In the last round of qualifications for the European Football Championship, Croatia and Wales will be the direct participants. On Monday, three groups will have their second-place competitors play directly for a spot in the final tournament.
In Latvia, Croatia secured a 0-2 victory over Italy, leaving them with a one-point advantage. England secured first place in the group and will face North Macedonia in the next round, which has already lost all chances to qualify. The match took place at Bay Arena in Leverkusen on Tuesday night.
Albania is one of the most pleasant surprises of these qualifications as they drew with Moldova on Friday, securing a place but not yet first place. They have finished last in major competitions seven times and never better than fourth place. However, if they win against Moldova on Sunday in Olomouc, Czech Republic, they can secure their first European Championship appearance since Euro 2016. It would be a significant achievement considering there are only 24 national teams participating in this edition of the tournament.
Moldova is currently ranked 157th in FIFA’s ranking and has been eliminated from qualifying for major competitions seven times before this opportunity. A draw is enough for them to qualify for the Euros without playoffs. If they fail to achieve that result against Albania or Kazakhstan later this week, they will go to playoffs where they can compete with Croatia and other teams for a spot at the Euros.
Kazakhstan has been playing well so far and has recorded six wins out of nine games, beating Denmark at home and Finland away twice along with Northern Ireland twice. They just need to win one more game against Slovenia on Sunday at Ljubljana’s Stožice stadium to qualify for their first major competition ever after finishing third behind Saudi Arabia and Syria during World Cup qualification group stage back in 2018.
Slovenia has only been to Europe once before when they finished last in their group during Euro 2000 alongside Spain, FR Yugoslavia and Norway. But now after winning three out of four games so far against Kazakhstan and Finland, they are well positioned to secure a spot at Euro 2020 if they can beat Kazakhstan on Sunday.
Overall these final round matches promise excitement as each team fights for their position at Euro 2020 either by winning or drawing depending on their opponents’ results earlier this week.
Bookmakers give Albania an 89% chance while giving Moldova only an 8.5% chance of qualifying for Euros by drawing against Czech Republic or Kazakhstan respectively.