UEFA European Championship qualifying
UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying.png
Founded1958
RegionEurope (UEFA)
Number of teams55 (currently)
56 (overall)
Qualifier forUEFA European Championship
Related competitionsUEFA Nations League
WebsiteOfficial website

The UEFA European Championship qualifying, branded as the European Qualifiers, is the process that UEFA-affiliated national football teams go through in order to qualify for the UEFA European Championship.

In this article, the years represent the final tournaments of the European Championship, and are not meant to correspond to the actual dates when the qualification matches were played.

Format evolution

Number of teams entering qualification
France
1960
Spain
1964
Italy
1968
Belgium
1972
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
1976
Italy
1980
France
1984
West Germany
1988
Sweden
1992
England
1996
Belgium
Netherlands
2000
Portugal
2004
Austria
Switzerland
2008
Poland
Ukraine
2012
France
2016
Europe
2020
Germany
2024
Total valid entries[a] 17 29 31 32 32 31 32 32 34 47 49 50 50 51 53 55 53
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 23
Qualified automatically 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 2 2 1 0 1
Total finalists 4 4 4 4 4 8 8 8 8 16 16 16 16 16 24 24 24
  1. ^ a b Data is about qualifications only (automatic qualifiers are not counted).

Resume

Qualifying groups
Year Groups Teams
1960
1964
1968 8 3–4
1972 8 4
1976 8 4
1980 7 4–5
1984 7 4–5
1988 7 4–5
1992 7 4–5
1996 8 5–6
2000 9 5–6
2004 10 5
2008 7 7–8
2012 9 5–6
2016 9 5–6
2020 10 5–6
2024 10 5–6

The 1960 and 1964 qualifications were knock-out tournaments. The four quarter-final-winning teams qualified for the final stages, and one of them was chosen to host the competition.

From 1968 onwards, a group stage began to be used as the main, or sole, component of qualification. In 1968, 1972 and 1976, the winners of the eight groups advanced to a quarter-final stage, which was still part of the qualifying. The four quarter-final winners progressed to the finals. Again, the host nation was selected among the four finalists.

From 1980, the hosting rights would be assigned in advance, and the host teams would be guaranteed automatic qualification. The format of the finals was expanded to feature 8 teams. Winners of qualifying groups now proceded to the finals directly. The 1980, 1984, 1988 and 1992 qualifications included seven groups, the winners of which would join the hosts in the finals, although in 1992 one winner was eventually banned from appearing and was replaced by the runner-up of its group.[A]

From 1996, a 16-team format was employed for the main tournament. Runners-up in qualifying groups now could also gain access to the finals. Play-off pairings were introduced as a second opportunity for teams that narrowly miss out direct qualification. The 1996 qualifying consisted of eight groups; the group winners as well as the six best runners-up qualified, and so did the winner of the play-off between the remaining two runners-up, joining the host country.

In 2000, the first-placed teams in the nine qualifying groups as well as the best runner-up progressed directly to the finals, while another four spots were taken by winners of play-offs contested by the remaining runners-up. 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 advanced, as did the winners of the five play-off ties formed by the runners-up.

In 2008, the top two teams from each of the seven qualifying groups joined the two host teams to bring the number of finalists to 16. No play-off stage was held.

The 2012 qualification replicated the format of that of 2000: places were taken by nine group winners and the best runner-up, while the other runners-up determined four more finalists via play-offs, with automatic berths being guaranteed to the two host countries.

Starting from 2016, the finals format was expanded again, now featuring 24 teams. It became possible for third-placed teams in qualifying groups to get to the Euros too. The 2016 qualifying included nine groups; the winners, the runners-up, and the best third-placed team advanced directly, while play-offs played by the other third-placed teams determined the last four finalists. The host nation still qualified automatically. The 2016 qualification tournament was the first one to be branded as the European Qualifiers, a trademark used from that point on for both the European Championship qualifications and the FIFA World Cup qualification tournaments in Europe.

