The road to Euro 2020 qualification starts in March 2019 and extends until December 2020. The 48 nations that qualify for the tournament will be divided into twelve groups of four teams. The group winners and runners-up advance to the UEFA Nations League finals, while the bottom eight finishers enter a play-off round. The start of the European Qualifiers for the UEFA EURO 2020 tournament will take place in March 2019.
Final tournament scheduled for 12 June – 13 July 2020
The start of the European Qualifiers Fixtures for the UEFA EURO 2020 tournament will take place in March 2019. The qualifying process for UEFA EURO 2020 will last two years, with the final tournament scheduled for 12 June – 13 July 2020.
During this time, ten groups will be contested by teams divided into four pots based on their coefficient ranking. Teams from each group play home-and-away matches against one another within their respective group during June and September 2019, March 2020, October 2020 and November / December 2020. The top two teams from each group qualify automatically for the Euro finals; four more spots are awarded via playoffs – three of which go to third-place finishers who lost matches against second-placed sides (i.e., if a match ends with all three points going to one team and none going to another).
Northern Ireland will host Germany for their first fixture
On Thursday March 21, Northern Ireland will host Germany at Windsor Park in Belfast. Kick off is at 7.45pm. The venue has a capacity of 9,000 and will be managed by referee Jonathan Laidlaw from Scotland. The game will be shown live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football in the UK as well as RTÉ 2 in Ireland and RTE Sport 1+1 HD across the continent.
Northern Ireland’s games against Germany, Netherlands, Belarus and Estonia
Before the tournament, Northern Ireland will play four friendly games against Germany, Netherlands, Belarus and Estonia respectively.
The German side are the reigning European champions. This means that it is going to be a tough test for Michael O’Neill’s men as they prepare for their first ever European Championship qualifier campaign.
The Dutch side were runners-up at the World Cup in Brazil last year and have plenty of quality throughout their squad including Arjen Robben, Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder. They will arrive at Windsor Park with great confidence having won all five games leading up to this fixture under new manager Louis van Gaal.
Germany face a tough test from France in their opening game of the campaign
Germany will play France in the first game of the European Qualifiers Fixtures. The two nations have met 12 times since 1996, with Germany winning four games and France winning six times.
Germany are ranked 5th in the world rankings and have won a World Cup title once. They also reached their only other semi-finals at a World Cup in 2006 when they lost to Italy 1–0 on penalties after extra time ended 1–1 after regulation time.
France are currently ranked second in the FIFA World Rankings, having won two FIFA World Cups: one as host nation (1998) and another as winners (2006). They also reached two more finals: Mexico 1986 lost 2–0 to Argentina; South Africa 2010 lost 1–0 to Spain after extra time had finished 0–0 after 90 minutes.
France are looking forward to win their third consecutive European Championship title which would be an unprecedented achievement for any team in any sport worldwide
Group A will be played as one-legged fixtures
Group A will be played as one-legged fixtures on Thursdays only in March, June, September and October.
Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia), Cyprus, Denmark, England*, Faroe Islands*, Finland*, Germany*, Greece* (Greece), Hungary*, Iceland* (Iceland), Israel*, Latvia*, Liechtenstein* (Liechtenstein), Lithuania*, Malta* (Malta)
The dates of the fixtures are as follows: March 7th/8th: Denmark v Cyprus; Germany v Malta; England v Liechtenstein; Iceland v Switzerland. March 14th/15th: Greece v Faroe Islands; Finland v Lithuania; Hungary v Israel; Bosnia & Herzegovina vs Moldova. March 21st/22nd: Austria vs Ireland; Switzerland vs Wales; Slovenia vs Poland*.
Matchday 2 is set for Sunday June 9, with Northern Ireland travelling to Belgrade to play Serbia for the first time since 1982.
The match will be played at the Rajko Mitic Stadium, which was named after the legendary Serbian goalkeeper from their 1970s World Cup-winning side. The stadium’s official capacity is 43,332 but it is expected that this game will attract a much larger crowd than that as both sets of fans look forward to another big night of football in Europe’s premier club competition.
The remaining matchdays are on Friday September 6 (v Netherlands), Monday September 9 (v Estonia) and Friday October 11 (v Belarus).
The fixtures are set in stone, there’s no flexibility in the schedule and there’s no way to change it.
The road to Euro 2020 qualification begins in March 2019
UEFA EURO 2020 will be the 15th edition of the UEFA European Championship, and it will be held across Europe. The tournament will take place from 12 June to 12 July 2020 with a total of 48 teams competing for the title.
As usual, Euro 2020 is taking place in a number of different cities around Europe. The host country has yet to be confirmed but we know that there will be 12 city stadiums used for games during Euro 2020 qualification and during the final tournament itself. These are: London; Baku (Azerbaijan); Munich (Germany); St Petersburg (Russia); Rome; Amsterdam; Bucharest (Romania); Copenhagen (Denmark), Dublin (Ireland), Bilbao (Spain) or Brussels (Belgium).
The qualification process begins on Friday 3 March 2019 when Wales host Republic of Ireland at Cardiff City Stadium – kick-off 7pm GMT/8pm CET – live on Sky Sports Football HD.
We know that some of you are just as excited about the upcoming Euro 2020 campaign as we are. Keep an eye on your local news for any updates about Northern Ireland’s games, and don’t forget to support the team in their first ever qualifying match against Germany on Thursday March 21.