The draw for the European Championships will be held in Hamburg on 2 December: the Azzurri, by winning in Leverkusen against Ukraine, will have the certainty of not finishing in the fourth pot and risking a very tough group
– Leverkusen (Ger)
The important thing is not to lose. With a draw we go to Germany. But beating Ukraine would be a thousand times more important. And not for pride or the FIFA ranking. The position in the final phase draw is at stake: the flanks will still be ugly and dirty, we are second in the group, but if we win in Leverkusen they will be a little less ugly. Objective: the third tier. We can’t ask for more. The real risk is finishing in fourth place, with all the consequences that entails. Appointment on December 2nd in Hamburg. The 20 qualifiers, host Germany and the three “X”s arriving from the playoffs, totaling 24, will be divided into four groups of 6 national teams each. The order – with Germany as the rightful seed – is given by the position in the groups (first the top 10, then the second 10) and secondly by the points in the group (in the matches between the top 5). Naturally we cannot be in the first tier, but the second tier is also unlikely, where Austria could enter, if overtaken by Belgium, or Scotland. And so…
scenario 1: success
By winning against Ukraine we will reach 16 points, a quota that guarantees third place. It is not a place in the sun, because first we will find one of Germany, Portugal, England, Spain, France and, probably, Belgium. And in second place they currently “live” in Denmark, Turkey and Switzerland. There is a risk, but less than with plan B.
scenario 2: tie
Plan B involves a draw in Leverkusen. We are still qualified, but 14 points do not guarantee third place. Naturally we will have to wait for the end of the groups to understand but, taking a look at the matches of the other second groups, the risk of finishing in the fourth and last pot is real. With the result of finding ourselves in a group with one of the big ones, a strong second tier and some bad customers from the third (Serbia, Holland?).
scenario 3: defeat
In the unfortunate event of a knockout, the path is clear: playoffs. With Croatia qualifying directly, according to today’s rankings, the pairings would be Italy-Estonia and Poland-Wales. If instead Modric and his teammates were also involved, Croatia-Estonia and Italy-Poland, then the two winners in the final (at the venue to be drawn on 23 November). Those who qualify for Germany 2024 end up directly in the fourth pot.
Finally, regarding the FIFA ranking: by winning or drawing with Ukraine we confirm at least 9th place, but with success we could also hope to overtake if Holland, Spain or Portugal stumble. The ranking for the European Championship does not count, but will then count for the qualifying draw for the 2026 World Cup.
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