MX23RW : Saturday, September 22 03:50:44

Live Coverage: Euro 2016 draw - as it happened

Find out how the qualification draw for Euro 2016 unfolded with Sports Mole's text updates.

The draw for the 2016 European Championship took place in Nice earlier today.

England were handed a relatively straightforward group on paper, while Wales and Northern Ireland are also likely to be pleased with what they have been given.

As for Scotland and the Republic of Ireland, they have been drawn alongside each other in a group that also contains Germany.

You can relieve the draw below with Sports Mole's minute-by-minute updates.


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10.02amMorning all. Well, while all the focus in recent months has been on this summer's World Cup in Brazil, attention for a couple of hours at least will switch to the European Championships in 2016 with this qualification process.

10.04amUEFA may have made some changes (which will be explained later), but what does remain the same is the fact that the nations have been split into pots, which will see the top seeds avoid each other. Let's take a look where each team finds themselves.

10.07amPOT 1: Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, England, Portugal, Greece, Russia, Bosnia

POT 2: Ukraine, Croatia, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, Republic of Ireland

POT 3: Serbia, Turkey, Slovenia, Israel, Norway, Slovakia, Romania, Austria, Poland


10.09amPOT 4: Montenegro, Armenia, Scotland, Finland, Latvia, Wales, Bulgaria, Estonia, Belarus

POT 5: Iceland, Northern Ireland, Albania, Lithuania, Moldova, FYR Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Cyprus

POT 6: Luxembourg, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Faroe Islands, Malta, Andorra, San Marino, Gibraltar


10.13amOne nation that is not among that selection is hosts France, but they WILL be involved in the group stages. UEFA have decided that they will go straight into Group I, but none of their results will actually count in terms of points! It's a strange one from UEFA, it must be said. It essentially means that those teams that play France, who have qualified as hosts, will be taking part in friendly encounters.

10.14amAlso, one final note on France, UEFA have also decided that from Pot 1, they will not be drawn alongside Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Italy or England - no idea why, but that's the case!

10.18amAs mentioned in the introduction above, for the first time, 24 teams will qualify for the main tournament. As always, the winners of each group will seal their spots, as will the runners-up, who previously had to compete in the playoffs. The best third-placed nation will also advance through, with the remaining eight sides battling it out in a knockout contest. Capiche?! It's confusing, that's for sure!

10.21amOf course, the fact that the runners-up automatically qualify, as does the best third-placed side, will be of interest to a lot nations. The increase from 16 to 24 certainly provides teams that perhaps rarely qualify for a major tournament with a big opportunity to do so.

10.24amEngland manager Roy Hodgson has just arrived at the venue in Nice. With that in mind, let's take a look at the best and worst case scenarios for the Three Lions.

10.26amENGLAND WORST CASE SCENARIO: England, Belgium, Serbia, Montenegro, Iceland, Kazakhstan

10.29amENGLAND BEST CASE SCENARIO: England, Hungary, Austria, Estonia, Cyprus, Gibraltar

10.33amIt's also not beyond the realms of possibility that England end up in a group with the Republic of Ireland, either Scotland or Wales and Northern Ireland. That would drum up plenty of interest in the United Kingdom, certainly.

10.37amThe biggest story in the draw, though, arguably comes from Pot 6 and Gibraltar. They have only played one official match, drawing 0-0 with Slovakia. The story goes that some of their players only purchased boots the day before that game because they had never played on grass before! Politically they cannot draw Spain, but they could be paired with England or Portugal, where they are likely to play their home matches.

10.40amRecently speaking to BBC Sport, Gibraltar manager Allen Bula said: "We are getting dropped in the middle of the ocean with a massive tidal wave coming our way. What we have to do now is work even harder to swim towards the tidal wave and not away from it."

10.45amWhile most nations will probably regard Gibraltar as an easy three points, the same cannot be said for Belgium. They are the team in Pot 2 that all of their Pot 1 counterparts will be hoping to avoid, that's for sure. After all, this is a nation that can call upon the likes of Eden Hazard, Vincent Kompany and Thibaut Courtois.