From 2020, qualification began to be linked with the newly created UEFA Nations League: participation in the qualifying play-offs was now determined based on the teams' performances in that competition and not in qualification itself. The play-offs themselves were restructured into four-team brackets consisting of semi-finals and a final. In the 2020 qualifying, the top two teams of the ten qualifying groups took twenty places in the main tournament. From each of the four divisions of the 2018–19 Nations League, the four best-ranked teams not already qualified for Euro 2020 filled in a play-off bracket for that division, and the winner of each bracket got a spot in the Euros too. There were no automatic berths for Euro 2020 as it was hosted by multiple cities across the continent. It was actually postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but retained its original branding.

In a similar fashion, the 2024 qualifying granted spots to the winners and runners-up of the ten qualifying groups, while this time only the top three divisions of the 2022–23 Nations League formed play-off brackets to determine three more finalists, and the host country got an automatic spot.

Participating teams

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.

Saarland, a former UEFA member, merged into West Germany in 1957 and therefore did not enter the qualifiers of any European Championships.

Year Debuting teams Successor teams Renamed teams
Teams No. CT
1960  Austria,  Bulgaria,  Czechoslovakia,[S 1]  Denmark,  East Germany,[P 1]  France,  Greece,  Hungary,  Norway,  Poland,  Portugal,  Republic of Ireland,  Romania,  Soviet Union,[S 2]  Spain,  Turkey,  Yugoslavia[S 3] 17 17
1964  Albania,  Belgium,  England,  Iceland,  Italy,  Luxembourg,  Malta,  Netherlands,  Northern Ireland,  Sweden,  Switzerland,  Wales 12 29
1968  Cyprus,  Finland,  Scotland,  West Germany[S 4] 4 33
1972 0 33
1976 0 33
1980 0 33
1984 0 33
1988 0 33
1992  Faroe Islands,  San Marino 2 35  Germany[S 4]
1996  Armenia,[P 2]  Azerbaijan,[P 2]  Belarus,[P 2]  Croatia,[P 3]  Estonia,[P 2]  Georgia,[P 2]  Israel,  Latvia,[P 2]  Liechtenstein,  Lithuania,[P 2]  Macedonia,[P 3][R 1]  Moldova,[P 2]  Slovakia,[P 4]  Slovenia,[P 3]  Ukraine[P 2] 15 50  Czech Republic,[S 1]  Russia[S 2]
2000  Andorra,  Bosnia and Herzegovina[P 3] 2 52  FR Yugoslavia[S 3][R 2]
2004 0 52  Serbia and Montenegro[S 3][R 2]
2008  Kazakhstan[P 2] 1 53  Serbia[S 3]
2012  Montenegro[P 3] 1 54
2016  Gibraltar 1 55
2020  Kosovo[P 3] 1 56  North Macedonia[P 3][R 1]
2024 0 56
Successor teams inheriting the records of former teams (as considered by UEFA and FIFA)
  1. ^ a b Czechoslovakia was succeeded by the Czech Republic from the 1996 qualification.
  2. ^ a b The Soviet Union was succeeded and replaced for the 1992 finals by the provisional Commonwealth of Independent States team, which in turn was succeeded by Russia from the 1996 qualification.
  3. ^ a b c d Yugoslavia was succeeded from the 2000 qualification by FR Yugoslavia / Serbia and Montenegro, which in turn was succeeded by Serbia from the 2008 qualification.
  4. ^ a b West Germany was succeeded by the reunited nation of Germany from the 1992 qualification.
Teams competing as parts of other teams
  1. ^ Since the 1992 qualification, East Germany competes as part of the reunited nation of Germany.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, and Ukraine competed as parts of the Soviet Union from 1960 to 1992. All of them except Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania also competed in the 1992 finals as parts of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Slovenia competed as parts of Yugoslavia from 1960 to 1992. Kosovo and Montenegro then competed as parts of FR Yugoslavia / Serbia and Montenegro from 2000 to 2004. Kosovo then competed as part of Serbia in 2008, before unilaterally breaking off from it and eventually being admitted to UEFA.
  4. ^ Slovakia competed as part of Czechoslovakia from 1960 to 1992.
Renamed teams
  1. ^ a b Macedonia was renamed as North Macedonia from the 2020 qualification.
  2. ^ a b FR Yugoslavia was renamed as Serbia and Montenegro during the 2004 qualification.

