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Euros Play-offs: Teams, dates and format

The Euro 2024 Qualifying Group Stage concluded on Tuesday, with all eyes now on the play-offs for the teams who failed to finish in the top two in their sections.

Some teams were already assured of a play-off place due to their 2022/23 Nations League performances, while others finished third in their respective groups, with three remaining places up for grabs when the final qualifying stage begins.

Euros Play-offs Format

There are three play-off paths, with one nation from each assured a place at the finals next summer.

The four best-ranked sides from each of the Nations League groups A, B and C in the group stage, who did not achieve automatic qualification, go into the play-offs.

This means teams should only play teams of a similar level to themselves as the draws are based on Nations League ranking, to give a fairer playing field to smaller sides.

Although that has not quite worked out as only two teams from League A needed a play-off - Poland and Wales.

This means that Estonia, the best-ranked winner of a Nations League D group, have been promoted to path A to fill one spot, while a draw that took place on November 23rd decided randomly that Finland - one of the best-ranked sides in League B alongside Ukraine and Iceland - would go into Path A as well.

The ranking system is based predominantly on Nations League performance, which is the explanation as to why Estonia were picked ahead of fellow League D winners Latvia for the play-offs, despite taking two fewer points in their group stage games.

With four teams now in each path, a one-legged semi-final will be followed by a final in each section, meaning one side Paths A, B and C will all progress.

Euros Play-offs Date

The semi-finals are set to take place on the 21st March 2024 with just a five-day turnaround before the final of each path on 26th March 2024.

Euros Play-offs Time

Euro 2024 Play-off matches are likely to be played at 19:45 GMT. 

Euros Play-offs Venues

As the best performing sides in their respective sections, Wales, Poland, Bosnia, Israel, Georgia and Greece will all play host in the semi-finals. 

The home team for the finals were picked via a random draw on November 23rd, where it was decided that the winners of Wales v Finland, Bosnia vs Ukraine and Georgia vs Luxembourg would host the finals of their respective paths. 

Euros Play-offs How to watch

A mixture of broadcasters will show the matches, with Viaplay and Sky most likely to showcase the ties with S4C and BBC set to provide coverage for Wales’ fixture.

How did each nation reach the Euro 2024 play-offs?

Path A:

Poland: The Eagles finished third in Group E, somewhat disappointingly behind Albania and Czech Republic.

Wales: The Dragons needed a miracle to qualify from Group D on the final matchday, but could only manage a 1-1 draw with Turkey, so had to settle for third and a play-off place.

Estonia: Despite only taking one point in the group stage, Estonia achieved a play-off place through a combination of their Nations League performance and a need for an extra team in Path A.

Finland: The Finns finished third in Group H which secured their play-off spot. However, due to too many sides from League A qualifying automatically, Finland were promoted to path A for the play-offs via a random draw.

Path B:

Israel: The Skyblue and Whites finished third in Group I, behind shock section-winners Romania and Switzerland.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Savo Milošević’s side could only manage fifth in Group J, but secured a place in Path B due to winning Nations League Group B3 earlier in the year.. 

Iceland: The stars of the 2016 Euros have underperformed since, but still managed to secure a play-off place after finishing second in their Nations League group, despite not winning a match. 

Ukraine: Despite playing their home matches at neutral venues, Ukraine only missed out on automatic qualification on their head-to-head record with Italy. They were drawn to remain in Path B, alongside Iceland, as Finland were promoted to Path A.

Path C: 

Georgia: The side led by star player Khvicha Kvaratskhelia finished fourth in Group A, but qualified having won their Nations League group while going unbeaten. 

Luxembourg: The small nation were close to securing automatic qualification, but just missed out, meaning they head into the play-offs after finishing second in their Nations League group to Turkey, who have already qualified for the finals.

Greece: Gus Poyet’s side held their own in a group with France and the Netherlands, finishing a respectable third. 

Kazakhstan: The small nation were in with a chance of automatic qualification until the final two games, which was a great achievement, and they will be hoping to carry that momentum into the play-offs, in which their place was guaranteed following their Nations League Group C3 win. 

Euros Play-offs fixtures

Path A: 
21st March: Semi-finals
Poland vs Estonia
Wales vs Finland

Path B: 
21st March: Semi-finals
Israel vs Iceland
Bosnia vs Ukraine

Path C: 
21st March: Semi-finals
Georgia vs Luxembourg
Greece vs Kazakhstan

Euro 2024

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