PACKED YOUR BAGS for Poland and Ukraine yet?
After 10 years of hurt, Ireland have finally qualified for a major tournament.
So what better way to celebrate than some nerdy speculating about who we can and can’t meet in the group stages next summer, ahead of the draw on December 2, and a preview of what to expect from the tournament in general.
Consequently, we have compiled all the relevant information and put it in a handy Q and A format for ease of reading. Enjoy…
Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland (co-hosts), Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and Ukraine (co-hosts).
What’s the tournament’s format?
The 16 teams will be divided into four groups, with two team qualifying from each group (note: this is the last time this format will be adopted, as the next European Championship finals will feature 24 teams).
Are the groups seeded?
Yes, each of the groups will be seeded, with co-hosts Poland and Ukraine being automatically seeded in groups A and D respectively, while Spain – as holders – will automatically be judged top seeds. All of the other countries will be ranked among pots 1-4 based on their UEFA co-efficient. Therefore, the breakdown of the seeding will be arranged as following:
Pot 1: Ukraine, Poland, Spain and the Netherlands.
Pot 2: England, Croatia, Germany and Italy.
Pot 3: Russia, Greece, Sweden and Portugal .
Pot 4: Ireland, Czech Republic, Denmark and France.
Which games take place in Poland/Ukraine?
All games from groups A and C will take place in Poland, while those in B and D will be in Ukraine. Thereafter, the following fixtures will occur:
1. Winner Group A vs Runner-up Group B (Warsaw, Poland).
2. Winner Group B vs Runner-up Group A (Gdansk, Poland).
3. Winner Group C vs Runner-up Group D (Donetsk, Ukraine).
4. Winner Group D vs Runner-up Group C (Kiev, Ukraine).
Winner Quarter-final 1 vs Winner Quarter-final 3 (Donetsk, Ukraine).
Winner Quarter-final 2 vs Winner Quarter-final 4 (Warsaw, Poland).
Winner Semi-final 1 vs Winner Semi-final 2 (Kiev, Ukraine).
How much will it cost?
In total (flights, accommodation, etc) €1500-2000 at a minimum, according to travel expert Eoghan Corry on Morning Ireland.
3 facts you (probably) didn’t know about Poland:
- Pablo Picasso once apparently said: “The three most astonishing things in the past half-century were the blues, cubism, and Polish vodka.”
- Poland is a highly religious country – 89% of its inhabitants are practising Catholics.
- The bulletproof vest was invented by a Polish priest based in Chicago in 1893.
3 facts you (probably) didn’t know about Ukraine:
- Ukraine gained independence from Russia in 1990.
- The current Ukrainian currency is hryvnia. One euro equals almost 11 hryvnia.
- Ukrainians are mostly Orthodox Christians, and therefore celebrate Christmas on January 7.