Overview

Team 1960 1964 1968 1972 1976 1980 1984 1988 1992 1996 2000 2004 2008 2012 2016 2020 2024
 Albania r16 3/3 4/4 5/5 4/4 5/5 6/6 5/6 4/5 5/7 5/6 2/5 4/6
 Andorra 6/6 5/5 7/7 6/6 6/6 5/6
 Armenia 6/6 5/6 4/5 7/8 3/6 5/5 5/6
 Austria QF r16 3/4 2/4 3/4 2/5 3/5 3/4 4/5 4/6 3/5 3/5 Qhost 4/6 1/6 2/6
 Azerbaijan 6/6 5/6 5/5 8/8 5/6 5/6 5/5
 Belarus 4/6 5/5 5/5 4/7 4/6 4/6 4/5+p
 Belgium pr 2/4 1/4QW 1/4QF 1/5 1/4 3/5 3/4 3/6 Qhost 3/5 5/8 3/6 1/6 1/6
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 3/6 4/5 4/7 2/6+p 3/6+p 4/6+p
 Bulgaria r16 r16 1/4QF 2/4 3/4 4/5 3/4 2/5 4/5 2/6 4/5 1/5 3/7 5/5 4/6 4/5+p
 Croatia 1/6 3/5 2/5+p 1/7 2/6+p 2/6 1/5
 Cyprus 4/4 4/4 4/4 4/4 5/5 5/5 5/5 5/6 4/5 4/5 6/7 5/5 5/6 4/6
 Czech Republic (1996—)
 Czechoslovakia (1960–1992)
QW pr 2/4 2/4 1/4QW 1/4 3/5 2/4 2/5 1/6 1/6 1/5 1/7 2/5+p 1/6 2/5
 Denmark r16 QW 4/4 4/4 4/4 5/5 1/5 1/4 2/5inv 2/6 2/5+p 1/5 4/7 1/5 3/5+p 2/5
 East Germany r16 r16 2/4 3/4 2/4 3/5 3/4 2/5 w
 England pr 1/4QW 1/4QF 2/4 1/5 2/5 1/4 1/4 Qhost 2/5+p 1/5 3/7 1/5 1/6 1/5
 Estonia 6/6 5/6 4/5 6/7 2/6+p 4/6 5/5
 Faroe Islands 5/5 5/6 6/6 5/5 7/7 6/6 5/6 5/6
 Finland 4/4 4/4 4/4 3/4 4/4 4/4 4/5 4/6 3/5 4/5 4/8 4/6 4/6 2/6
 France QW QF 1/4QF 3/4 3/4 2/4 Qhost 3/5 1/5 2/6 1/6 1/5 2/7 1/6 Qhost 1/6
 Georgia 3/6 6/6 5/5 6/7 5/6 5/6 4/5+p
 Germany (1992—)
 West Germany (1960–1988)
2/3 1/4QW 1/4QW 1/4 1/5 Qhost 1/4 1/6 1/5 1/5 2/7 1/6 1/6 1/5 Qhost
 Gibraltar 6/6 5/5
 Greece r16 w 2/4 3/4 2/4 1/4 3/5 2/5 3/5 3/6 3/6 1/5 1/7 1/6 6/6 3/6
 Hungary r16 QW 1/4QF 1/4QW 2/4 2/4 4/5 3/5 4/5 4/5 4/6 4/5 6/7 3/6 3/6+p 4/5+p
 Iceland pr 4/4 5/5 4/5 4/5 4/5 5/5 4/6 3/5 6/7 4/5 2/6 3/6+p
 Israel 5/6 2/5+p 3/5 4/7 3/6 4/6 5/6+p
 Italy r16 1/4QW 1/4QF 3/4 Qhost 4/5 1/5 2/5 2/6 1/5 1/5 1/7 1/6 1/6 1/6
 Kazakhstan 6/8 6/6 5/6 5/6
 Kosovo 3/5+p
 Latvia 5/6 4/6 2/5+p 5/7 4/6 6/6 6/6
