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England v Czechia & Bulgaria preview
England on the road in Prague and Sofia
- England will arrive in Prague on Wednesday knowing that they will be one of the first teams to qualify for Euro 2020 if they beat Czech Republic on Friday. England are currently three points ahead of the Czechs and a win will put them out of reach at the top of qualifying group A. Even a draw will be sufficient if they also beat Bulgaria in Sofia the following Monday. The previous home matches against Czechia and Bulgaria ended 5-0 and 4-0 respectively.
England already know that they will be in group D of Euro 2020 along with Scotland - if both teams qualify - but it will be important to maintain their current level to be certain of being seeded in the final draw and avoid another big team in the group stage. England have already scored 19 goals in qualifying, the most by any side and in one fewer match as the next best team.
Czech Republic are currently ranked 44th and Bulgaria 62nd.
- Posted: 7th October 2019 10:32am
It's almost coming home
England will qualify with a win in Prague
- According to our friends at football-rankings.info England now have a 99.89% chance of qualifying for next year's Euro 2020. Following two more victories: 4-0 against Bulgaria and 5-3 v Kosovo, England sit pretty on top of Qualifying Group A with 12 points, three points ahead of Czech Republic with a game in hand.
football-rankings.info regularly do simulations after each round of qualifying and England now have a 99.76% chance of reaching Euro 2020 directly. As England have already secured at least a play-off place this is boosted to 99.89% as there is a tiny 0.13% chance that England will qualify via the playoffs. That playoff percentage is so small because England only require a victory in their next game in the Czech Republic to guarantee a place for next year's finals.
In other news, England will stay fourth in the FIFA rankings when they are published on 19th September. England gained ten ranking points but still remain a long way off the top three of Brazil, France and Belgium.
- Posted: 13th October 2019 2:32pm
England v Bulgaria & Kosovo preview
New season, new opposition and new players
- England will start their 2019/20 season with the visit of Bulgaria to Wembley on Saturday followed by hosting Kosovo in Southampton on Tuesday.
Bulgaria's last encounters with the Three Lions were in 2010/11 during Euro 2012 qualifying. England won both games 3-0 & 4-0 - in fact Bulgaria are yet to record any win over England in the ten games played between the sides. Bulgaria have two points from four games in the current qualifying group and with England registering record wins over both Czech Republic and Montenegro earlier this year it's hard to see the visitors registering their first win in England.
As for Kosovo, this is their first attempt to qualify for the European Championship as an independent nation, having become UEFA members in 2016. Naturally, England have never played Kosovo before.
England go into these two games with new squad members: Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Tyrone Mings receive their first call-ups whilst uncapped James Maddison and Mason Mount rejoin the squad for the first time since last October.
England are top of Group A in qualifying with six points, ahead of Czech Republic also on six but having played a game extra.
- Posted: 13th October 2019 2:32pm
Inaugural UEFA Nations League Finals
England play Netherlands in Thursday's semi-final
- The inaugural UEFA Nations League Finals start on the 5th June 2019 with hosts Portugal playing Switzerland for a place in Sunday's final. The other semi-final includes England against Netherlands on 6th June.
All four teams won their League A groups. Portugal overcame Italy & Poland, Switzerland: Belgium & Iceland, Netherlands: France & Germany and England: Spain & Croatia.
England have an identical record against Netherlands, played 21, won 6, lost 6, and drawn 9 but this will be the first competitive match since Euro '96 when England ran out 4-1 winners.
The winners of each semi-final will play the final at 7:45pm on Sunday 9th June whilst the losers will contest the third place play-off at 2pm the same day.
- Posted: 5th June 2019 9:13am
England up to 4th and qualification almost certain
Currently ranked No 1 in UEFA final tournament draw
- England find themselves sitting pretty at the top of the pile after the first round of qualification games. They are currently ranked first in UEFA's final tournament seedings. Not that it matters too much as England already know they will be placed in Group D of the final draw should they qualify. However, staying in the top eight will be enough to avoid some of the other big hitters.
In other good news, England will move up one place to fourth in the latest FIFA World Rankings when they are published on 4th April. Two handsome wins against Czech Republic and Montenegro garnered 16 ranking points, which is enough to see them leapfrog Croatia, who surprisingly lost to Hungary over the weekend. England will remain some distance from third-placed Brazil, but the lead has narrowed slightly after the South American's could only manage a draw with Panama.
Our friends at www.football-rankings.info have run 10,000 simulations based on the first two games of Euro 2020 qualifiers and the chances of England's qualification has risen to an almost certain 99.62%. This is up from 92.25% before we started. Direct qualification (no play-off route) is 99.43% up from 87.4%. Belgium and France also have a >99% chance whilst Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland and Poland are >90%.
Wales currently have 73.5%, Northern Ireland 27.3% both slightly up but Scotland, after their humiliation in Kazakhstan have slipped to 41% down almost 20 points. They do have a luxury of an assured play-off spot, which is increasingly looking like the probably route they will have to take.
- Posted: 29th March 2019 4:19am
Euro 2020 Qual Group A