The last four places at Uefa Euro 2016 will be decided over the coming week as the play-offs run from Thursday to Tuesday. Uefa.com analysed the eight hopefuls’ chances.
Sweden v Denmark
An all-Nordic tie may be the pick of the games in the Uefa Euro 2016 play-offs, with a Swedish success likely to bring the curtain down on Morten Olsen’s long career as Denmark coach.
The neighbours have met 104 times, Sweden winning 46 matches and Denmark 40. Sweden were the only side to beat Denmark during the Danes’ glorious Euro ’92 finals campaign. The pair also faced off at the finals of Uefa Euro 2004, drawing 2-2 in Porto.
Denmark overcame Sweden 1-0 in Copenhagen in October 2009 to pip their local rivals to the 2010 Fifa World Cup. That ended Sweden’s record run of five straight qualifications for major final tournaments.
The teams last met in a Copenhagen friendly in May 2014, Daniel Agger scoring in a 1-0 Denmark success.
Sweden have never won – or scored – in a home qualifying game against Denmark (D1 L1).
Sweden come into the play-offs on the back of two 2-0 victories in their closing qualifying fixtures.
Sweden lost just once in their five home qualifiers for Uefa EURO 2016 (W3 D1 L1); Denmark won only once away from home in their qualification attempt (W1 D2 L1) and failed to score in the last two of those matches.
Sweden are featuring in the Uefa European Championship play-offs for the first time. They fell to Portugal in a play-off for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Denmark have not scored in their last three competitive games (D2 L1).
Denmark won their sole previous EURO play-off, brushing aside Israel 8-0 on aggregate to reach Uefa EURO 2000.
Coach Olsen said: “It’s pleasing that we get the opportunity to decide the tie at home. During my time as national coach, we have clinched qualification three times at home – one of these against Sweden [for the 2010 World Cup]. Deciding it all in front of your own crowd is always special.”
Norway v Hungary
Norway are undefeated in over 30 years against Hungary as the sides come together in the Uefa EURO 2016 play-offs.
Norway have won five and lost eight of their 18 meetings with Hungary though they are unbeaten in nine games against the Hungarians (W4 D5) since back-to-back defeats in qualifying for the 1982 Fifa World Cup.
In the teams’ last encounter, Norway overcame Hungary 2-0 in a Budapest friendly in November 2012. Håvard Nielsen and Mohammed Abdellaoue scored the goals.
Norway’s home record against Hungary reads W3 D1 L4 though they are unbeaten in the sides’ three most recent matches in Norway (W2 D1), with Hungary failing to score in those fixtures.
Norway are undefeated in their last four home qualifiers (W3 D1), and did not concede in the most recent three.
Hungary’s 4-3 reverse in Greece in their final Group F game was their first away loss in five Uefa EURO 2016 away qualifiers (W2 D2 L1).
Norway lost their only previous EURO play-off, missing out on Uefa EURO 2004 with a 5-1 aggregate defeat by Spain.
Norway also suffered disappointment in their sole Fifa World Cup play-off, going down 2-0 on aggregate to the Czech Republic to sit out the 2006 finals.
Hungary won just one of their last four qualifying fixtures (W1 D2 L1). They were still poised to qualify as the best third-placed team until Turkey’s late winner on the final match day.
Hungary are featuring in a Uefa European Championship play-off for the first time. They contested the 1998 World Cup play-offs but crashed out 12-1 on aggregate to Yugoslavia.
Ukraine v Slovenia
Ukraine will try to win a play-off for a major final tournament at the sixth attempt – and beat Slovenia for the first time in the process.
Ukraine have yet to overcome Slovenia in four games – two draws and two defeats – which includes losing out to the Slovenes in the play-offs for Uefa EURO 2000.
The second leg of this tie takes place exactly 16 years to the day since a 1-1 draw in Kyiv earned Slovenia that play-off success.
Then, as now, Srecko Katanec was coach of Slovenia, while his current assistant Aleš Ceh captained the national team in that Uefa EURO 2000 tie.
A 1-0 loss to Spain in their last Group C game ended a run of three straight home victories for Ukraine. Slovenia’s away record in Uefa EURO 2016 qualifying was W2 D0 L3.
Ukraine’s only previous Uefa European Championship play-off culminated in that 3-2 aggregate defeat by Slovenia.
Ukraine have also missed out in four Fifa World Cup finals play-offs, for the tournaments in 1998 (1-3 agg Croatia), 2002 (2-5 agg Germany), 2010 (0-1 agg Greece) and 2014 (2-3 agg France).
Coach Mykhailo Fomenko, discussing that last tie when Ukraine won 2-0 at home but lost 3-0 in France, said: “Of course it would be better to start away but we cannot change anything about the draw. We have experience of beating France in a home first leg and will use that in our preparations.”
Slovenia have been involved in two EURO play-offs, winning one and losing one. They overcame Ukraine 3-2 on aggregate to reach their first finals – Uefa EURO 2000 – but succumbed 2-1 to neighbors Croatia to sit out the 2004 event.
Slovenia also won both their past World Cup play-offs: they edged past Romania (3-2 agg) to qualify for the 2002 tournament and Russia on away goals (2-2 agg) to get to the 2010 finals.
Bosnians v Republic of Ireland
Bosnia and Herzegovina will look to make it to their first Uefa European Championship as they take on the Republic of Ireland in the play-offs.
The sides’ only previous meeting was a 2012 Dublin friendly, Shane Long scoring in a 1-0 win for the Irish.
Bosnia and Herzegovina enter the play-offs on a three-game competitive winning streak.
The Bosnians are unbeaten in four competitive home matches (W3 D1); Ireland’s away record in qualifying was W2 D1 L2.
The Bosnians lost their sole previous Uefa European Championship play-off, their bid to reach Uefa EURO 2012 foundering as they crashed 6-2 to Portugal after a 0-0 draw at home.
They also missed out to Portugal in their only Fifa World Cup play-off, going down 1-0 home and away to be denied a place at the 2010 finals.
The Republic of Ireland have featured in three EURO play-offs, losing two and winning one. They succumbed 2-0 to the Netherlands at Anfield in the first-ever EURO play-off, with EURO ’96 qualification at stake. They then sat out Uefa EURO 2000 after an away goals defeat by Turkey in the play-offs.
Ireland broke their duck third time out, beating Estonia 5-1 on aggregate to proceed to Uefa EURO 2012.
The Irish have also been involved in three World Cup play-offs (W1 L2). They lost to Belgium (2-3 agg 1998) and France (1-2 agg 2010), but overcame Iran 2-1 on aggregate to advance to the 2002 finals.
Story Courtesy Of Uefa.com