Euro 2020 Qualifier - England Training
Euro 2020 Qualifier - England Training

England and Belgium need just a win as other teams eye progression

Time of article published Oct 8, 2019

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BERLIN  Belgium, England and Italy can qualify for Euro 2020 this week while three more teams have the chance to seal their places if other results go their way.

Russia, Spain and Ukraine are also in the hunt to go through as holders Portugal fret over their participation in a tournament to be played in 12 cities across Europe in June and July next year.

England have one of the easiest tasks to reach the finals, knowing a victory in Prague on Friday will be enough whatever other teams do in Group A.

The Three Lions have won all four of their games so far to top the group by three points from the Czechs.

And though they cruised to a 5-0 win in their first meeting at home back in March, manager Gareth Southgate is not taking anything for granted.

"We do have an opportunity to qualify and if we can get that done this month then we can look towards the number of points we might need to be a seeded team as well," he told the Football Association's website.

"But we can't look any further than Prague initially and making sure we get that game right."

Midfielder Fabian Delph withdrew from the squad on Monday with a hamstring injury but will not be replaced.

Belgium's passage is even simpler. The Group I leaders will go through with a victory at home to San Marino on Thursday or if Kazakhstan and Cyprus draw.

In the same group, Russia will qualify with a win against Scotland in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium if Kazakhstan and Cyprus draw.

Group B looks the most intriguing with surprise packages Ukraine in the lead, five points ahead of defending champions Portugal with Serbia just another point further back.

Ukraine will qualify if they amass four points from their two October matches, at home to Lithuania on Friday and Portugal on Monday.

Even if Portugal somehow slip up at home to Luxembourg on Friday and then lose in Kiev, they will still have another route to the finals if Serbia emerge above them in the second automatic qualifying spot in the group.

Portugal would then enter the 16 team play-offs devised using positions achieved in UEFA's inaugural Nations League tournament which started last year and was won by Cristiano Ronaldo's side.

In Group F, leaders Spain will qualify with a win in Norway on Saturday if Romania fail to beat the Faroe Islands.

Italy, sitting top of Group J with a maximum 18 points, can qualify as they seek a seventh straight win on Saturday against Greece in Rome.

Coach Roberto Mancini has Napoli defender Giovanni Di Lorenzo as a new call-up but has lost Lorenzo Pellegrini, Stefano Sensi and Alessandro Florenzi to injuries.

"I expect a great game against Greece, we'll be playing in Rome for the first time in four years and I want the team to do well," said the coach, who was appointed in May 2018, six months after Italy missed out on the World Cup for the first time in 60 years.

"I hope that the Olimpico is full and it would be fantastic to qualify early. This wasn't a foregone conclusion given where we have come from."

Group C leaders Germany play a friendly against Argentina on Wednesday before travelling to Estonia on Sunday with qualification not yet secure.

Joachim Loew's initial squad has been ravaged by injury and he has been forced to call-up uncapped Freiburg defender Robin Koch and Hoffenhein utility player Sebastian Rudy as cover.

France caused a rumpus in Germany by calling up defender Lucas Hernandez for the Group H clash in Iceland on Friday despite Bayern Munich saying he was injured.

The World Cup winners, second behind Turkey on goal difference, host the Turks in a crucial home clash three days later.

Groups D, E and G also remain open.


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