How many teams qualify for Euro 2020 through qualifying groups, and is there a play-off?


EURO 2020 qualification is reaching squeaky bum time and England are edging closer to confirming their place at the tournament.

The Three Lions have scored 19 goals so far in wins over Czech Republic, Montenegro, Bulgaria and Kosovo.


Gareth Southgate’s England side could face playing in the Uefa Nations League Finals and Euro 2020 qualifying play-offs if they fail to secure an automatic placeCredit: PA:Press Association

But what would happen if they fail to make it automatically to Euro 2020, and how many teams get out of the group?

How do you earn a Euro 2020 qualifying play-off place?

As in Euro 2016, 24 teams will qualify for the tournament – but there are now two ways of getting there.

The top two in each of the ten groups will automatically qualify for the tournament in 2020, leaving four spots still available.

These will be decided by the play-offs but this is where it gets interesting  – those awarded play-off places are not decided during qualifying but from the Uefa Nations League tournament.

The four group winners from each league in the Uefa Nations League, including England, are already assured of a play-off place.

Currently, these are:

  • League A: Switzerland, Portugal, Holland and England
  • League B: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine, Denmark and Sweden
  • League C: Scotland, Norway, Serbia and Finland
  • League D: Georgia, Macedonia, Kosovo and Belarus

Should any of these teams earn automatically qualify for the tournament through the Euro 2020 qualifying phase, their play-off place will be passed onto the next best-ranked side from their League – for example, Belgium is next in line for League A, Russia for B, Bulgaria in C and Luxembourg in D.

If there are less than four teams that are yet to qualify from a League then the spots are filled with sides from another League in accordance with the Uefa Nations League rankings – but group winners will not be moved up into a play-off with a higher League.

How will the play-offs work?

In previous tournaments, all of those through to the play-offs go into a draw and the winners of those ties earn a spot in the major competition.

But this time around, each League will have their own separate play-off tournament, with a single-leg semi-final before a final to determine who will claim the Euro 2020 place.

This means that if they fail to win an automatic spot, then Georgia, Macedonia, Kosovo and Belarus will all battle it out for a place in next year’s competition.

England could face playing in the play-offs, with this a separate entity to the Uefa Nations League Finals, meaning Portugal’s victory over Holland in the summer did not earn them an automatic spot.

The play-offs will be played at the end of March 2020 ahead of the June/July tournament.

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