We are getting closer and closer to the finish of the qualification process for the European Championships that will take place next summer.
The home nations are led by England and Scotland, with Scotland being one of a select group of nations that has a chance to book their spot in the finals in Germany during the next round of matches. England is also in the lead for the home nations.
While England is currently in first place in Group C, Scotland is currently on top of Group A with a perfect record. Wales is still in the running, but both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland’s hopes are hanging by a thread at this point.
Two teams will advance from each group, with a total of twenty-four teams competing in the tournament the following summer.
The host nation, Germany, will be granted automatic qualification for the tournament, while the other three berths will be determined through play-offs. The remaining 12 teams will be selected based on their performance in the 2022-2023 Nations League.
The information that you need to know about how qualifying is progressing and the upcoming important matches can be found on BBC Sport’s website.
With a perfect record of five wins out of five, Scotland is in fantastic form.
To keep their unblemished record intact, Steve Clarke’s team dispatched Cyprus with a 3-0 victory on September 8, just as they had done in the previous meeting at Hampden Park in March.
They could have qualified on September 12 without even having to play a game, but Norway’s victory over Georgia prevented them from enjoying such an advantage.
Scotland is aware that they can guarantee their spot in the European Championships for a second year in a row with a victory on Thursday in Spain, a team that they previously defeated at home in March. They will also qualify for the tournament if the team currently in third position, Norway, fails to win in Cyprus.
Spain gave themselves a huge boost by defeating Georgia by a score of 7-1 on September 8 and then defeating Cyprus by a score of 6-0 four days later.
Although England is now in first place in their group, their perfect record of victories was broken on September 9 when they played Ukraine to a 1-1 tie in Poland.
The team managed by Gareth Southgate now holds a lead of six points over Italy, Ukraine, and North Macedonia; however, Italy has a game in hand over each of the other countries.
The next international break will not include any games for England, but on Tuesday they will play host to the reigning European champions, Italy, in a match that has the potential to decide who will hold the top spot.
On September 9, Italy played North Macedonia, the team that kept them from qualifying for the World Cup the previous year, and were held to a draw by them. Italy’s new manager, Luciano Spalletti, was in charge of the match. But a later victory over Ukraine at home by a score of 2-1 propelled Italy into second place.
Before departing for England, they play host to the minnows in Malta.
If Wales hopes to compete in the finals, they still have some work to do. They helped themselves tremendously by winning 2-0 in Latvia on September 11, but they are still three points behind the second place team in Group D as they compete against three other teams for a spot in the next round.
People in charge Wales, coached by Rob Page, will play home to Croatia on Sunday. The Croats have a game in hand, but their first match after the next international break is against Turkey, who are in second place. This might leave the door open for Wales to take the lead in the group.
The chances of Northern Ireland advancing out of Group H are practically nonexistent at this point.
During the most recent break for international competition, they suffered defeats in Slovenia and Kazakhstan, which has resulted in them having just three points after six games and being 10 points behind the leaders, Slovenia and Denmark.
It will no longer be possible for Michael O’Neill’s team to qualify for the tournament if they are unable to defeat San Marino on Saturday or if both Denmark and Slovenia win their respective matches.
After suffering defeats at the hands of Group B’s top two teams—France and the Netherlands—in September, the Republic of Ireland has only managed to win one of their five games in the competition.
If Stephen Kelly’s team loses on Friday against Greece in their own stadium, or if they draw and the Netherlands defeat France, they will no longer be in the running for a spot in the finals.
The Netherlands improved their chances of qualifying for the tournament by picking up two victories during the most recent international break, while France hold a perfect record after five games played.
If France beats the Netherlands or draws with them and Greece loses in Ireland, France will advance to the next round.
After winning 1-0 against Azerbaijan on September 9 and 5-0 against Estonia on September 13, Belgium is in first place in Group F, tied for the lead with Austria in terms of points.
The top two teams will face each other in the next match, and both teams are aware that three points will guarantee qualifying for the winner.
Sweden, which is currently in third position, will not play again until Monday, when they will take on Belgium.
Portugal has been victorious in all six of their Group J matches, earning 24 goals while allowing none to their opponents.
During the most recent break for international competition, they began with a victory of 1-0 against Slovakia and continued with a thrashing of 9-0 over Luxembourg.
They will be able to qualify for the tournament if they win their match against Slovakia on Friday, or if they draw and Luxembourg is defeated by Iceland.
Switzerland’s progress in Group I was temporarily halted when they played to a 2-2 draw in Kosovo during the September break. However, they quickly recovered and won their next match, which allowed them to maintain their lead over Andorra by two points.
Their primary competitors, Romania and Israel, played to a 1-1 draw in their first match, and then both won their second match, effectively turning the competition into a three-horse race.
This time around, the first set of games will not be used to determine who qualifies for the next round.
In view of the current security situation in the country, UEFA has decided to postpone Israel’s match against Switzerland that was scheduled to take place at home. Additionally, it is possible that Israel’s journey to Kosovo will also be called off.
Both Hungary and Serbia have emerged as the top teams in Group G, but following their victory in Belgrade on September 7th, Hungary currently hold the upper hand. They have a better goal difference than their opponents, plus they have a game in hand.
The third-placed team, Montenegro, had a setback when they tied in Lithuania, but they bounced back with a victory over Bulgaria and are still in the running.
The fact that Hungary will be playing host to Serbia on Saturday makes Montenegro’s game in Serbia three days later all the more important.
In Group E, where the gap between first and fourth place is only four points, there is a lot of room for unexpected outcomes.
The upcoming international break will feature several important matches, including the current leaders, Albania, taking on the Czech Republic, which is now in second place, on Thursday, and the current fourth-place team, Poland, playing host to the current third-place team, Moldova, three days later.