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17th Nov 2015

The best (and worst) draws for British and Irish teams at Euro 2016

Kevin Beirne

For the first time ever, there will be four home nations teams at a major international tournament (sorry Nations Cup and British Home Championship, you don’t count).

With Ireland’s victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina on Monday night, the way in which the teams will be seeded for the Euro 2016 group stages is starting to look a little clearer thanks to the folks at FootballSeeding.com.

Unfortunately, if you were dreaming of an all-British and Irish group like us then you’ll be severely disappointed as the Republic of Ireland, Wales and Northern Ireland look set to be placed in the bottom pot.

Northern Ireland will in fact be the lowest ranked team in the tournament, just highlighting what an achievement it was for Michael O’Neill’s side to qualify.

England will take their customary spot in Pot 1, alongside World Cup winners Germany and defending Euro champions Spain.

euro2016 seedings

England’s best draw:

England (Pot 1), Switzerland (Pot 2), Hungary (Pot 3), Albania (Pot 4)

Having twice beaten them in qualifying, Roy Hodgson’s men will have no fear of the Swiss. Likewise, Hungary and Albania will seem like handy enough options for England as they look to record their first European title.

England’s worst draw:

England (Pot 1), Italy (Pot 2), Sweden (Pot 3), Wales (Pot 4)

While Austria have been in fine form in qualification, it’s hard to look past Italy as the toughest team in Pot 2. In Pot 3, Sweden and Czech Republic represent the biggest threat, and English fans know right well that Zlatan Ibrahimovic can do.

Pot 4 is surprisingly strong at this tournament, with both Irish teams sure to get extra pumped up if they were to face Wayne Rooney and co. England have not beaten the Republic in the two times they have faced off in a major tournament, losing in 1988 and drawing in 1990.

But the biggest threat to English chances is probably Gareth Bale and Wales. In their first Euros appearance ever, the Welsh players will be ready to tear down trees – especially if their closest neighbours stand in their way.

during the UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying match between Wales and Belgium at the Cardiff City Stadium on June 12, 2015 in Cardiff, United Kingdom.

Best draw for Wales/Northern Ireland/ Rep. of Ireland:

England (Pot 1), Ukraine (Pot 2), Hungary (Pot 3), Wales/Northern Ireland/Rep. of Ireland (Pot 4)

It might be controversial to say, but the Welsh and Irish teams would probably rather face England than Portugal. England have not beaten the Republic since 1985 – three years before the their first appearance at a major finals. In the seven meetings since, there have been six draws and one Irish victory.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland famously beat the English ten years ago thanks to a David Healy strike, while Wales would likely relish the chance to get one over Roy Hodgson’s men.

As evidenced by their limp through the play-offs against a poor Slovenian side, Ukraine are the weakest team in Pot 2. Every team outside of Pot 3 will be hoping to meet Hungary – especially the Northern Irishmen, who picked up four points against them in qualifying.

Northern Ireland v England

Worst draw for Wales, Northern Ireland or Rep. of Ireland:

Germany (Pot 1), Italy (Pot 2), Sweden (Pot 3),
Wales/Northern Ireland/Rep. of Ireland (Pot 4)

Even though they looked vulnerable in qualifying, nobody will want to be drawn against the Germans. The Republic of Ireland somehow took four points off the world champions, but we’re not sure they’d like to push their luck much further.

With Spain and Belgium also lurking in Pot 1, things could get messy if they are put in the same group as Italy. Meanwhile, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s presence makes Sweden a threat in Pot 3.

Best draw for Scotland

Every team ahead of them pulls out so they can do a Denmark on it and win the whole thing.

Worst draw for Scotland

You’re living it.