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.
Jul 28, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT
The nation has now changed men’s national team managers 15 times since 2000, and only two of those changes were caretaker moves.
Jul 28, 2015, 1:59 PM EDT
Here’s a look at some of the top deals from another busy day across Europe.
Jul 28, 2015, 1:05 PM EDT
Legendary French midfielder is red-hot favorite to replace Blatter.
Jul 28, 2015, 12:35 PM EDT
Can the Eagles surprise everyone again? With Cabaye running the show, don’t rule it out.
Jul 28, 2015, 11:25 AM EDT
The latest gossip includes a cryptic message from Benzema.
Jul 28, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT
Mourinho: “In my opinion he should be in the top three.”
Jul 28, 2015, 9:54 AM EDT
England international has been ripping it up for City in preseason.
Jul 28, 2015, 9:20 AM EDT
Mourinho’s men are hungry for trophies. All of them.
Jul 28, 2015, 8:15 AM EDT
Putin: “People like Mr Blatter deserve special recognition.”
Jul 27, 2015, 9:45 PM EDT
The Premier League’s big boys each play once more in the USA before heading back to England for the start of the new season.
Jul 27, 2015, 8:39 PM EDT
Afellay makes four ex-Blaugranas on the books at Stoke, where Mark Hughes is aiming for European qualification.
Jul 27, 2015, 7:56 PM EDT
As Bayern chase their fourth straight Bundesliga title (it would be a first), Mats Hummels says the league’s other teams need to stop fearing them.
Jul 27, 2015, 6:06 PM EDT
Drogba has arrived in MLS, and he even got to choose which team he’ll play for — kinda.
Jul 27, 2015, 5:15 PM EDT
Cyle Larin bagged his first pro hat trick on Sunday, somehow outshining David Villa at Yankee Stadium.
Jul 27, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT
Villa, Giovinco, Finlay and more — this week’s MLS Team of the Week.
Jul 27, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT
The first of three newly promoted sides, do the Cherries have what it takes to stay in the Premier League?
Jul 27, 2015, 2:24 PM EDT
JPW dissects the top deals, discusses which clubs have done the best business and which need to get a shift on.
Jul 27, 2015, 1:43 PM EDT
Plenty of preseason action continues out in the Far East.
Jul 27, 2015, 12:50 PM EDT
Can Sherwood rejuvenate Villa and show progress is being made? Losing Benteke and Delph will hurt his chances of doing that.
Jul 27, 2015, 12:02 PM EDT
Here are the latest rumors from around the soccer world.
- Official: Miguel Herrera fired by Mexico days after Gold Cup win, alleged attack on journalist 4
- Tuesday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Benzema to Arsenal, Berahino to Tottenham 3
- Premier League 2015-16 season preview: Chelsea 1
- Russian president Vladimir Putin believes Sepp Blatter deserves Nobel Prize 6
- Monday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: PSG’s $133 million Ronaldo bid, Stones to Chelsea 2
- Amid reports of journalist brawl, Mexico boss Miguel Herrera looks ahead to USMNT showdown 10