The qualifying draw for Euro 2020 has been made and with any draw, some nations are much happier with their opponents than others.
After failing to qualify for World Cup, the Azzurri have been given a real chance of reaching this major tournament with Bosnia the only real threat in their group.
Manager Roberto Mancini was particularly happy to avoid Germany after his side were drawn in Group J, which also holds Finland, Greece, Armenia and Liechtenstein.
‘A good draw, the aim was to avoid Germany,’ he said. ‘We need to improve and get back to being among the top teams.’
Mladen Krstajic’s men will fancy their chances against reigning champions Portugal and Ukraine.
Lithuania and Luxembourg should also be fairly straightforward ties for the Serbs.
If they were to qualify it would also be helpful for Scotland – who would most likely meet them if they needed to go through the Nations League play-offs.
Couldn’t have gone much better for Gareth Southgate, who will not be too concerned by any of his team’s fellow Group A members.
The Three Lions will face Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Kosovo in their quest to reach Euro 2020.
The Czechs will present the biggest test in what will be a first competitive meeting between the two nations.
Southgate said: ‘We have avoided some big teams, so we have to make sure our preparation for these sort of games is spot on.’
Drawn alongside their fiercest rivals Germany, the Dutch would have been hoping for an easier group after sealing their spot in Pot One.
European champions in 1988, Holland failed to qualify for the last two major tournaments but have been rejuvenated under new coach Ronald Koeman, beating the Germans last month on their way to securing a spot in the final stages of the Nations League.
‘I wasn’t happy because they are strong, they were the strongest team in the second pot, but Germany are also not happy with Holland, I think,’ said manager Ronald Koeman.
‘I think the rest of the draw is acceptable but with the Germans, it will be a good fight. We know it will be tough to beat them. The development of the team is really positive and we look forward.’
A nightmare draw for Michael O’Neill and his team, who have been placed in the proverbial group of death alongside Germany and Holland.
The Republic of Ireland had been drawn out third from pot three, and would have gone into the group with the two giants and Belarus and Estonia.
However, as one of the hosts for the tournament in 2020 they could not be placed alongside two other fellow hosts,
Manager Michael O’Neill expressed his disappointment following the ceremony, admitting the qualifying group will be a huge test for his side.
‘To be drawn with Germany and Holland is extremely difficult,’ he said. ‘The nature of how we ended up in that group (not being a host nation for Euro 2020) is a hard one to take.
Republic of Ireland
Given a tough task with Switzerland and Denmark in their group.
Denmark finished top of their Nations League group while relegating Martin O’Neill’s side. They also thrashed them 5-1 in the World Cup play-offs last year making them somewhat a bit of a bogey team.
New boss Mick McCarthy tried to stay positive, saying his side ‘can beat anyone at home when we’ve got the crowd behind us.
Georgia and Gibraltar will be their other opponents.
EURO 2020 QUALIFYING DRAW
- Czech Republic
- Northern Ireland
- Republic of Ireland
- Faroe Islands
- San Marino
- Bosnia and Herzegovina