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England v Montenegro & Kosovo preview
England's 1,000th game
- England face Montenegro in their 1,000th match on Thursday knowing that a single point is all that's required to qualify directly for Euro 2020; a tournament that will see six games played at Wembley Stadium including the final. England need only a point, and even if they were to lose at Wembley, they would get over the line as long as Czech Republic v Kosovo is not a draw.
Montenegro lost 5-1 to England in Podgorica in March and have yet to win in Group A having lost four and drawn three (twice against bottom team Bulgaria and against Kosovo). England have scored 26 goals so far in qualifying compared to Montenegro's three.
On Sunday, England will play their last qualifying game, in Pristina against Kosovo, and if they have not managed qualification by this point they will do so should they not lose by two or more goals. England won 5-3 at Wembley in September. Both Kosovo and England have the backup of an assured playoff spot whichever fails to make it directly.
A qualified England, as one of the designated hosts for Euro 2020 already know they will be Group D of the final tournament with all their group games being played at Wembley Stadium. They will also be joined by Scotland, if they prevail via the playoffs, otherwise it will be the team which wins playoff path C (at the time of writing this is between Scotland, Norway, Serbia and one of Bulgaria, Israel or Romania).
England also, are currently one of the top six seeds - and two wins in their final two qualifying games will cement that - which means that they will not be drawn against any other top seeds - and as a host they cannot be grouped with other hosts; coupled together the possible teams England could play in the group stage are very narrow indeed. More on that in the next update...
- Posted: 11th November 2019 10:00am
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
Euro 2020 Qual Group A