 Liechtenstein 6/6 6/6 5/5 7/7 5/5 5/6 6/6
 Lithuania 3/6 4/6 4/5 5/7 4/5 5/6 5/5
 Luxembourg QF 4/4 4/4 4/4 4/4 5/5 5/5 4/4 5/6 5/5 5/5 7/7 6/6 5/6 4/5
 Malta pr 4/4 4/4 4/4 5/5 5/5 5/5 6/6 5/5 5/5 7/7 6/6 6/6 6/6
 Moldova 4/6 5/5 4/5 5/7 5/6 6/6 6/6
 Montenegro 2/5+p 4/6 5/5
 Netherlands r16 3/4 2/4 1/4QW 1/5 2/5 1/5 1/5 2/6+p Qhost 2/5+p 2/7 1/6 4/6 2/5
 North Macedonia (2020—)
 Macedonia (1996–2016)
4/6 4/5 4/5 5/7 5/6 6/6 3/6+p
 Northern Ireland r16 4/4 3/4 2/4 2/5 2/5 3/4 3/5 3/6 4/5 5/5 3/7 5/6 1/6 3/5+p
 Norway r16 pr 4/4 4/4 4/4 5/5 4/4 5/5 3/5 3/6 1/6 2/5+p 3/7 3/5 3/6+p 3/6+p
 Poland r16 pr 3/4 2/4 2/4 2/5 3/4 4/5 3/4 4/6 3/5 3/5 1/8 Qhost 2/6 1/6
 Portugal QF pr 2/4 2/4 3/4 3/5 1/4 3/5 2/5 1/6 2/6 Qhost 2/8 2/5+p 1/5 2/5
 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 3/5+p
 Romania QF pr 2/4 1/4QF 2/4 3/4 1/5 2/4 3/5 1/6 1/6 3/5 1/7 3/6 2/6 4/6+p
 Russia (1996—)
 Soviet Union (1960–1992)
QW QW 1/4QW 1/4QW 1/4QF 4/4 2/4 1/5 1/5 1/6 3/6 2/5+p 2/7 1/6 2/6 2/6 s
 San Marino 5/5 6/6 5/5 5/5 7/7 6/6 6/6 6/6
 Scotland 2/4 3/4 3/4 4/5 4/4 4/5 1/5 2/6 2/6+p 2/5+p 3/7 3/5 4/6 3/6+p
 Serbia (2008—)
 Serbia and Montenegro (2004)
 FR Yugoslavia (1996–2004)
 Yugoslavia (1960–1992)
QW r16 1/3QW 1/4QF 1/4QW 2/4 1/4 2/4 1/5dsq s 1/5 3/5 3/8 3/6 4/5 3/5+p
 Slovakia 3/6 3/6 3/5 4/7 4/6 2/6 3/5+p
 Slovenia 5/6 2/6+p 2/5+p 6/7 4/6 3/6+p 4/6
 Spain QF QW 1/4QF 2/4 1/4QF 1/4 1/5 1/4 3/5 1/6 1/5 2/5+p 1/7 1/5 1/6 1/6
 Sweden QF 3/4 3/4 3/4 3/4 2/5 2/5 Qhost 3/5 1/5 1/5 2/7 2/6 3/6+p 2/6
 Switzerland pr 3/4 2/4 4/4 4/5 2/4 4/5 2/5 1/5 3/5 1/5 Qhost 3/5 2/6 1/5
 Turkey r16 pr 4/4 3/4 3/4 2/4 4/5 4/4 4/4 2/5 2/5+p 2/5+p 2/7 2/6+p 3/6 2/6
 Ukraine 4/6 2/6+p 3/5 4/7 Qhost 3/6+p 1/5
 Wales pr 3/4 3/4 1/4QF 3/4 2/4 3/4 2/4 5/6 4/5 2/5+p 5/7 4/5 2/6 2/5
Team 1960 1964 1968 1972 1976 1980 1984 1988 1992 1996 2000 2004 2008 2012 2016 2020 2024

