Women's Euros: Who needs what to qualify?

Sophie Ingle (left), Rachel Furness (middle) and Caroline Weir
Sophie Ingle (left), Rachel Furness (middle) and Caroline Weir will look to help their nations reach the Euros

Qualifying for the Women’s Euro 2022 tournament reaches a crucial stage this week with Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales all still in with a chance of reaching next year’s finals.

The 16-team competition, initially set for 2021 but moved because of the coronavirus pandemic, is being held in England and starts on 6 July.

Hosts England qualify automatically, and they have already been joined by five other teams, leaving 10 more spots up for grabs.

With anything from one to four more matches remaining in each group, there are still 17 nations in with a shot at qualifying.

Friday, 27 November: Northern Ireland v Belarus (19:00 GMT) on Red Button & BBC Sport website, Portugal v Scotland (19:00) on BBC Alba & BBC Sport website
Tuesday, 1 December: Wales v Belarus (19:10) & Northern Ireland v Faroe Islands (19:00) on BBC Sport website, Scotland v Finland (19:30) on BBC Alba & BBC Sport website

Who has qualified?

England (as hosts), Denmark, Germany, Netherlands (holders), Norway and Sweden

We’re showing Northern Ireland v Belarus on Friday, 27 November on red button and streaming Wales v Belarus and Northern Ireland v Faroe Islands on 1 December.

BBC Alba may also be showing Scotland games.

How does qualifying work?

Teams are split into nine groups (two containing six teams and seven containing five teams).

Group winners automatically qualify, as do the three best runners-up (runners-up in six-team groups will not have results against the sixth-placed team counted towards their total).

The remaining six runners-up will enter a play-off match in April, with the three winning teams taking the final three places.

What do Wales and Northern Ireland need?

Only one of Wales or Northern Ireland can qualify, with both teams battling for second place in Group C.

Norway, quarter-finalists at the 2019 World Cup, have already won the group by winning all six of their matches so far.

Wales, currently second, are three points clear of Northern Ireland in third, but have played one game more.

If Northern Ireland win both of their remaining games, at home to Belarus and the Faroe Islands, they will guarantee second place and at least a play-off spot.

Wales need to beat Belarus in their sole remaining fixture and hope Northern Ireland drop points in either of their two games. Should both teams finish on the same number of points, Northern Ireland will finish higher by virtue of scoring two away goals in their 2-2 draw in Newport last year.

Key games:

  • Northern Ireland v Belarus (27 November)
  • Northern Ireland v Faroe Islands (1 December)
  • Wales v Belarus (1 December)

What do Scotland need?

The postponement of matches, because of the pandemic, has played havoc with the the landscape of Group E.

Scotland, currently third, still have four more matches to play and cannot confirm a top-two spot during the next two fixtures.

With games against the two teams above them this week, Finland and Portugal, and just four points separating the top three, wins in both of those matches would leave Shelley Kerr’s side in a very strong position however.

Defeats by Finland and Portugal would sharply diminish the Scots’ hopes of reaching back-to-back Euros and following up on their maiden World Cup appearance last year.

Key games:

  • Portugal v Scotland (27 November)
  • Scotland v Finland (1 December)
  • Cyprus v Scotland and Scotland v Portugal (date to be confirmed)

Anything else to look out for?

Elsewhere there seems little prospect of any shocks.

Of the teams from Europe’s top 10 ranked sides still to qualify – France, Spain, Italy and Belgium – only Spain are yet to guarantee a top-two spot, but a win against Poland on 1 December would secure their qualification.

Similarly, if France beat Austria on Friday, they will book their spot in the competition.

The Republic of Ireland face the daunting task of having to beat eight-time Euros winners Germany in Dublin on Tuesday to guarantee finishing second – or hope Ukraine fail to beat Montenegro, who have picked up no points from seven matches so far.


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