The draw for qualifying tournament took place in Dublin on 2 December 2018. 55 teams were separated into 10 groups with 5 or 6 teams. The first 2 from each group qualified. 20 teams that have already qualified have been assigned to the 4 pots for the finals draw in Bucharest.
Here are the pots:
- Pot 1: Belgium, Italy (hosts), England (hosts), Germany (hosts), Spain (hosts), Ukraine
- Pot 2: France, Poland, Switzerland, Croatia, Netherlands (hosts), Russia (hosts)
- Pot 3: Portugal, Turkey, Denmark (hosts), Austria, Sweden, Czech Republic
- Pot 4: Wales, Finland, Play-off winners Paths A, B, C, and D
When considering the 4th pot, it is important to explain how play-off functions. 4 more teams will come from matches played in a play-off stage of the qualifying tournament. 16 teams are playing in this stage, and this is the way their matches are organized:
- Semi-final 1 (1 v 4): Iceland v Romania
- Semi-final 2 (2 v 3): Bulgaria v Hungary
- The winners of semi-final 2 (Bulgaria or Hungary) will play the final at home.
- Semi-final 1 (1 v 4): Bosnia and Herzegovina v Northern Ireland
- Semi-final 2 (2 v 3): Slovakia v Republic of Ireland
- The winners of semi-final 1 (Bosnia and Herzegovina or Northern Ireland) will play the final at home.
- Semi-final 1 (1 v 4): Scotland v Israel
- Semi-final 2 (2 v 3): Norway v Serbia
- The winners of semi-final 2 (Norway or Serbia) will play the final at home.
Now, let take a look at the teams who have already managed to qualify. Turkey is one of them. They qualified for five of the last seven Euros and had some great defensive performances. Italy also had its show of flawless execution. Their victory against Lichtenstein of 6:0 was their first 6:0 result in 57 years. Because of their young stars, great coach and offensive, attacking football, they are within favorites.
Wales won 6 matches, played 2 draws and lost 2 matches in the group E. With Bale still being their key player and a legendary Manchester United player, Giggs, on their bench, Wales performed remarkable games in a qualifying tournament. Switzerland qualified from group D. Their crucial player is Xhaxa. With Petkovic as their coach, Switzerland is still waiting for its major finals.
Denmark managed to qualify from Group D, too. They didn’t lose any match. They had 4 wins and 4 draws. After not qualifying 4 years ago, Denmark is now seeking for their chance. Similar to Denmark, after not qualifying for Euro 2016, one more Scandinavian country has its comeback. It’s Finland. Their key players are a very talented goalscorer, Pukki.
Belgium showed terrific performances in the qualifying stage. They won all 10 matches. That is why they are considered as strong, reliable favorites. Right now, they are the top-ranked representation of FIFA ranking. After finishing Euro 2016 in a group stage, Russia is looking for its chances to go one step further this year. In qualifications, they won 8 and lost 2 matches. The Netherlands is one more representation that manages to qualify. They were pretty solid with their 6 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss. Without losing a match in a qualification stage, Ukraine showed impressive performances and one more time qualified for Euro. Austria also qualified with 6 wins, 1 draw and 3 losses. They have some difficulties related to defence, and their key player is a forward, Marko Arnautovic.
England showed amazing performances. 7 wins and just one loss, make them one of the favorites for winning the whole competition. Raheem Sterling seems to be their key player. After finishing second in the World Cup 2018, Croatia is becoming a serious candidate for a high position in every competition. With Luka Modric as their key player, Croatia is hoping for finals. With 5 wins and 3 losses, the Czech Republic also managed to qualify. Spain, as usual, managed to qualify. Even with the players who won everything and who seems to be struggling to find s motivation in some moment, they are still within the biggest favorites.
After showing strong performances, Sweden is one more Scandinavian country to be qualified for Euro 2021. With Lewandowski as their key player, Poland is still strong. They will compete in Euro 2021 too. Portugal won 5 matches, played 2 draws and lost 1 game. After winning Euro 2016, they seem to be still strong with Ronaldo as their key player. France, very consistent and robust in every competition last year, is one of the biggest favorites. They lost one match, but it means nothing because they have the most significant 11 players. Germany qualified too. They are always reliable, even though some think they have no chances for the win this time.