The Key Euro 24 Qualifying Matches
by Steve Ashfield | by Yunchu Li
There are two more sets of Euro 2024 qualifiers before we reach the end of the group stages. Many of the countries expected to be playing in Germany next year are on course to do so. There are some notable exceptions though who have to get some key results in the coming weeks to avoid either going into the play-offs or being eliminated altogether
Vital Games for the Defending Champions
Italy are the reigning European champions but often getting to the finals is where they struggle. Coming into the next Euro 2024 qualifiers Italy find themselves second in Group C. They are six points behind group leaders England but on the same number of points as both Ukraine and North Macedonia. They do have a game in hand on their rivals due to their playing in the Nations League finals during the summer in which they finished third.
Those Nations League exploits do mean the Italians are guaranteed a play-off position. They would prefer not to have to go into those though after losing to Portugal in the 2022 World Cup play-offs.
They have four games to play and some good results are an absolute must. A home game against Malta on October 14 is followed by an away game against England three days later. England have already won in Italy in the opening fixture of this group. Another loss at Wembley would pile more pressure on Italy.
The final set of qualifiers in November are both crucial matches for Italy. On November 17, they host North Macedonia (currently fourth) and then finish off the group with an away game against Ukraine. There are some tense matches on the way therefore in this tightly contested group. Take a look at the best Euro 2024 odds to best on!
Netherlands Facing Key Fixtures
The Netherlands are also in a fight to finish in the top two of their Euro 2024 group. They are second in Group B, six points behind leaders France and level on points with Greece. They do have a few points in their favour though. A play-off place is guaranteed and they have a game in hand on the other sides in the group.
Like Italy, the Netherlands have had problems in the past qualifying for major finals. October 13 sees them host France, looking for revenge after losing away to them 4-0 in their opening qualifier. Three days later on October 16, they travel to Greece for a match that is vital to both countries.
The Netherlands end the group with a home match against Ireland on November 18 and then a trip to Gibraltar on the 21st. They will be out to ensure that the play-offs aren't needed.
A Second Euro Finals for Finland?
While Italy and the Netherlands expect to reach major finals, that's not quite the case with Finland. They did qualify for the last finals and coming into the final four games of Group H, they could well make it to Germany next year.
All the countries in this group have four fixtures remaining. Slovenia are top on 13 points with second placed Denmark on the same number of points. In third are Finland ahead of Kazakhstan, both on 12 points but ahead on head-to-head results. Only Kazakhstan are guaranteed a play-off position so a top two finish must be earned by Finland to qualify.
They have lost two of their six matches in this group but both were at the hands of Denmark. Remember you can follow all the latest scores on our Euro livescore page.
They have two vital games in the week ahead. On October 14 they travel to Slovenia and on the 17th host Kazakhstan. The away game will be difficult but the Finns know if they do lose in Slovenia, a home victory over Kazakhstan will be an absolute must. The final two qualifying games see them host Northern Ireland on November 17 with a final fixture in San Marino on the 20th.
Finland has a chance of finishing in the top two but players such as Teemu Pukki need to be in top form for them. Oliver Antman and Daniel Hakans both have three goals in the qualifiers so far but will they help take Finland to the Euro 2024 finals, only time will tell.
Our team of betting experts will be publishing Euro 2024 betting tips for all the top Euro 2024 qualifying games, hopefully producing some wins.