Germany and the Netherlands are to face off again in a tough qualifying group for the UEFA Euro Cup 2020, according to the draw held on Sunday in Dublin.
The results of the draw pit the two historically-powerful teams against one another just weeks after they clashed in the debut UEFA Nations League, in which Germany fared poorly while the Netherlands snatched a ticket to the semi-finals.
"It’s a fairly standard group in terms of difficulty. Ourselves and the Netherlands are the favourites and both should go through." - Joachim Low, Germany coach
The remaining Group C countries are Northern Ireland, Estonia and Belarus.
The president of the German football association, Reinhard Grindel, stressed that "The Netherlands will obviously provide a stern test, but looking at the group, we simply have to qualify for Euro 2020."
Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman asserted that the two sides know each other well, having just played against each other, and added that he was content with the rest of the group.
Because of Germany's poor performance in the Nations League, Die Mannschaft fell to "Pot 2" in Sunday's draw, from which teams were drawn into the second positions in the ten groups.
Germany won the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but was knocked out of this summer's World Cup in the group stage, while the Netherlands failed to qualify.
Spain was drawn in the Euro 2020 Group F of alongside Sweden, Norway, Romania, the Faroe Islands and Malta.
On paper, Spain's main rivals seem to be Sweden and Romania, ranked 14th and 24th by FIFA, respectively.
Defending champion Portugal will compete in Group B, which includes Ukraine, Serbia, Lithuania and Luxemburg.
France, the 2016 Euro runner-up and the 2018 FIFA World Cup champion, will square off against Iceland, Turkey, Albania, Moldavia and Andorra in Group H.
England has a relatively lightweight field in Group A, facing Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Kosovo.
The tournament will open in Rome on June 12 before ending in London at Wembley Stadium, which will stage both semifinals and the final on July 12, 2020.
Here’s a look at all the groups of the Euro 2020 Qualifiers:
England has a seemingly smooth path to the finals, when it will host at least two games in the group stage at Wembley and then could lift the trophy at its national stadium.
Gareth Southgate's side, which this year unexpectedly reached the World Cup semi-finals and advanced to the Nations League Final Four, was drawn alongside Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Kosovo.
Having declared independence from Serbia in 2008, Kosovo is in European Championship qualifying for the first time after gaining UEFA membership in 2016.
Defending European champion Portugal was drawn alongside Ukraine, Serbia, Lithuania and Luxembourg.
While Group C appears challenging, apart from Germany and the Netherlands, the other teams are Northern Ireland, Estonia and Belarus, with the top two qualifying automatically.
Ireland, which qualified for the last two Euros, has games in the group stage and Round of 16 in Dublin. The hosts of Sunday's draw were paired with Switzerland, Denmark, Georgia and Gibraltar.
Croatia, which reached the World Cup final for the first time in July, is with Wales, Slovakia, Hungary and Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani capital Baku has group stage and a quarterfinal match in 2020.
Spain is using Bilbao in the group stage and last 16 at the 2020 tournament. In qualifying, the 2008 and 2012 European champions are with Sweden, Norway, Romania, Malta and the Faeroe Islands.
This is the only group without any 2020 host country: Poland, Austria, Israel, Slovenia, Macedonia and Latvia.
France, which won the World Cup in July and lost the Euro 2016 final on home soil, is in qualifying with Iceland, Turkey, Albania and Moldova.
Belgium, FIFA's top-ranked team that reached the World Cup semi-finals, will return to Russia in Group I and also face Scotland, Cyprus, Kazakhstan and San Marino.
Italy, which failed to qualify for the World Cup, is in Group J with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Finland, Greece, Armenia and Liechtenstein.
The winner and the runner-up of each of the ten groups will qualify automatically for the 2020 Euro, which will be played in 12 European countries between June 12 and July 12.
The 24-team lineup will be completed in March 2020 when the last four places at the tournament are decided through a new playoff system.
Four teams from each of four Nations League tiers that were completed last month will play in a mini-tournament featuring semifinals and a final. If one of the Nations League group winners have already secured a spot, the next-best team in that tier will make the playoffs.
It is separate from the Nations League Final Four in June 2019.
(With inputs from AP)
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