Euro 2012 Qualification Berths Up For Grabs

England joins Spain, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy in automatic qualification for Euro 2012, but what other five teams will go to Poland / Ukraine? And which squads will do battle in the playoffs?

Greetings from a beaten, bruised and ultimately heartbroken Slovakia supporter, who managed to hold out hope going into the match with Russia but now knows there's nothing left until World Cup qualification. Fortunately for fans of nations slightly more competent than the repre, meaning still remains in various Euro 2012 qualifying matches, all slated for Tuesday, October 11. Five automatic qualifying places remain, as well as the eight playoff slots are up for grab.

Already Qualified: Germany
In Contention: Belgium, Turkey

Germany beat Turkey in the last round, meaning Belgium's win over Kazakhstan gives them a one-point lead over Turkey. Belgium, however, face Germany, who don't seem prepared to make it easy on anyone, while Turkey gets to host Azerbaijan. But with their ever-sloppy defense, will it really be an easy victory for Turkey?

Note: If Belgium lose and Turkey draw, Turkey go through to the playoffs, having the better head-to-head record.

Already Qualified: None
In Contention: Russia, Republic of Ireland, Armenia

Russia are sitting pretty after a 1-0 victory in Slovakia, needing just a point from their match against Andorra (who remain pointless) to seal qualification. No matter what, Russia are in the playoffs, as Ireland and Armenia face off on the last day. Should Russia lose, Ireland could grab the automatic qualifying slot, but it's more likely the match in Dublin will decide who makes it to the playoffs.

Already Qualified: Italy
In Contention: Estonia, Serbia

Serbia managed a 1-1 draw against group leaders Italy on Friday, leaving them just one point behind second-place Estonia. Estonia's matches are done, however, so everything rests on what happens in Slovenia. A win puts Serbia into the playoffs, but a draw sees Estonia go through, based on a superior head-to-head.

Already Qualified: None
In Contention: France, Bosnia and Herzegovina

One gets automatic qualification, one gets a playoff spot. A draw in Paris means that France will take the group, but if Bosnia wins, Les Bleus are stuck with the playoffs. Also, Bosnia thoroughly dominated Luxembourg on Friday, winning 5-0, which I note because it is amusing to me.

Already Qualified: The Netherlands, Sweden (playoffs)
In Contention: Sweden

Sweden already have a spot in the playoffs, after beating Finland 2-1, but a win against Holland would clinch that coveted final automatic qualification spot.

Already Qualified: None
In Contention: Greece, Croatia

Greece just need a draw to clinch the top spot, but if they lose to Georgia, and Croatia win against Latvia, the Croats will automatically qualify. But never fear, Croatia supporters, your team has another way to earn automatic qualification. Allow me to quote: "Croatia still have the possiblity of finishing as best runners-up on goal difference with victory should Sweden fail to win, there is not a draw between Denmark and Portugal, and Russia do not lose to Andorra and finish second in their pool." Best of luck in that, Croatia.

Already Qualified: England, Montenegro (playoffs)
In Contention: yawn

Move along. Nothing left to see here.

Already Qualified: Denmark (playoffs)
In Contention: Denmark, Portugal, Norway

Denmark will either clinch automatic qualification to Euro 2012 or take a spot in the playoffs, depending on the outcome of Tuesday's match against Portugal. Yet if Portugal lose, somehow Norway could still take second, based on goal difference. Of course, they'd have to score something like eight goals against Cyprus (depending on how many Denmark put past Portugal), so leaving them on the "contention" list is really just a way of appeasing my Norwegian friends.

Already Qualified: Spain
In Contention: Czech Republic, Scotland

Scotland's still hanging in there, claiming second place with one point more than the Czech Republic, who lost to Spain on Friday. However, it's the Scots who next face Spain, while the Czechs travel to Lithuania, who have promised to field an "experimental" side. Bets are on the Czechs for this one.

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