Hull City boss Steve Bruce was already displeased that he wasn’t able to use his Cup-tied new forwards for Monday’s FA Cup match against Brighton & Hove Albion, so when the Tigers’ thrilling 1-1 draw with the Seagulls meant a Monday replay and a jam-packed weekend, well… he had some strong words.
UEFA rules dictate that the replay could not be played on the same day as a Champions League game, so both Brighton and Hull will be following up huge Saturday matches on very little rest.
“I find that ridiculous, I have to tell you,” he said. “Surely we could play on the same night as the Champions League, you would have thought.
“It is quite a bizarre one, isn’t it? For them to say to the FA that we can’t play the same night as they are playing the Champions League.
“I don’t think there will be many tuning out of Barcelona against Manchester City to tune into Hull versus Brighton, no disrespect. But there you have it, they think it’s going to clash. Is it going to be a real problem for them? I somehow doubt it.”
He makes a pretty valid point, considering player safety and selection. If the FA wants its tournament to mean something, and surely it does, then doesn’t it want the best team advancing? Sure the teams are on the same footing rest-wise, but it’ll be a test of endurance rather than skill set.
On Saturday, Hull has a massive relegation six-pointer at Cardiff, while Brighton sits on the edge of the Championship playoff picture but can be caught by Wigan when the two sides tangle. The winner of the replay earns a home match against Sunderland in the sixth round of the FA Cup.
The group stage of qualification is complete, as 20 teams have clinched a berth at EURO 2016, which kicks off next summer in France.
The top-two finishers in each group automatically qualified, as did the best third-place side out of all the groups (Turkey). France qualified automatically as the host nation.
[ MORE: EURO 2016 roundup ]
That leaves eight third-place teams to battle for the final four spots through a play-off. The draw for the matchups will take place on October 18, and those matches will be held from November 12-17 as a home-and-home play-off.
- Czech Republic
- Turkey (automatically qualified as best third-place side)
- Bosnia and Herzegovina (qualified for play-off)
- Ukraine (qualified for play-off)
- Republic of Ireland (qualified for play-off)
- Slovenia (qualified for play-off)
- Northern Ireland
- Hungary (qualified for play-off)
- Sweden (qualified for play-off)
- Norway (qualified for play-off)
- Denmark (qualified for play-off)
The group stage of qualifying for the 2016 European Championship has come to a close, and one of the top teams in the world will not be playing in France next summer.
Netherlands 2-3 Czech Republic
The Netherlands finished second at the 2010 World Cup and third at the 2014 World Cup, but have failed to qualify for EURO 2016. Playing in front of a home crowd in a must-win match against the Czech Republic, the Dutch got off to a dreadful start, falling behind 2-0 as manager Danny Blind was forced to make a substitution within the opening 40 minutes. The Czech Republic was sent to ten men before the break, but an own-goal from Robin Van Persie made it 3-0 as the Dutch couldn’t recover. A disastrous result for the Netherlands, as big changes will surely come from the top down.
[ RELATED: David de Gea fighting for starting goalkeeper position with Spain ]
Italy 2-1 Norway
Italy finishes atop Group H without a loss after defeating Norway 2-1 today. Norway took the lead through Norwich City’s Alexander Tettey, but late goals from Alessandro Florenzi and Southampton’s Graziano Pelle gave the Italians all three points.
Malta 0-1 Croatia
With Norway’s loss, Croatia jumped into second place in Group H and secured qualification to EURO 2016 with a 1-0 win away at Malta. Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic scored the game’s only goal, as Croatia advances despite having one point deducted due to inappropriate actions from their fans.
Elsewhere in EURO qualifying
Turkey 1-0 Iceland
Latvia 0-1 Kazakhstan
Belgium 3-1 Israel
Wales 2-0 Andorra
Cyprus 2-3 Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bulgaria 2-0 Azerbaijan