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Teams who have not automatically qualified for Euro 2020 will be selected and positioned in a play-off Path – A, B, C, D – based on their performance in the UEFA Nations League (position in group, points, goal difference, goals scored etc).

Sixteen nations will be involved in the Euro 2020 play-offs, competing for the final four qualifying spots for next summer’s tournament. It’s complicated, but here’s all you need to know.

Group winners cannot be placed in a play-off Path with teams from a higher League.

Here, we break down the situations, permutations and complications of the Euro 2020 play-off format.

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Scotland and Northern Ireland are currently set to compete in the play-offs, while Republic of Ireland and Wales may also have to rely on the new format.

When and where is Euro 2020?

Teams who have not automatically qualified for Euro 2020 will be selected and positioned in a play-off Path – A, B, C, D – based on their performance in the UEFA Nations League (position in group, points, goal difference, goals scored etc). Sixteen nations will be involved in the play-offs, competing for the final four qualifying spots for the Euro 2020 finals.

If, for example, League A is unable to send four teams through to play-off Path A, the next best-ranked side from League B will move into League A’s play-off Path.

Example: How do the play-offs work?

Group winners cannot be placed in a play-off Path with teams from a higher League. Should a play-off Path include at least one group winner and not have enough teams from the same League, the remaining spots will be allocated by lower League teams. If the matches are level after 90 minutes, extra time and penalties will be used to determine a winner.

The play-offs are played in single-leg knockout matches. The winners of the two semi-finals will meet in a one-off final where the winner will qualify for Euro 2020.

Who plays who in the play-offs?

In a similar format to the EFL play-offs, the highest-ranked team in each Path will host the fourth-ranked team in one semi-final, with the second-ranked nation hosting the third-ranked nation in the other.

UEFA rankings after 18/19 Nations League:

  1.  League A: Switzerland, Portugal, Netherlands, England, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Poland, Germany, Iceland.
  2. League B: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine, Denmark, Sweden, Russia, Austria, Wales.
  3. League C: Scotland, Norway, Serbia, Finland, Bulgaria, Israel, Hungary, Romania.

If the matches are level after 90 minutes, extra time and penalties will be used to determine a winner.

Who’s for automatic qualification to Euro 2020?

The European Qualifiers play-off semi-finals will be held on March 26, 2020 (7.45pm GMT), with the play-off finals taking place on March 31 (7.45pm BST). Twenty of the teams listed above will qualify for Euro 2020 through the European Qualifiers. Here are the nations currently occupying these qualification positions (teams in bold are already through).

  • England, Czech Republic, Ukraine.
  • Portugal, Netherlands, Germany.
  • Denmark, Switzerland, Republic of Ireland.

Who’s heading for the play-offs? From the remaining nations, the four highest-ranked in each Path will contest the play-offs for a place at Euro 2020.

he current European Qualifiers standings mean a draw would be needed to decide which of Bulgaria, Israel or Romania would fill the vacant spot in Path C, and which two would complete Path A.

What does this mean for the Home Nations?

Republic of Ireland and Wales are guaranteed of a play-off spot after recent results, though both could still seal automatic qualification in their final European Qualifier fixture against Denmark and Hungary respectively.

Scotland finished top of Nations League C1, guaranteeing their place in the play-offs and a home semi-final as a highest-ranked nation. As things stand, that would mean a tie against Bulgaria, Israel or Romania on March 26.

Example: Northern Ireland’s

The current European Qualifiers standings mean a draw would be needed to decide which two of Wales, Slovakia, Rep of Ireland or Northern Ireland would join Bosnia & Herzegovina in Path B, and which one would go into Path A. Path A: Iceland, Bulgaria/Israel/Romania, Wales/Slovakia/Republic of Ireland

Scotland’s hopes of qualifying for Euro 2020 via the conventional route may be over, but they have the insurance policy of a Nations League play-off spot already secured.

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