in their section but they haven't closed off the challenge from the Republic of Ireland and Slovakia. Greece and Croatia are slugging it out for the automatic place in Group F and the toughest section to predict is the three-way contest between Portugal, Norway and Denmark in Group H.

Playing For Second

Spain's  form means the Czech Republic are playing for the play-off berth in Group G and their loss to Wales on Saturday has left Montenegro with the runners-up spot as their realistic ambition behind England.

Sweden have the edge on Hungary in the race to finish behind the Dutch and Serbia can still climb to the runners-up berth behind Italy if the Azzuri see off Slovenia.

In Serious Trouble

The long absences of Scotland and Northern Ireland from tournament finals seem set to continue after the weekend results. The Scots were desperately unlucky not to beat the Czechs at Hampden while Serbia ground out a win at Windsor Park. Both need something miraculous from here. Wales boosted morale by beating Montenegro but are long since out of contention.

Belgium or Turkey won't even make a play-off place in Group A and Romania are well back in Group D. In England's section the Swiss have a lot to do to overhaul Montenegro and will need a big favour from Capello's men.

Goners

As well as the usual suspects (Luxembourg, San Marino etc) Bulgaria are out of contention after their limp effort at the weekend and Austria showed that hosting the last event was a masterstroke to ensure qualification. After going close under Roy Hodgson Finland have reverted to type and are still way short of their first tournament finals.

Latvia shocked everyone - and especially Turkey - by finding a way to Euro 2004, but the Baltic state won't repeat the feat in 2012 as they lie 5th of 6 in their section with just two wins.

Related Articles:

Is summer football the future for Scotland?

Can Norway see off their main rivals?

Will Joe Cole find success in France?

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Hugh Larkin

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