Traditional powerhouses such as France, England, and Portugal are cruising through the qualifiers for the European Football Association (UEFA) European Championship (Euro), a tournament that will determine who is the best on the continent. The quadrennial tournament will be held in June and July 2024 in Germany. Along with the FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) World Cup, it’s considered the most prestigious soccer tournament in the world. Some say it’s even harder to win than the World Cup because of the strength of the field.
With Group B France (5 wins, 15 points), Group C England (4 wins, 1 draw, 13 points), and Group J Portugal (6 wins, 18 points) all cruising alongside each other, the big question is whether we’ll see “monster striker” Elling Holland (23, Manchester City) at the Euros. Norway’s Holland exploded for two goals in their Group A qualifier against Cyprus on Sept. 13, leading his team to a 4-0 victory. Currently third in the group behind Scotland (5W1D, 15 points) and Spain (4W1D, 12 points), Norway (3W1D, 2L, 10 points) must win against Spain on Saturday to keep their hopes of qualifying for the second round alive. Norway has only qualified for the Euros once before, in 2000. Spain, ranked 10th in FIFA, was the victim of an upset in March, losing 0-2 to Scotland (31st). However, they avenged that defeat seven months later with a 2-0 win over Scotland on June 13. Spain has played one fewer game than Scotland and Norway and has more points to play for.
K League players are also playing in the Euro qualifiers. Albania’s Asani (28-Gwangju) is one of them. He scored the opening goal in the ninth minute of the Group E match against the Czech Republic on the 13th. Albania went on to win 3-0. Albania is one of the biggest upsets of the tournament. They are ranked 62nd in FIFA, and their only previous Euro appearance was in 2016. But with four wins, one draw, and one loss in six qualifying games (13 points), they top their group ahead of Poland (three wins, three draws, and nine points). Asani, who made his A-match debut in March this year, has three goals and two assists in six games.
Germany-Spain (three times) are the most successful nations in the competition, which was first held in 1960. Only 24 of UEFA’s 55 member nations qualify for the tournament. Russia was disqualified following its invasion of Ukraine, while hosts Germany received automatic qualification. The 53 nations were divided into 10 groups and began the qualifying rounds in March. They will play until the final 먹튀검증 round in November, with the first- and second-place finishers in each group advancing directly to the knockout rounds, and the remaining three spots decided by playoffs. Germany will test their mettle in A matches against non-European nations. They will play the United States on Nov. 15 and Mexico on Nov. 18. Germany’s recent major international successes include a group stage exit at the 2018-2022 World Cup and a round of 16 appearance at Euro 2020. In September, the team changed coaches after a shock 1-4 loss to Japan in an exhibition match. The fear of embarrassment at Euro 2024, which will be held at home, was a factor.