Euro 2020 Playoff Finals This Week Our Tips for Each of the Four Games
This week, the majority of teams in Europe will be playing a friendly game, or perhaps resting ahead of a double-header of Nations League matches taking place across the weekend and then into the following week.
However for eight teams in Europe, the stakes could not be much higher on Thursday night as they will battle it out across four Euro 2020 Playoff Final matches to decide which four teams will qualify for the delayed finals tournament which is not scheduled to take place next summer. The teams include two UK based teams in Northern Ireland and Scotland, as well as a host of teams from Eastern and Cental Europe and one from Scandinavia.
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Let’s now take a look ahead to the four crucial games taking place across Europe this week that will decide who the final four teams are that will join the 20 already qualified for next summer’s 2020 European Championship Finals.
Euro 2020 Playoff Finals
All kick off times are 7.45pm UK time apart from the Georgia v North Macedonia game which kicks off at 5pm UK Time.
The Path that each game refers to is their pathway into the finals and will determine which group the team will be placed in should they qualify from the playoff. You can see more information on this in the sections below the tips for each of the four games.
- Georgia v North Macedonia (Path D)
Both of these sides are hoping to qualify for their first ever Major international finals tournament and they have very recent history having played each other in both September and October in the Nations League, drawing both games home and away by the same 1-1 scoreline.
In fact, all factors in this tie point to a very tight, close and nervy affair and as such, I can’t see this one being decided in normal time, or even extra time and I think it will take the lottery of a penalty shootout to see who does go on to the finals next summer.
Tip – Two teams with ambitions of reaching their first ever Major finals, I expect extra time and penalties to be needed to decide the winner here, so back the draw at 2/1.
- Hungary v Iceland (Path A)
These two teams met in Euro 2016 and played out a 1-1 draw at the finals. Since then I feel the Icelandic team has probably drifted a little downwards in terms of quality, while Hungary have been rather more on an upward trend and have picked up some decent results in recent times.
The fact that the game is in Budapest also is an advantage to the Hungarians and while a couple of years ago I’d have plumped for Iceland here for sure, now I feel the advantage lies slightly with the home team and as such, I think Hungary are the team to back here.
Tip – A tough one to call but I think an improving Hungary side have the edge here (11/8).
- Northern Ireland v Slovakia (Path B)
Having earned a win away to Bosnia& Herzegovina in the last round, Northern Ireland will be very confident of getting a result against a similarly talented Slovakia at home. The Slovak side does have some excellent players, notably Marek Hamsik, but they are not the best travellers in the World.
In four games previously, Slovakia have won two, Northern Ireland one and the last game, back in 2016, saw a 0-0 draw battled out between the teams. This will be close but I just fancy the home side to have a little luck of the Irish and to do just enough to claim the win.
Tip – Take Northern Ireland to land a famous win at 7/4.
- Serbia v Scotland (Path C)
A place in a group with England, Croatia and the Czech Republic is up for grabs for Serbia and Scotland. The Serbians defeated Norway in Norway to reach this stage, while Scotland defeated Israel on penalties to earn a shot at the Serbians.
For me this game hinges on location and the fact that this game is in Serbia does make this an incredibly difficult task for Scotland I feel. Serbia have a decent home record and without their massive crowd support, they will be affected but even so I would expect them to win this game.
Tip – Take Serbia to take the win here at odds of 13/20 with bet365 Sport.
Where will each of the four qualifiers be placed in Euro 2020?
Given that the tournament for Euro 2020 has been delayed, the draw for the finals had already been made, so we do know exactly which group each of the four potential qualifiers will be placed into for the finals this summer.
- Group A – Turkey, Italy, Wales, Switzerland
- Group B – Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Russia
- Group C – Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, Georgia or North Macedonia
- Group D – England, Croatia, Serbia or Scotland, Czech Republic
- Group E – Spain, Sweden, Poland, Northern Ireland or Slovakia
- Group F – Hungary or Iceland , Portugal, France, Germany
The teams in italics are contesting the Playoff finals this week to decide which one reaches the finals.
This does raise the exciting prospect of a potential England v Scotland clash at a Major finals for the first time since Euro 1996, while Iceland or Hungary face the unenviable task of competing in a group with current European Champions Portugal, current World Champions France and Germany.
Whoever qualifies this week, it is sure to be an interesting tournament next summer, with official mooting the prospect of just one host country, rather than the games being played across Europe, as was the original plan for this 60th anniversary tournament.