Key

X/Y Came Xth in a group of Y teams
X/Y+p Came Xth in a group of Y teams, then qualified through a play-off round
QW Qualified as quarter-final winner
X/YQW Came Xth in a group of Y teams, then qualified as quarter-final winner
X/Ydsq Qualified as Xth in a group of Y teams, but was banned from participating in the finals (Yugoslavia in 1992)[A]
X/Y Came Xth in a group of Y teams
X/Y+p Came Xth in a group of Y teams, then was eliminated in a play-off round
X/Yinv Failed to qualify coming Xth in a group of Y teams, but was invited to the finals as a replacement (Denmark in 1992)[A]
QF Was eliminated in the quarter-finals
X/YQF Came Xth in a group of Y teams, then was eliminated in the quarter-finals
r16 Was eliminated in the round of 16
pr Was eliminated in the preliminary round
Qhost Qualified automatically as host
w Entered but withdrew before playing any matches (Greece in 1964 and East Germany in 1992)
s Was suspended from taking part (Yugoslavia in 1996 and Russia in 2024)
Did not enter despite being a UEFA member
Was not a UEFA member

Team records

The below table compares the overall records of all teams that have participated in qualification. Teams are ordered by points using the three points for a win system, then by goal difference, and then by goals scored. Note that this order does not represent any official rankings, and qualification tournaments are not direct competitions between all teams.

The "Qualifying attempts" column only counts qualifying campaigns where the team played at least one match, while the "Appearances in the finals" also include automatic qualifiers.

As per statistical convention in football, matches decided in extra time are counted as wins and losses, while matches decided by penalty shoot-outs are counted as draws.

The table is accurate as of UEFA Euro 2020.

Legend
Team has qualified for the main tournament
Team has not qualified for the main tournament
Team is defunct (and never qualified for the main tournament)

Notes on the table:

