Euro 2021 play-offs: Matches, teams & Nations League qualification explained

The European Championship play-offs will determine the last four places at the finals, and here’s what you need to know about them

The qualifying stages of Euro 2021 are approaching an end, but we still won’t know the full roster of participating teams until June 2020.

Twenty teams automatically advanced to the finals through the qualifying stages, which leaves four additional teams fighting for a spot through the play-offs.

Things, of course, were complicated by the global crisis of the coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak, but Goal has everything you need to know.

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What are the Euro 2021 play-offs?

The top two in each of the 10 Euro 2021 qualifying groups automatically advance to the tournament, making for 20 participants.

The four remaining places, then, are determined through the play-offs.

Whereas in previous editions of the Euros where play-off participants were determined by their performances in the qualifiers, for 2021 they were decided based on their standings in the UEFA Nations League.

The play-offs will take place in June 2020 .

What is the UEFA Nations League? Finals, fixtures, results & how it works

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How do the Euro 2021 play-offs work?

In addition to the 20 teams who qualify for the competition by finishing in the top two of the 10 groups, four teams will qualify via the play-offs.

A total of 16 teams participate in the play-offs based on their Nations League group finishes and performances.

Four play-off routes are involved, with four teams allocated to each route.

There are two semi-finals and one final per route, and each match will be single-leg matches – there will be no two-legged matches unlike in previous years.

During the semi-final stage, the best-ranked Nations League team is at home against the fourth-placed side, and the second-ranked team will welcome the third-best team.

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Which teams qualified for the Euro 2021 play-offs?

Here’s where it all seems to get a bit complicated. The winners of the 16 Nations League groups (Groups A, B, C and D) progressed to the play-offs.

But the way the structure of the play-offs is set, roughly half of the Nations League group winners qualified for the Euro finals directly. Since they don’t need to qualify from the play-offs, their place will be allocated to the next best-ranked team from that League.

Here are the teams in the play-offs.

Path A:  Iceland, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary
Path B:  Bosnia and Herzegovina , SlovakiaRepublic of Ireland, Northern Ireland
Path C:  Scotland, Norway, Serbia, Israel
Path D:  Georgia, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Belarus

Rank Path A Rank Path B
1 Iceland ?? 1 Bosnia and Herzegovina ?? 
2 Bulgaria ?? 2 Slovakia ??
3 Romania ?? 3 Republic of Ireland ??
4 Hungary ?? 4 Northern Ireland 
Rank Path C Rank Path D
1 Scotland ??????? 1 Georgia ??
2 Norway ?? 2 North Macedonia ??
3 Serbia ?? 3 Kosovo ??
4 Israel ?? 4 Belarus ??

A draw took place on November 22 to confirm the play-off matches and the outcome can be seen below.

Iceland will take on Romania in semi-final one of Path A, while Bulgaria face Hungary in the other semi-final.

The winner of Bulgaria vs Hungary will have home advantage in the final.

Date Team Result Team
Jun TBC Iceland  Romania
Jun TBC Bulgaria Hungary
Jun TBC Winner semi-final 1 Winner semi-final 2

Semi-final one sees Bosnia-Herzegovina take on Northern Ireland and Slovakia face the Republic of Ireland in the other semi-final.

Either Bosnia-Herzegovina or Northern Ireland will be the hosts for the final.

Date Team Result Team
Jun TBC Bosnia & Herzegovina Northern Ireland
Jun TBC Slovakia Republic of Ireland
Jun TBC Winner semi-final 1 Winner semi-final 2

Scotland face Israel in one of the semi-finals, while Norway take on Serbia in the other.

The winner of Norway vs Serbia will be at home for the final.

Date Team Result Team
Jun TBC Scotland Israel
Jun TBC Norway Serbia
Jun TBC Winner semi-final 1 Winner semi-final 2

Georgia lock horns with Belarus, while North Macedonia play Kosovo in the other semi-final in path D.

The final will be hosted be the winner of Georgia vs Belarus.

Date Team Result Team
Jun TBC Georgia Belarus
Jun TBC North Macedonia Kosovo
Jun TBC Winner semi-final 1 Winner semi-final 2

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Which teams have qualified for Euro 2021?

A total of 20 countries – Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and Wales – have already secured their places automatically and will not need to participate in the play-offs.

Euro 2021: Which countries have qualified for the 24-team finals?

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When are the play-offs?

The play-offs will take place on June 2020. They had originally been scheduled for March 2020, but pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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