10.49amThe draw should be getting underway in around 10 minutes, which gives us plenty of time to take a look at what England boss Hodgson has had to say in the days leading up to this event. As you'd expect, he's insisted that there are no easy games at international level.

"Sometimes people just judge teams on names. No-one was saying 'blimey Montenegro'. People were tending to suggest they're a piece of cake but it certainly wasn't a piece of cake. In pots three, four and five there will be some good teams in there. What about the home nations? If we get drawn against Northern Ireland, that is not a gimme."


10.52amGibraltar, by the way, has a population smaller than Accrington!



10.57amRight, the UEFA officials are starting to get into place, so it shouldn't be long until proceedings in Nice are underway.

11.02amAt the moment we are being treated to a video montage of each manager arriving with big smiles on their faces! Now, UEFA president Michel Platini is addressing us in French. Sadly, I cannot recall much of what I learnt a GCSE!

11.03amAs a pianist plays out a melody on stage, the Gibraltar squad are gathering to find out who they will be facing:



11.07amAnd now the hosts for the draw have walked out and they are a couple of familiar faces. France World Cup winner Bixente Lizarazu and Dutch master Ruud Gullit, complete with dickie bow ties, walk out on stage with big grins on their faces. They are now embarking on some banter - I use that term very loosely!

11.10amJoining them on the stage now is former Manchester United and France goalkeeper Fabien Barthez, who has the trophy with him. He's just planted kisses on the cheeks of both the hosts and is now being interviewed in French. Strap yourselves in, it may be a while yet until the draw is done!

11.14amIt's now being explained to us that the international programme is being extend from Friday to Tuesday to Thursday to Tuesday. UEFA have reasoned that it will allow fans to attend more international matches, although no mention of the television money that it will rake in!

11.16amAmong the former footballers now coming on to the stage (presumably and hopefully to start the draw) is ex Northern Ireland goalkeeper Pat Jennings. No doubt he will be hoping to give his nation a decent chance of reaching the major tournament.

11.20amFor reasons unknown, Pot 1 will be drawn first, then it goes from Pot 6 to 2! Anyway, it looks as though we are just about ready to start. About time!

Group ANetherlands

Group BBosnia

Group CSpain

Group DGermany

Group EEngland

Group FGreece

Group GRussia

Group HItaly

Group IAnd the team going into Group I with hosts France is Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal.

11.27amRight, for whatever reason, the countries in Pot number 6 will be drawn out. To remind you, here are the nations: Luxembourg, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Faroe Islands, Malta, Andorra, San Marino, Gibraltar

Group ANetherlands, Kazakhstan

Group BBosnia, Andorra

Group DWe've had to jump to Group D because due to political reasons, Gibraltar cannot play Spain. Therefore, they go in with Germany.

Group CSpain, Luxembourg

Group EEngland, San Marino

Group FGreece, Faroe Islands

Group GRussia, Liechtenstein

Group HItaly, Malta

11.33amSo, England will take on San Marino, a nation that they have met four times. The Three Lions have won all four of those - 6-0, 7-1, 5-0 and 8-0. Elsewhere, Gibraltar will probably have been delighted to draw a big country like Germany, while Malta and Italy are paired together.

11.34amAnd now we've been joined by more former players for Pot 5, including Peter Schmeichel. The teams in Pot 5 are: Iceland, Northern Ireland, Albania, Lithuania, Moldova, FYR Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Cyprus

Group ANetherlands, Iceland, Kazakhstan

Group BBosnia, Cyprus, Andorra

Group CSpain, Macedonia, Luxmbourg

Group DGermany, Georgia, Gibraltar

Group EEngland, Lithuania, San Marino

Group FGreece, Northern Ireland, Faroe Islands

Group GRussia, Moldova, Liechtenstein

Group HItaly, Azerbaijan, Malta

Group IPortugal, Albania, France

11.40amWell, Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill is bound to be pleased with that. His side have drawn Greece as a top seed and will also face the Faroe Islands. Now for Pot 4, which includes two home nations: Montenegro, Armenia, Scotland, Finland, Latvia, Wales, Bulgaria, Estonia, Belarus

