EURO 2020 qualifying preview: Germany-Netherlands showdown on deck

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Wondering which of the 50 qualifiers for the 2020 European Championship you should be watching over the next week? Wonder no more…

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Ireland v. Switzerland — Thursday, 2:45 p.m. ET

After four of 10 games, Ireland (10 points) holds a commanding lead in Group D, currently five points clear of second-place Denmark (one game in hand) and six ahead of third-place Switzerland (two games in hand). Thursday’s showdown in Dublin should go a long way toward answering the question of “is this real, or the by product of a cake-walk run of fixtures?”

Germany v. Netherlands — Friday, 2:45 p.m. ET

After missing out on back-to-back major tournaments (EURO 2016 and World Cup 2018), the Dutch (3 points) are off to another slow(-ish) start to qualifying for EURO 2020. Sure, they’ve only played two games, but Friday’s trip to Hamburg could see Ronald Koeman‘s side left with considerable ground to make up to finish in the top-two of Group C.

Germany went into Amsterdam and snatched a 3-2 victory at the very end of these sides’ first encounter back in March. On the one hand, that means the Netherlands’ schedule will turn considerably more favorable for their final seven games. On the other hand, they’ll be at least nine points out of Germany and Norther Ireland, if they lose on Friday.

England v. Bulgaria — Saturday, 12 p.m. ET
England v. Kosovo — Tuesday, 2:45 p.m. ET

By the time the international window closes, England could be as many as seven points clear of third place and have qualification all but wrapped up. With six points (and a +9 goal differential) from their first two games, and a pair of eminently winnable fixtures on deck this week, the path ahead of Gareth Southgate‘s side is rather straightforward. At this point, the main draw of watching England through the remainder of qualification will be to see which players Southgate comes to rely upon most heavily with an eye toward his 23-man roster for next summer.

Serbia v. Portugal — Saturday, 2:45 p.m. ET

The reigning European champions aren’t in grave danger of missing the tournament (yet), due to having two points from only two games played (thanks, Nations League), but Saturday’s clash with Serbia could move Fernando Santos’ side one step closer to semi-serious struggles. A loss to Serbia would put Portugal five points back of second place with five games left to play. Heading down the playoff path wouldn’t be an outright disaster, but avoiding that fate is massively preferable.


Notable EURO 2020 qualifying standings (points, games played)

Group A

1. England (6, 2)
2. Czech Republic (6, 3)

Group B

1. Ukraine (10, 4)
2. Luxembourg (4, 4)
3. Serbia (4, 3)
4. Portugal (2, 2)

Group C

1. Northern Ireland (12, 4)
2. Germany (9, 3)
3. Netherlands (3, 2)

Group D

1. Ireland (10, 4)
2. Denmark (5, 3)
3. Switzerland (4, 2)

Group E

1 . Hungary (9, 4)
2. Slovakia (6, 3)
3. Croatia (6, 3)

Group F

1. Spain (12, 4)
2. Sweden (7, 4)

Group G

1. Poland (12, 4)
2. Israel (7, 4)

Group H

1 . France (9, 4)
2. Turkey (9, 4)
3. Iceland (9, 4)

Group I

1. Belgium (12, 4)
2. Russia (9, 4)

Group J

1. Italy (12, 4)
2. Finland (9, 4)