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Play-offs: final preview

uefa euro play-offs: final preview

The remaining four areas in UEFA EURO 2020 will be decided on Thursday 12 November, when eight teams are ranked in the four playoff finals.

Meet qualified teams

Route A: Hungary-Iceland (20:45 CET)

Highlights: Bulgaria 1-3 Hungary

Highlights: Bulgaria 1-3 Hungary

Two of the surprise packages of UEFA EURO 2016 are meeting in Budapest. Iceland famously left England four years ago on their way to the quarter-finals, and while the coach and some players have changed, their hallmark of industry and efficiency has not. Iceland's semi-final win over Romania was much more comfortable than the 2-1 scoreboard had thought.

Hungary also relaxed in the semi-finals, pushing aside Bulgaria 3-1, and disappointing 2019 Marco Rossi's team caught a rich vein of form at just the right moment. A draw in Russia, along with victories over Turkey and Serbia, have raised hopes of Hungary returning to the stage, perhaps playing the tournament game in 2016.

Path A winners join Portugal, France and Germany in Group F.

Way B: Northern Ireland – Slovakia (20:45 CET)

Highlights: Bosnia and Herzegovina 1-1 Northern Ireland (pens: 3-4)

Highlights: Bosnia and Herzegovina 1-1 Northern Ireland (items: 3-4)

Slovakia changed their coach after seeing the Republic of Ireland, where Štefan Tarkovič is on an interim post, with strikes on the spot last month. Pavel Hapal quit after just a streak of nine wins and scored two goals in 14 games – the final goals were their Achilles heel – but the team captained by 33-year-old Marek Hamšík still left a mustache from automatic elimination.

Northern Ireland have not torn trees in the last 12 months and their impressive penalty shootout win against Bosnia and Herzegovina is seven games without a win if classified as a draw. In this semi-final, Ian Baraclough's men submitted two late substitutes for spot hits, and both were successfully converted. The dream of a repeat of UEFA EURO 2016 is living.

  The Path B winners join Spain, Sweden and Poland in Group E.

Skilled teams: form guide

Path C: Serbia-Scotland (20:45 CET)

Highlights: Norway 1-2 Serbia (eet)

Highlights: Norway 1-2 Serbia (eet)

Scotland have to go back to EURO '96 for the last time in the final – is the 25-year wait about to come to an end? Steve Clarke's side is definitely shaping up well, surviving Israel in the semi-finals and climbing to the top of a wave which means they came into this fixture eight games undefeated, their longest win since the mid-80s.

Scotland have been close before, and in Serbia they face an inconsistent team that is suitable for everyone in their day. The Serbs have succeeded where many have failed in the final quarters and Erling Braut keeps Haaland quiet in the final quarter, while Sergej Milinković-Savić and Aleksandar Mitrović are starting to click.

The Path C winners join England, Croatia and the Czech Republic in Group D.

Path D: Georgia-North Macedonia (18:00 CET)

Highlights: North Macedonia 2-1 Kosovo

Highlights: North Macedonia 2-1 Kosovo

Georgia has proven to be a tough nut to crack in recent years, and neither Denmark nor Ireland have been able to score in Tbilisi in the UEFA EURO 2020 qualifiers. Belarus was kept at bay in the semi-finals in October, when Georgia started like a train, took a lead and then closed the tracks.

North Macedonia is at the top after finishing third in a qualifying division for the first time in EURO or World Cup history. Headed by 37-year-old Goran Pandev, the side has ended Kosovo's hopes over the past four years and has since expanded its undefeated streak to six games.

The Path D winners join the Netherlands, Ukraine and Austria in Group C.

EURO 2020: everything you need to know

Are the playoffs new?

European Qualifiers: How the play-offs work

European Qualification: How do the play-offs work?

There have been play-offs in five of the last six EUROs, starting with a one-off match between the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland for EURO '96 at Anfield. Still, the UEFA EURO 2020 play-offs have a very different format. For the first time, teams had to go through multiple rounds, and unlike all previous editions, sides qualified through the UEFA Nations League instead of the European Qualifiers.

How do the play-offs work?

16 UEFA Nations League group winners, play-off spots guaranteed ahead of European Qualifiers. As they progressed through the qualifying groups, their place went to the next best ranked team in their league. Where there are no four teams competing in a league (such as League A), the remaining slots are allocated to sides in another league based on the overall UEFA Nations League standings.

EURO 2020: all fixtures

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