Ireland get lucky in Euro 2020 draw

Host nation rule sees Ireland avoid Group of Death

Originally drawn in Group C alongside the Netherlands and Germany, Mick McCarthy’s side were moved to Group D as no more than two host nations can play in the same group. Video: Euro 2020

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The Republic of Ireland avoided the ‘Group of Death’ in the Euro 2020 qualifying draw on Sunday morning, but only just. Originally drawn in Group C alongside the Netherlands and Germany, Mick McCarthy’s side were moved to Group D as no more than two host nations can play in the same group.

Ireland’s good luck proved not so fortunate for Northern Ireland, who were next out of the hat and automatically placed in Group C. While Michael O’Neill’s side face a daunting task to qualify from a group containing the Netherlands and Germany, the Republic will meet Switzerland, Denmark, Georgia and Gibraltar.

Three-times champions Spain were drawn in Group F with Sweden, Norway and Romania. England, one of the other in-form teams from the Nations League, face the Czech Republic and Bulgaria in Group A.

The top two teams from each group qualify automatically. Unlike previous tournaments, the play-offs to decide the four other spots will be contested between the most successful teams from the four divisions of the Nations League who have not already qualified.

The new format offers a potential back door for any top side that struggles in qualifying, while also handing the leading minnows from the lowest division - Kosovo, Georgia, Belarus and Macedonia - a crack at the last qualification place.

The finals will take place in 12 different cities stretching from Bilbao in Spain to Baku in Azerbaijan. For the first time in the competition’s history, the tournament will be hosted by more than two countries to mark its 60th anniversary.

No team will qualify automatically as hosts, although every host country that qualifies will be guaranteed two home games in the group phase. The Euro 2020 final will be held at London’s Wembley Stadium.

GROUP A

England, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Kosovo.

GROUP B

Portugal, Ukraine, Serbia, Lithuania, Luxembourg.

GROUP C

Netherlands, Germany, Northern Ireland, Estonia, Belarus.

GROUP D

Switzerland, Denmark, Ireland, Georgia, Gibraltar.

GROUP E

Croatia, Wales, Slovakia, Hungary, Azerbaijan.

GROUP F

Spain, Sweden, Norway, Romania, Faroe Islands.

GROUP G

Poland, Austria, Israel, Slovenia, Macedonia, Latvia.

GROUP H

France, Iceland,Turkey, Albania, Moldova, Andorra.

GROUP I

Belgium, Russia, Scotland, Cyprus, Kazakhstan, San Marino.

GROUP J

Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Finland, Greece, Armenia, Liechtenstein.

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