Nordic derby highlights Euro qualifying playoff draw


The draw for the playoff round of Euro 2016 qualification took place this morning, with four matchups in mid-November set to fill the last four slots for the finals in France.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s Sweden will take on Christian Eriksen and Denmark in a derby of Nordic countries that have played 104 times in the past.

Denmark has gotten the better of that matchup in recent history, winning the last meeting, a friendly that finished 1-0 last year. The two sides also found themselves in the same 2010 World Cup qualification group, with Denmark winning both meetings 1-0.

Norway, a third Nordic nation, was drawn to face Hungary. The Norwegians have not lost across their last 10 matches against Hungary dating back to 1983, with the most recent meeting a 2-0 friendly win in 2012. The last win for Hungary came in 1981 during European World Cup qualifying.

Republic of Ireland gets Bosnia & Herzegovina, who have faced off just once in history, back in 2012 when Shane Long scored to give the Irish a 1-0 friendly win. Ireland finished their qualification round with five wins to just two losses, but were unfortunate to end up in a group with heavyweights Germany and Poland.

Finally, Ukraine gets Slovenia. The Ukranians will be heavy favorites in that match, as Slovenia finished with 16 points despite their cupcake group that saw England go perfect through qualification. However, Ukranian manager Olexandr Zavarov has already spoken about not underestimating the Slovenains, which happened in 2000 when these two teams faced off in the playoff round and saw Ukraine squander a 2-1 first leg advantage to lose 3-2 on aggregate.

The first legs will be played between November 12-14, while the return legs will take place November 15-17. The teams who have clinched spots along with host France are: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, England, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Northern Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and Wales.