Euro 2020 Play Offs Winner Odds & Predictions

A look ahead to the Euro 2020 Play Offs

Francesco Totti/Euro 2020 ©imago images / Newspix 02.11.2019

England and Wales made it through to Euro 2020 via automatic qualification. Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland all still have a chance of joining them at the Finals. That comes through the playoffs in March 2020. But not all three of them can reach Euro 2020. That is because there is a potential showdown between Ireland and Northern Ireland to come in the Play Off Final on Path B.

That’s a considerable break before the play offs come around. However, but it will give time for the participating nations, of which there are 16, to set themselves up. Here we take a look at how the Euro 2020 Play Offs work.

How we got here

This is the culmination of not only the Euro 2020 qualification campaign. It’s also partly down to the preceding Nations League tournament as well. Any group winners from the Nations League who didn’t manage to automatically qualify for Euro 2020 would go to the play offs. If a Nations League group winner automatically qualified for Euro 2020, the place would go to the next best-ranked team from the same league (who had not already qualified).

What happens next?

There are four paths to Euro 2020 through the play offs. This is based off the four different leagues in the Nations League. It basically ensures that some of the smaller nations have a shot at reaching the finals and not just the stronger nations.

There are two semi-finals on each Path. It will be 1st v 4th and 2nd v 3rd from each path. The two winners go to a Final on the Path. Then the winner of that match will make their way to Euro 2020. The semi-finals happen on March 26th 2020 and the Finals are on March 31st.

Path A
Matches: Bulgaria v Hungary, Iceland v Romania

Iceland has to be the pick of the bunch on Path A of the Euro 2020 qualification play offs. They are the only team on the path who came from Nations League A. Actually Iceland were the only ones of the twelve Nations League A teams, who didn’t qualify automatically for Euro 2020. So those vacant spots needed to be filled from other play-off qualifying teams.

Seven teams who were from Nations League C did enough to reach the Euro 2020 play offs. Three were Nations League group winners. The other four were none group winners. One of those four, Israel were drawn to play on Path C. That left the other three, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania going onto Path A.

So that is how this came about. It leaves Iceland as the favourites to get through this bracket. They should have enough to get past Romania, a side whose only wins in Euro 2020 qualification came against the Faroe Islands and Malta.

Bulgaria looked woeful at times in their Euro 2020 qualification campaign and managed just one victory. They appear to be the rank outsiders of Path A and could struggle to get past Hungary. Hungary beat Croatia, Wales and Azerbaijan (twice) in their Euro 2020 qualification campaign. So an Iceland v Hungary final wouldn’t be a shocker.

Path B
Matches: Bosnia and Herzegovina v Northern Ireland, Slovakia v Ireland

Bosnia were group winners in the Nations League and they will go into the Euro 2020 Play Offs as the favourites to get through this section and reach the European Championships. Bosnia finished fourth in their Euro 2020 qualifying group and were in the mix until the final stretch. Of all the teams ranked from League B Bosnia are the top-ranked ones.

Interestingly Bosnia met Northern Ireland in the Nations League and they won both meetings there against the Irish, so they will be favourites to get through their semi-final tie. Bosnia are 3/4 odds on favourites to win on home soil against the Irish* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on November 22nd, 2019 at 6:12 p.m.). Northern Ireland finished behind Germany and the Netherlands in their Euro 2020 qualification group.

Slovakia had a chance in the final round of Group E matches to grab qualification for Euro 2020 but despite winning their final game, Wales beat them to second place with a victory in their final game. Ireland also finished third in their Euro 2020 qualification group behind Switzerland and Denmark. The Irish, who averaged less than a goal per qualifier, had to beat Denmark in their final group game to qualify automatically.

The Irish only managed a draw in Dublin and ended up here. Away from home, the Irish are 9/4 underdogs for their semi-final* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on November 22nd, 2019 at 6:12 p.m.). Ireland are W1 D4 L0 in the head to head with Slovakia and they haven’t met competitively since 2011. Both previous matches in Slovakia ended in a draw.

Path C
Norway v Serbia, Scotland v Israel

This is an interesting Path. Scotland, Norway and Serbia were all group winners from their respective Nations League campaigns. So that means that this should be competitive. Joining them will be Israel, a non group winner. Scotland and Israel were paired up in last year’s Nations League and the two traded home wins. Both of those wins were by just one goal margin. So will the fact that the Scots have home advantage in this semi-final could swing things their way. Scotland are 8/11 odds-on favourites to bank the semi-final victory* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on November 22nd, 2019 at 6:12 p.m.).

Norway and Serbia both had pretty solid Euro 2020 qualification campaigns. The Norwegians finished behind Spain and Sweden, while the Serbians finished three points back from second-placed Portugal in their group. This looks as if it is going to be one of the tighter contests of all the Euro 2020 Play-Off Semi-Finals. Norway have home advantage in what should be an intriguing match up and they are 8/5 favourites* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on November 22nd, 2019 at 6:12 p.m.). They have met just once before which was an international friendly draw in 2006. The winner of this Path is most likely going to be who comes through the Norway v Serbia semi final.

Path D
Georgia v Belarus, North Macedonia v Kosovo

All four participants in Path D of the Euro 2020 Qualifiers were group winners from the Nations League. It’s hard to get a read on how this Play-Off section will go. Georgia will probably fancy their chances however as they will be at home against a Belarus side who only managed four points from their Euro 2020 qualification campaign. The bookmakers are on board with that making Georgia 6/5 favourites* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on November 22nd, 2019 at 6:12 p.m.).

North Macedonia and Kosovo did have their bright moments through qualification and both look stronger than the other two. So the winner of this Path may well come from this semi-final. The thing which may split this one, however, is the scoring threat of Kosovo who scored in all of their Euro 2020 Qualification group away matches, including trips to England and the Czech Republic.