Who's in, who's out? Breaking down Euro 2020 qualifying, playoffs, draws

Euro 2020 continues to take shape.

The 20 automatic qualifying spots for next summer’s tournament were solidified on Tuesday, as Wales grabbed the final berth by virtue of a winner-take-all victory over Hungary in Cardiff.

Only four places remain undecided, with 16 teams now slated to compete in the qualifying playoffs to determine who will round out the field.

In the wake of Tuesday’s action – and looking ahead to the draws for both the playoffs and the tournament proper – here’s everything you need to know about Euro 2020 right now.

Which teams have qualified automatically?

Claudio Villa / Getty Images Sport / Getty

As outlined above, 20 of the 24 tournament berths are accounted for; the top two teams from each of the ten qualifying groups earned progression. Here are the nations that can sit back and relax knowing their tickets are punched.

  • England (first in Group A)
  • Czech Republic (second in Group A)
  • Ukraine (first in Group B)
  • Portugal (second in Group B)
  • Germany (first in Group C)
  • Netherlands (second in Group C)
  • Switzerland (first in Group D)
  • Denmark (second in Group D)
  • Croatia (first in Group E)
  • Wales (second in Group E)
  • Spain (first in Group F)
  • Sweden (second in Group F)
  • Poland (first in Group G)
  • Austria (second in Group G)
  • France (first in Group H)
  • Turkey (second in Group H)
  • Belgium (first in Group I)
  • Russia (second in Group I)
  • Italy (first in Group J)
  • Finland (second in group J)

Who will take part in the playoffs?

Unlike in previous years, the playoff places for the upcoming European Championship were determined by rankings from the UEFA Nations League. The new competition was put in place to help reinvigorate the international break and eliminate the meaningless matches that have long plagued international football.

The 16 teams that have reached the playoffs are split into four sections – Leagues A, B, C, and D – and will compete in mini four-team tournaments. The four group winners will then advance to Euro 2020.

The sides involved in the playoffs will be divided as follows:

League A: Iceland and three of Bulgaria, Israel, Hungary, and Romania

League B: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovakia, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland

League C: Scotland, Norway, Serbia, and one of Bulgaria, Israel, Hungary, and Romania

League D: Georgia, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Belarus

Per UEFA, “a draw will decide which of Bulgaria, Israel, Hungary or Romania would fill the empty slot in Path C, and which three would go into Path A.”

That playoff draw will take place on Friday, Nov. 22 (noon ET), and will also determine which teams host the finals in their respective groups. The matches will be played on March 26 and 31; unlike the two-legged ties in previous playoffs, these will all be single-leg knockout games.

How will teams be seeded for the big draw?


Seeding for the Euro 2020 draw is based entirely on the performance in qualifying, and, according to Dale Johnson of ESPN, breaks down as follows:

  • Pot 1: Belgium, Italy, England, Germany, Spain, Ukraine
  • Pot 2: France, Poland, Switzerland, Croatia, Netherlands, Russia
  • Pot 3: Portugal, Turkey, Denmark, Austria, Sweden, Czech Republic
  • Pot 4: Wales, Finland, Playoff A, Playoff B, Playoff C, Playoff D

Ukraine surprisingly secured a top seed by winning Group B, which means the two nations that reached the final of Euro 2016, Portugal and France, could be drawn together and form the proverbial “Group of Death” alongside the likes of Italy, England, Spain, or Germany.

Unbalanced? Yes. Tasty? Also yes.

When is the tournament draw?

The draw for the tournament proper is slated for Saturday, Nov. 30, in Bucharest, Romania, and begins at noon ET.

With the competition taking place across 12 different cities in Europe for the first time, some of the slots in the draw are predetermined; qualified nations that are hosting matches will automatically be placed in the following groups:

  • Group A: Italy (Stadio Olimpico, Rome)
  • Group B: Russia (Saint Petersburg Stadium, St. Petersburg), Denmark (Parken Stadium, Copenhagen)
  • Group C: Netherlands (Johan Cruijff ArenA, Amsterdam)
  • Group D: England (Wembley Stadium, London)
  • Group E: Spain (San Mames Stadium, Bilbao)
  • Group F: Germany (Allianz Arena, Munich)

Euro 2020 kicks off on June 12, with Italy guaranteed to be involved in the opening match in Rome.

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