Rank Team Qualifying attempts Appearances
in the finals
Overall qualification record Points
Total Successful Pld W D L GF GA GD Total Avg
1  Spain 16 11 11 125 89 18 18 314 91 +223 285 2.280
2  Russia
 Soviet Union
16 12 12 130 81 29 20 268 94 +174 272 2.092
3  Czech Republic
 Czechoslovakia
16 10 10 124 81 21 22 251 102 +149 264 2.129
4  Italy 14 9 10 118 74 30 14 224 76 +148 252 2.136
5  Germany
 West Germany
13 12 13 106 76 20 10 267 68 +199 248 2.340
6  Netherlands 14 9 10 117 77 16 24 274 92 +182 247 2.111
7  England 14 9 10 108 73 24 11 258 64 +194 243 2.250
8  France 14 8 10 112 67 27 18 231 91 +140 228 2.036
9  Romania 16 5 5 126 63 37 26 226 118 +108 226 1.794
10  Portugal 15 7 8 115 66 26 23 216 107 +109 224 1.948
11  Sweden 14 6 7 114 61 26 27 197 111 +86 209 1.833
12  Serbia
 Serbia and Montenegro
 FR Yugoslavia
 Yugoslavia
15 6 5 114 60 28 26 206 128 +78 205 1.798
13  Belgium 14 5 6 114 59 26 29 210 115 +95 203 1.781
14  Denmark 16 8 9 123 57 30 36 208 145 +63 201 1.634
15  Republic of Ireland 16 3 3 130 53 41 36 190 141 +49 200 1.538
16  Hungary 16 4 4 131 58 26 47 210 174 +36 200 1.527
17  Scotland 14 3 3 122 57 28 37 183 139 +44 199 1.631
18  Greece 15 4 4 119 56 24 39 170 136 +34 192 1.613
19  Poland 15 3 4 110 52 28 30 182 115 +67 184 1.673
20  Turkey 16 5 5 120 51 29 40 152 152 0 182 1.517
21  Bulgaria 16 2 2 122 50 29 43 164 140 +24 179 1.467
22  Austria 15 2 3 109 51 17 41 202 155 +47 170 1.560
23  Norway 16 1 1 125 47 25 53 167 171 −4 166 1.328
24  Northern Ireland 15 1 1 120 44 27 49 131 154 −23 159 1.325
25  Wales 15 2 2 112 45 23 44 135 139 −4 158 1.411
26  Switzerland 14 4 5 100 44 24 32 172 122 +50 156 1.560
27  Croatia 7 6 6 70 45 16 9 135 46 +89 150 2.143
28  Finland 14 1 1 114 33 24 57 125 172 −47 123 1.079
29  Slovakia 7 2 2 70 33 12 25 109 89 +20 111 1.586
30  Iceland 13 1 1 108 31 18 59 98 160 −62 111 1.028
31  Ukraine 6 2 3 62 29 17 16 90 57 +33 104 1.677
32  Slovenia 7 1 1 76 29 16 31 99 91 +8 103 1.355
33  Israel 7 0 0 71 28 14 29 112 96 +16 98 1.380
34  Bosnia and Herzegovina 6 0 0 65 26 12 27 95 94 +1 90 1.385
35  Albania 13 1 1 101 20 23 58 88 173 −85 83 0.822
36  Latvia 7 1 1 72 21 13 38 70 116 −46 76 1.056
37  East Germany 8 0 0 46 20 12 14 76 57 +19 72 1.565
38  Cyprus 14 0 0 114 19 15 80 98 288 −190 72 0.632
39  Lithuania 7 0 0 66 20 9 37 55 108 −53 69 1.045
40  North Macedonia
 Macedonia
7 1 1 70 17 16 37 74 104 −30 67 0.957
41  Georgia 7 0 0 70 19 10 41 71 101 −30 67 0.957
42  Armenia 7 0 0 68 15 13 40 65 110 −45 58 0.853
43  Belarus 7 0 0 67 15 13 39 53 104 −51 58 0.866
44  Estonia 7 0 0 70 15 9 46 49 129 −80 54 0.771
45  Moldova 7 0 0 68 12 9 47 55 140 −85 45 0.662
46  Luxembourg 15 0 0 117 8 11 98 51 319 −268 35 0.299
47  Kazakhstan 4 0 0 44 7 8 29 37 80 −43 29 0.659
48  Azerbaijan 7 0 0 68 6 10 52 41 165 −124 28 0.412
49  Faroe Islands 8 0 0 78 7 6 65 44 212 −168 27 0.346
50  Montenegro 3 0 0 28 6 8 14 20 45 −25 26 0.929
51  Malta 14 0 0 112 4 14 94 52 315 −263 26 0.232
52  Liechtenstein 7 0 0 68 5 9 54 21 207 −186 24 0.353
53  Kosovo 1 0 0 9 3 2 4 14 18 −4 11 1.222
54  Andorra 6 0 0 60 1 1 58 14 169 −155 4 0.067
55  San Marino 8 0 0 76 0 1 75 8 340 −332 1 0.013
56  Gibraltar 2 0 0 18 0 0 18 5 87 −82 0 0.000

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d As group winner, Yugoslavia qualified for Euro 1992 (where it was going to compete as FR Yugoslavia), but was banned from participating as the country was placed under international sanctions because of the Yugoslav Wars.[1] The spot was offered to Denmark, who as group runner-up had originally failed to qualify. In this article, the 1992 campaign is treated as successful for Yugoslavia and unsuccessful for Denmark.

References

  1. ^ "United Nations Security Council Resolution 757 (Implementing Trade Embargo on Yugoslavia)". University of Minnesota Human Rights Center. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  2. ^ "European Championship 1968". RSSSF. Retrieved 26 May 2016.

See also