Feb 23, 2014, 8:43 AM EDT
Looking over this morning’s draw for Euro 2016 qualifying, the groups were spread pretty thin, just like UEFA wants it.
However, the road to France in two years’ time is much easier for some than it is for others.
Let’s take a look at who made out the easiest and most difficult.
-Spain: The defending European champions were not surprisingly handed a fantastically easy road to qualification, and they will barely need to break a sweat. Their group consists of Luxembourg, Macedonia, Belarus, Slovakia, and Ukraine. Out of that group, only Ukraine qualified for Euro 2012, and they did so automatically as the hosts. They ended up with just three group-stage points. Expect no trouble for the Spaniards whatsoever.
-Germany: Shockingly (not really), another top team has an easy route. With just Gibraltar, Georgia, Scotland, Poland, and the Republic of Ireland in their way, it will be shades of 2012 qualification where they finished with nearly double the points total of anyone else in their group.
-Sweden: After last round’s impressive qualification run, beating out Hungary and nearly keeping pace with the Netherlands at the top of their qualification group, the Swedes bowed out meekly in the group stage of Euro 2012. Now, they will have another fight on their hands, drawing Russia and Austria along with Montenegro, Liechtenstein, and Moldova.
-Netherlands: Euro 2012 qualification was kind to the Netherlands, as they earned their group’s top spot ahead of Sweden, Hungary, and Finland. Now, they’ll have to do it up against the Czech Republic and Turkey, both Euro 2012 knockout qualifiers and impressively so. Turkey finished second ahead of Belgium last time around before falling in the playoff, while the Czech Republic made it all the way to the knockout rounds. The Dutch will have their work cut out for them.
Sep 21, 2014, 1:55 AM EDT
Highlights and recaps from the seven-match night in Major League Soccer.
Sep 21, 2014, 12:49 AM EDT
Alan Gordon’s late winner moves LA even with Seattle at the top of Major League Soccer.
Sep 20, 2014, 10:25 PM EDT
Arsenal’s manager lauded his team’s concentration in its 3-0 win at Villa Park.
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Bradley Wright-Phillips is closing in on history after his season’s third hat trick.
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Sep 20, 2014, 7:52 PM EDT
Arsenal became the first to break through Aston Villa, while Sam Allardyce’s plans came to fruition in East London.
Sep 20, 2014, 7:16 PM EDT
The Timbers claim fifth in the Western Conference after another decisive win over their rivals.
Sep 20, 2014, 6:48 PM EDT
Thierry Henry will be center stage as two teams recovering from mid-week commitments meet at Red Bull Arena.
Sep 20, 2014, 6:20 PM EDT
Portland’s brightest executed a sublime volley to give his team a first half lead.
Sep 20, 2014, 5:07 PM EDT
QPR manager credited Potters’ solidity while extolling the value of his team’s point.
Sep 20, 2014, 5:01 PM EDT
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Sep 20, 2014, 4:33 PM EDT
Former DC United player Pablo Hernandez can take as many bows as he’d like after his stunning backheel volley put one past Atletico Madrid.
Sep 20, 2014, 4:23 PM EDT
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Sep 20, 2014, 4:03 PM EDT
Roughly-translated, it said, “A year of rage to be great again.” That’s good stuff, and the noisy crowd made it even better.
Sep 20, 2014, 3:37 PM EDT
There were several eyebrow raisers on Matchday 4 even before Sunday’s Rhein Derby and a big Wolfsburg match versus Bayer Leverkusen.
Sep 20, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT
Cameroon will host the ACON for the second time in their history in 2019.
Sep 20, 2014, 2:57 PM EDT
Recaps, videos, reaction and analysis from Saturday’s six games in the PL.
Sep 20, 2014, 2:26 PM EDT
Brendan Rodgers side lost its third match of the young season and Sam Allardyce’s West Ham United leapfrogged the Reds with a Saturday win.
Sep 20, 2014, 2:17 PM EDT
Saints are flying high early in the season, as preseason predictions of relegation seem to be well wide of the mark.
Sep 20, 2014, 1:50 PM EDT
Can Welbeck and Ozil click and become Arsenal’s main offensive weapons?
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