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IN Sports ON 10 Jun, 2016
If you were unaware, this is the very first time that the UEFA European Championship will have 24 teams instead of 16. Since 1996, the tournament used the 16-team format, so this year is surely going to be one for the books. 53 nations formed nine groups and battled it out in a span of 14 months for the right to be at the Euro Cup 2016. France, of course, was the host nation and was automatically included.
In the Euro Cup 2016, these 24 nations will be divided into six groups, composed of four national football teams each. The top 16 will be comprised of the top two teams in each group and the four best teams who placed in third. The championship match will occur at Stade de France on July 10.
There is a lot at stake for Euro 2016 in France since the victors immediately get to participate at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.
So, are you ready to see all of the Euro Cup 2016 qualifying groups? Check out the story below!
Albania was part of Group I during the qualifying rounds. The team was the runner-up to Portugal. One of the most awesome things about Albania is that this will be the first time it will be part of the Euro Cup 2016 qualifying groups. The nation finally has the chance to make an impression at the UEFA tournament.
Austria qualified on September 8 last year since they won in Group G. That group included other nations such as Moldova, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, Sweden, and 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup host Russia. Austria beat Russia 1-0, Montenegro 1-0, Moldova 1-0, and Lichtenstein with an impressive 3-0. The only tie it had was with Sweden with a 1-1 score.
The land of quality chocolate and the Tomorrowland music festival qualified on October 10 last year as it won in Group B. Belgium has already been in the Euro Cup four times, specifically back in 1972, 1980, 1984, and in 2000. After 16 years, they are finally back on track.
Croatia did not win Group H, but it was the runner-up. That was enough for the nation to be one of the Euro Cup 2016 qualifying groups. Group H also included Malta, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Norway, and Italy. Croatia easily beat all the other teams except for Italy, which they had to settle for a tie.
Czech Republic was the winner of Group A, which included Latvia, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Turkey, and Iceland. It was not an easy job for the nation, as it actually lost 0-2 against Turkey. Thankfully, it won its four other games.
It'd be pretty weird to not see England participating in Euro Cup 2016. The nation has already qualified eight teams before, with the most recent entry being in 2012. England is part of Group E, and they won every game they had. The only team that scored a point against them was Slovenia.
As the host, France automatically became one of the Euro Cup 2016 qualifying groups. Like England, the nation has been in the event eight times, with this year being the ninth run.
Germany is a powerhouse. It has been in the tournament the most, qualifying for the 12th time this year. The nation was the winner of Group D, which included Gibraltar, Georgia, Scotland, Republic of Ireland, and Poland. It's only tie game was against the Republic of Ireland.
Hungary did not become the runner-up or the winner in its group, but it won during the playoffs. The playoffs determine the final four teams who would join the top two nations of each group and the highest-ranked third place team. Hungary got 15 points and was second only to Turkey.
Just like Albania, this will be the first time Iceland has become one of the Euro Cup 2016 qualifying groups. Iceland was the runner-up to the Czech Republic and they are looking to make the world notice.
Italy has been in the Euro Cup eight times before. The nation is the Group H winner, even though Croatia almost won against them. However, it became a tie because Croatia's points were deducted by one due to racist behavior.
In Group F, Northern Ireland successfully beat every other team. That group also had Greece, Faroe Islands, Finland, Hungary, and Romania.
Poland has only been part of the Euro Cup two times in the past, but its runner-up ranking in Group D was enough to make them one of the Euro Cup 2016 qualifying groups. After all, it must have been difficult for them to fight against Germany in the same group.
This team has been in the last five Euro Cup tournaments, and its status as the Group I winner allows it to battle again for the sixth time.
The national football team of this nation managed to beat Bosnia and Herzegovina during the playoffs, so the group is now part of the 2016 UEFA football tournament.
Romania is the runner-up team of Group F, and this will be the team's fifth appearance in the Euro Cup. The team had a tie against Finland and Hungary.
This team has participated in the last three Euro Cup tournaments. It luckily managed to be the runner-up in Group G, which is where Austria beat Russia by a single point.
Like Austria and Iceland, Slovakia will be having its first Euro Cup appearance this year. The team was the runner-up in Group C, which was dominated by Spain and included Macedonia, Luxembourg, Belarus, and Ukraine.
The victor of Group C, Spain will be making its 10th appearance this year as one of the Euro Cup 2016 qualifying groups. It never lost a match and the nation trampled Macedonia, 5-1.
Sweden only placed third in its group, but the team will be making its sixth appearance in Euro Cup as it won in the playoffs.
As the runner-up of Group E, which included the England powerhouse, Switzerland is poised to finally return in the tournament after its last participation back in 2008.
Turkey did not win in the group, nor did it become the runner-up, but it was the highest-ranked third-placed team. This is why the team was automatically included as one of the Euro Cup 2016 qualifying groups.
Ukraine, like Turkey, also placed third. Thankfully, it beat Slovenia in the play-offs to enter the Euro Cup 2016.
Finally, we have Wales. The team was the runner-up in Group B, which also had Andorra, Cyprus, Israel, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Belgium. Moreover, this will be the first time it became part of the Euro Cup 2016 qualifying groups.
So, which national team are you rooting for in the tournament? Don't forget to share this with your family and friends!