twenty tickets to be distributed, with safety net for Orange
A more beautiful match to kick off qualification for the European Championships could hardly be imagined. Italy meets England, in a reprise of the previous European Championship final.
And there are seven more matches on Thursday leading up to the final tournament in Germany next summer.
Ten groups, twenty tickets
The format is initially simple. Of all ten pools, the best two countries qualify directly for the final round. The Netherlands is placed in Group B, with France, Greece, Ireland and Gibraltar.
Germany as the host country is already qualified, Russia is excluded from participation because of the invasion of Ukraine. Belarus does participate as usual.
Check out Orange’s pool and playing schedule below:
So 21 of the 24 tickets have been given away after the pool phase. The distribution of the final three places will be via playoffs.
The allocation of teams eligible for the playoffs does involve a complicated calculation model. This is because the performance from the Nations League is taken into account.
All countries that have won their groups in the Nations League are already certain of the playoffs if they fail to secure a ticket to the European Championship through regular qualification. If they do qualify, other countries advance to the playoffs based on the Nations League results.
After the group stage, the field of participants begins to take shape:
As group winner in the Nations League, the Netherlands therefore has the playoffs as a safety net no matter what, should national coach Ronald Koeman’s team fail to finish first or second in the European Championship qualification group. That also applies to groupmate Greece, by the way.
The group stage ends for the Netherlands on Nov. 23 with an away game against Gibraltar. Next summer the Nations League Finals will be played in Rotterdam and Enschede, but these have no further influence on the EC qualification.