By Prince Etim
The qualification tournament for UEFA Euro 2020 begins this week, with 55 teams (including first-timers Kosovo) battling for 24 berths in the tournament finals.
The action got underway on Thursday 21 March, where the pick of the games comes from Group I and sees Belgium host Russia at the Stade Roi Baudouin in Brussels. The Red Devils will be looking to bounce back from their shock 5-2 loss to Switzerland back in November at the end of the group stage for the UEFA Nations League.
Friday sees Gareth Southgate’s England open their Group A campaign with a match against the Czech Republic at Wembley, while reigning European champions Portugal face Ukraine in a Group B clash in Lisbon and World Cup winners France are away to Moldova for their opener in Group H.
Saturday sees Spain and Italy face Norway and Finland respectively, while Sunday features a heavyweight battle in Group C from the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam, as the Netherlands host Germany.
The ‘Oranje’ famously put ‘Der Mannschaft’ out of the Nations League last year with a 3-0 home win and 2-2 away draw (featuring a last-gasp equaliser from Virgil van Dijk in the latter) and the resumption of this rivalry is the highlight of the European qualifying action over the next week.
England return to action on Monday with a match away to Montenegro, while Portugal and France have tasty clashes at home to Serbia and Iceland respectively on the same night.
The final batch of matches for this international window take place on Tuesday 26 March and features Switzerland v Denmark, Norway v Sweden, Malta v Spain and Italy v Liechtenstein.
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