The Malta Independent 16 December 2019, Monday

Euro 2020: France, Germany, Portugal in tough Group F; England get Croatia; Italy meet Wales

Associated Press Saturday, 30 November 2019, 19:02 Last update: about 15 days ago

The European Championship draw has been made, even though not all of the teams competing have been decided. The draw is a tricky but familiar one for Joachim Löw's Germany.

Germany were handed the toughest possible Euro 2020 group. Current World Cup winners France and defending Euro champions Portugal join Joachim Löw's team in Group F.

After an acrobatic display on stage in Bucharest, Romania, the draw finally got underway with a host of former players, including Philipp Lahm, involved. The fourth team in Germany's group depends on the playoffs, and will be one of Iceland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Georgia, North Macedonia, Kosovo or Belarus.

Other notable draws included England facing Croatia in a 2018 World Cup semifinal rematch.

The tournament has sparked controversy as it is not being held in one country, but instead across major European cities. There are reasons for it being a good call. Then again,there are concerns about travel and expense.

Group A (Rome, Baku): Italy, Switzerland, Turkey, Wales

Group B (St Petersburg, Copenhagen): RussiaDenmark, Belgium, Finland

Group C (Amsterdam, Bucharest): Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria (Georgia, Kosovo, Belarus, North Macedonia)

Group D (London, Glasgow): England, Croatia, Czech Republic (Scotland, Israel, Norway, Serbia)

Group E (Bilbao, Dublin): Spain, Poland, Sweden (N Ireland, Bosnia, Slovakia or Ireland)

Group F (Munich, Budapest): Germany, France, Portugal (Iceland, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary)

Twenty of the 24 teams have already qualified. The final four participants will earn qualification through the UEFA Nations League playoffs. This process is to be contested by 16 teams split into four groups (A to D), with the winner of each group qualifying for next summer’s tournament. The semifinal matchups of the Nations League playoffs are as follows:

A: Bulgaria vs. Hungary, Iceland vs. Romania

B: Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Northern Ireland, Slovakia vs. Republic of Ireland

C: Norway vs. Serbia, Scotland vs. Israel

D: Georgia vs. Belarus, North Macedonia vs. Kosovo

The playoff finals will take place March 30th, with each of the four winners earning a place at EURO 2020. Should they each qualify, Israel, Georgia, Belarus, North Macedonia and Kosovo would join Finland as tournament debutants.

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