Euro 2024 qualifiers: how does each group look after the first two matchdays?

With the first two matchdays of the Euro 2024 qualifiers out of the way, here is the current state of play across each group.

As multiple pools boast teams that may expect to go far in next summer’s competition, getting a good start in qualification is crucial. For instance, the Euro 2020 finalists – England and Italy – are both in Group C.

Likewise, World Cup quarterfinalists France and the Netherlands face each other in Group B. Considering the potential for tough tests in the preliminary system, it is vital to get points on the board early. But how does a nation reach the Euro finals?

How do the Euro 2024 qualifiers work?

There are just 24 slots available for the Euro 2024 championships, which Germany are hosting. Because they are hosts, Die Mannschaft receive an automatic qualification slot. Therefore, there are just 23 left to compete for.

In qualifying, there are ten pools of either five or six teams. Every team in a group plays each other both home and away. The top two countries with the most points from said matches receive a spot at Euro 2024.

But there is another way in. The last three spots are determined via the playoffs. This format has 12 teams involved – who make it into the playoffs via their Nations League performances. The playoffs do not occur until after the qualifying groups are complete, though.

A trio of home nations lead their groups

For Scotland and England, their qualifying campaigns could not have started better. The Three Lions won both their games, beating Italy away from home before defeating Ukraine at Wembley. Similarly, Scotland took three points from Spain and Cyprus respectively.

Wales also copy their fellow home nations by sitting atop their group (D). However, they share this position with Croatia, against whom they earned a last-gasp 1-1 draw. Rob Page’s side then defeated Latvia a few days later to complete a solid start to their qualifiers.

In contrast, Northern Ireland have not been so successful in their endeavours to reach Euro 2024. After beating San Marino, they suffered a disappointing 1-0 loss at home to Finland. In a tough group featuring Denmark and an in-form Slovenia, Northern Ireland face a tough task to reach next summer’s tournament.

France, Portugal among teams to make perfect starts

Heading onto the continent now, where European powerhouses have made unsurprisingly strong showings. For example, France and Portugal have both secured two wins from two in March.

Les Bleus brushed aside the Netherlands in a 4-0 thrashing before narrowly beating Ireland. This leaves Didier Deschamp’s side in the driving seat of Group B.

Portugal, on the other hand, cruised through both of their matches. They beat Liechtenstein 4-0, then demolished Luxembourg 6-0. It was an ideal start for Roberto Martinez in his first games as Portugal coach.

Also boasting perfect records are Austria (Group F), Serbia (Group G), Slovenia (Group H), Switzerland (Group I), and Romania (Group I). These sides have thus already opened up an early advantage over their qualifying rivals.

Whilst some have began their Euros adventure in an ideal fashion, others have experienced an underwhelming start.

European giants underperforming?

After losing to Scotland, Spain have lost ground to the top of Group A. They did comfortably defeat Norway, though, who could be a dark horse in that pool.

Speaking of Norway, they have disappointingly taken just one point from two matches. Of course, they were missing Erling Haaland – but still may have expected to beat Georgia.

Elsewhere, the Netherlands recovered from their French battering to beat Gibraltar 3-0. They totally dominated that match, having 52 shots. Despite this, they may have wanted to improve their goal difference a bit more against the European minnows.

Like the Oranje, Italy put their opening game woes behind them to defeat Malta. However, North Macedonia could still contend for second as they have only played one qualifier so far.

The likes of Belgium and Hungary have only played once in other groups as well. As a result, we can expect the landscape of their groups to change rapidly once they have fulfilled the same number of matches.

When are the next Euro 2024 qualifiers?

We will not see any more qualifying action until after the 2022/23 club season has finished. The next round of Euro 2024 qualifiers is in June.

Matchday three takes place across 16-17 June 2023. Following this, matchday four will be on 19-20 June 2023. From here, the groups will really begin to take shape, and we should see who is in the hunt to progress.

Standings after matchday two

Group A
1: Scotland – 6pts
2: Spain – 3pts
3: Norway – 1pt
4: Georgia – 1pt
5: Cyprus – 0pts

Group B
1: France – 6pts
2: Greece – 3pts
3: Netherlands – 3pts
4: Republic of Ireland – 0pts
5: Gibraltar – 0pts

Group C
1: England – 6pts
2: Italy – 3pts
3: North Macedonia – 3pts
4: Ukraine – 0pts
5: Malta – 0pts

Group D
1: Wales – 4pts
2: Croatia – 4pts
3: Turkey – 3pts
4: Armenia – 0pts
5: Latvia – 0pts

Group E
1: Czech Republic – 4pts
2: Poland – 3pts
3: Moldova – 2pts
4: Faroe Islands – 1pt
5: Albania – 0pts

Group F
1: Austria – 6pts
2: Belgium – 3pts
3: Sweden – 3pts
4: Estonia – 0pts
5: Azerbaijan – 0pts

Group G
1: Serbia – 6pts
2: Hungary – 3pts
3: Montenegro – 3pts
4: Lithuania – 0pts
5: Bulgaria – 0pts

Group H
1: Slovenia – 6pts
2: Denmark – 3pts
3: Kazakhstan – 3pts
4: Finland – 3pts
5: Northern Ireland – 3pts
6: San Marino – 0pts

Group I
1: Switzerland – 6pts
2: Romania – 6pts
3: Kosovo – 2pts
4: Andorra – 1pt
5: Israel – 1pt
6: Belarus – 0pts

Group J
1: Portugal – 6pts
2: Slovakia – 4pts
3: Bosnia & Herzegovina – 3pts
4: Iceland – 3pts
5: Luxembourg – 1pt
6: Liechtenstein – 0pts

Featured image credit: Getty