UEFA European Championship qualifying
This page is a summary of the UEFA European Championship qualifying, the process that UEFA-affiliated national association football teams go through in order to qualify for the UEFA European Championship.
|Number of teams||55 (currently)|
|Related competitions||UEFA European Championship|
|UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying|
Since 1960, European Championship final tournaments have been contested in June or July of every fourth year. The qualifying procedure for each final tournament has usually included qualifying matches held during the two years preceding that year (for example, the Euro 2016 qualifying spanned from September 2014 to November 2015). In this article, the years correspond to the final tournaments of the European Championship, and not to the actual dates when the qualification matches were played.
|played at least one match[a]||28||33|
|qualified through qualification||4||4||4||4||4||7||7||7||7||15||14||15||14||14||23||24|
- Data is about qualifications only (automatic qualifiers are not counted).
The 1960 and 1964 qualifications consisted of a knock-out tournament only. The four quarter-final-winning teams would qualify for the final stages, and one of them would be chosen to host the tournament.
The 1968, 1972, and 1976 qualifying tournaments included a group stage of eight groups. The eight group winners would advance to a quarter-final stage, which was still part of the qualifying. The four quarter-final winners would progress to the finals. Again, the host nation would be chosen among the four finalists.
From 1980 onwards, the hosting rights would be assigned in advance to one or two countries, and the host teams would be guaranteed an automatic spot in the finals and would not have to go through qualification. Also, the format was expanded to feature 8 teams. The 1980, 1984, 1988, and 1992 qualifications included seven qualifying groups, and the seven group winners would progress to the finals joining the host team.[Note 1992]
From 1996, the 16-team format was employed. The 1996 qualifying consisted of eight groups; the eight group winners and the six best runners-up would qualify directly, while the two worst runners-up would meet in a play-off to determine the last team to earn a spot in the finals, joining the host country.
In 2000, the winners of the nine qualifying groups would qualify for the finals, and so would the best runner-up. The remaining eight runners-up would enter a play-off round, where they would be paired off against each other; the winners of each pairing would qualify too. For the first time, there were two host countries; they both received automatic berths in the finals.
In 2004, along with the host team, the ten qualifying group winners would qualify, as would the winners of each of the five play-off ties which would be contested by the ten runners-up.
In 2008, the top two teams from each of the seven qualifying groups would join the two host teams to bring the number of finalists to 16.
The 2012 qualification used a format similar to that of 2000: spots would be given to nine group winners and the best runner-up, and the remaining eight runners-up would enter play-offs to determine the remaining four finalists, with automatic berths being guaranteed to the two host countries.
From 2016, the finals format was expanded again, now featuring 24 teams. The 2016 qualifying included nine groups; the winners, the runners-up, and the best third-placed team would qualify, while the remaining eight third-placed teams would form four play-off pairings to determine the last four finalists. The host nation would still qualify automatically.
For the 2020 finals, hosted by multiple cities across Europe, there would be no automatic qualifying berths. 20 of the 24 qualifying places would go to the winners and runners-up of the ten groups of the 2020 qualifying, while the remaining four would be determined via play-offs. Participation in those play-offs would be determined based on the teams' performances in the newly formed UEFA Nations League and not in the qualifying itself. From each of the four divisions of the 2018–19 Nations League, the four best-placed teams not yet qualified for Euro 2020 (the group winners, unless already qualified) would advance to a four-team play-off for that division using a knock-out system of semi-finals and a final. The four final winners would qualify for the Euro main tournament.
All national teams that are members of UEFA are eligible to enter the qualification for the European Championship. A total of 56 distinct entities have made attempts to qualify for the European Championship. Of those, 55 are still active in the competition. Due to political changes, a few of the entities have appeared under multiple incarnations (see the footnotes to the below table), and the East Germany team is now defunct.
- Successor teams inheriting the records of former teams (as considered by UEFA and FIFA)
- Czechoslovakia dissolved into the Czech Republic and Slovakia and was succeeded by the Czech Republic from the 1996 qualification onwards.
- After completing the 1992 qualification, the Soviet Union dissolved into multiple countries and was succeeded and replaced by the provisional Commonwealth of Independent States team for the 1992 finals, which in turn was succeeded by Russia from the 1996 qualification onwards.
- SFR Yugoslavia broke up into multiple countries and was succeeded from the 2000 qualification by FR Yugoslavia, later renamed as Serbia and Montenegro. It entered the 2008 qualification, but, before playing any matches, split into the independent countries of Serbia and Montenegro and was succeeded and replaced by Serbia.
- West Germany entered the 1992 qualification, but, before playing any matches, reunified with East Germany and was succeeded and replaced by the reunited nation of Germany.
- Teams competing as parts of other teams
- East Germany entered the 1992 qualification, but withdrew before playing any matches, joined West Germany, and since then competes as part of the reunited nation of Germany.
- Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, and Ukraine previously competed as parts of the Soviet Union (1960–1992). All of them except Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania also competed in the Euro 1992 finals as parts of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia (later renamed as North Macedonia), Montenegro, and Slovenia previously competed as parts of SFR Yugoslavia (1960–1992). Kosovo and Montenegro then competed as parts of FR Yugoslavia, later renamed as Serbia and Montenegro (2000–2004). Kosovo then competed as part of Serbia (2008), before unilaterally breaking off from it and eventually being admitted to UEFA.
- Slovakia previously competed as part of Czechoslovakia (1960–1992).
- Renamed teams
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||3/6||4/5||4/7||2/6+p||3/6+p|
| Czech Republic (1996—)
| Germany (1992—)
West Germany (1968–1988)
| North Macedonia (2020—)
|Republic of Ireland||pr||QF||3/4||4/4||2/4||3/5||3/5||1/5||2/4||2/6+p||2/5+p||3/5||3/7||2/6+p||3/6+p|
| Russia (1996—)
Soviet Union (1960–1992)
| Serbia (2008—)
Serbia and Montenegro (2004)
FR Yugoslavia (2000–2004)
- golden background = Team completed a successful qualifying campaign. Excludes automatic qualifiers; includes Yugoslavia in 1992; excludes Denmark in 1992[Note 1992]
- red font colour = Team participated in the final tournament. Includes automatic qualifiers; includes Denmark in 1992; excludes Yugoslavia in 1992[Note 1992]
- Qhost = Team qualified automatically as host
- QW = Team qualified for the final tournament as quarter-finals winner
- QF = Team was eliminated in the quarter-finals
- r16 = Team was eliminated in the round of 16
- pr = Team was eliminated in the preliminary round
- X/Y = Team came Xth in a qualifying group of Y teams
- X/Y+QW = Team came Xth in a qualifying group of Y teams and then qualified for the final tournament as winner of a subsequent quarter-final
- X/Y+QF = Team came Xth in a qualifying group of Y teams and then was eliminated in a subsequent quarter-final
- X/Y+p = Team came Xth in a qualifying group of Y teams and then entered a play-off round
- dsq = Team qualified for the finals but was disqualified from participating there (Yugoslavia in 1992)[Note 1992]
- inv = Team was invited to participate in the finals after having originally failed to qualify (Denmark in 1992)[Note 1992]
- grey background = Team did not take part in qualifying
- (no caption) = Association was not a UEFA member
- DNE = Team did not enter despite association being a UEFA member
- wdr = Team entered but withdrew before playing any matches
- susp = Team was suspended from taking part in qualifying (Yugoslavia in 1996)[Note 1992]
|Team has won the European Championship|
|Team has qualified for the main tournament|
|Team hasn't qualified for the main tournament|
|Team is defunct (and never qualified for the main tournament)|
Up to and including the 2020 qualifying matches played in September 2019.
Notes on the below table:
- The 1992 qualifying attempt is treated as successful for Yugoslavia and unsuccessful for Denmark, even though Yugoslavia did not appear in the 1992 finals while Denmark did.[Note 1992]
- The Austria vs Greece match (1968 qualifying), which was declared void, is not taken into account.
- For matches that were annulled and then replayed, only the replays are counted. These include Netherlands vs Cyprus (1988 qualifying) and Georgia vs Russia (2004 qualifying).
- For matches where the scorelines were awarded, the awarded scorelines, rather than the original ones, are taken into account. These include Denmark vs Sweden (2008 qualifying), Italy vs Serbia (2012 qualifying), Serbia vs Albania (2016 qualifying), and Montenegro vs Russia (2016 qualifying).
- In the 2016 qualifying, Serbia was deducted 3 points and Croatia was deducted 1 point, which is reflected in the table.
|No.[n 1]||Team||Qualifying attempts[n 2]||Appearances
in the finals[n 3]
|Overall qualification record||Points[n 4]|
|3|| Czech Republic
Serbia and Montenegro
|13||Republic of Ireland||16||3||3||126||53||38||35||189||138||+51||197||1.563|
|34||Bosnia and Herzegovina||6||0||0||60||24||11||25||86||87||−1||83||1.383|
|43|| North Macedonia
- Teams are ranked by total points, then by goal difference, then by goals scored. Note that this column does not represent any official rankings.
- Only qualifying campaigns are counted where the team played at least one match.
- Including automatic qualifiers.
- The three points for a win system is used.
- Note 1992: Yugoslavia won their 1992 qualifying group and were due to compete at UEFA Euro 1992, but were banned from participating as the country was under international sanctions by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 757 because of the Yugoslav Wars. The sanctions also resulted in the team being banned from entering the 1996 qualification. Denmark, who had originally failed to qualify for the 1992 finals finishing second in Yugoslavia's qualifying group, were invited to replace Yugoslavia in the finals. In the tables in this article, the 1992 qualifying campaign is treated as successful for Yugoslavia and unsuccessful for Denmark.
- "European Championship 1968". RSSSF. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
- "United Nations Security Council Resolution 757 (Implementing Trade Embargo on Yugoslavia)". University of Minnesota Human Rights Center. Retrieved 27 July 2014.