Group ANetherlands, Latvia, Iceland, Kazakhstan

Group BBosnia, Wales, Cyprus, Andorra

Group CSpain, Belarus, Macedonia, Luxmbourg

Group DGermany, Scotland, Georgia, Gibraltar

Group EEngland, Estonia, Lithuania, San Marino

Group FGreece, Finland, Northern Ireland, Faroe Islands

Group GRussia, Montenegro, Moldova, Liechtenstein

Group IPortugal, Aremnia, Albania, France

Group HItaly, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, Malta

11.47amSo, Scotland are probably disappointed to have drawn Germany, but Wales should fancy their chances of reaching the top three at the moment. As it stands, the Dragons will take on Bosnia, Cyprus and Andorra. As for England, Hodgson looks content and you can see why! Now for Pot 3, which contains: Serbia, Turkey, Slovenia, Israel, Norway, Slovakia, Romania, Austria, Poland

Group ANetherlands, Turkey, Latvia, Iceland, Kazakhstan

Group BBosnia, Isreal, Wales, Cyprus, Andorra

Group CSpain, Slovakia, Belarus, Macedonia, Luxmbourg

Group DGermany, Poland, Scotland, Georgia, Gibraltar

Group EEngland, Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania, San Marino

Group FGreece, Romania, Finland, Northern Ireland, Faroe Islands

Group GRussia, Austria, Montenegro, Moldova, Liechtenstein

Group HItaly, Norway, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, Malta

Group IPortugal, Serbia, Aremnia, Albania, France

11.54amAgain, Wales will not be too disappointed to have drawn Israel from Pot 3. Scotland, though, will take on Robert Lewandowski's Poland. Meanwhile, Slovenia shouldn't pose many problems for England. Now for Pot 2, which includes Martin O'Neill's ROI: Ukraine, Croatia, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, Republic of Ireland

11.55amRemember, these are the last teams to come out. Each group will be completed now.

Group ANetherlands, Czech Republic, Turkey, Latvia, Iceland, Kazakhstan

Group BBosnia, Belgium, Isreal, Wales, Cyprus, Andorra

Group CSpain, Ukraine, Slovakia, Belarus, Macedonia, Luxmbourg

Group DGermany, Republic of Ireland, Poland, Scotland, Georgia, Gibraltar

Group EEngland, Switzerland, Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania, San Marino

Group FGreece, Hungary, Romania, Finland, Northern Ireland, Faroe Islands

Group GRussia, Sweden, Austria, Montenegro, Moldova, Liechtenstein

Group HItaly, Croatia, Norway, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, Malta

Group IPortugal, Denmark, Serbia, Armenia, Albania, France

12.01pmAnd breathe! That concludes the draw. Before we go, we will take a closer look at each of the home nations and the Republic of Ireland. Stay tuned.

12.04pmENGLAND: No wonder Hodgson has got a smile on his face. England will take on Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania and San Marino, as well as Switzerland. Of course, Hodgson has previously coached the Swiss international side to 1994 World and 1996 European Championships, so those will be a special matches for him. All in all, the Three Lions should cruise through.

12.06pmWALES: It was going all so well for Wales, then Belgium appeared from Pot 2. Nevertheless, they should fancy their chances of taking points from Bosnia, Israel, Cyprus and Andorra, particularly at home. Chris Coleman should be disappointed if his side are not challenging for second and third spot. Of course, the fitness of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey will have a major impact on how the Welsh fare.

12.08pmROI & SCOTLAND: Gordon Strachan looked a tad gutted at the conclusion of the draw and it's understandable. On paper, it couldn't have got too much tougher for Scotland. They will take six points from Gibraltar, but Poland, Georgia and Republic of Ireland will be tricky ties. Speaking of the Irish, they have a real chance of finishing runners-up to Germany.

12.10pmNORTHERN IRELAND: Michael O'Neill's men have been handed the draw that Scotland and ROI would have yearned for. Greece, Hungary, Romania, Finland and Faroe Islands are by no means household names in international football, but whether Northern Ireland can make the most of it, only time will tell.

12.13pmWell, that just about brings an end to our coverage of the draw for Euro 2016 in Nice. To recap the entire draw, click here. Thank you for joining us and until next time, goodbye.

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England manager Roy Hodgson looks on prior to the international friendly match between England and Chile at Wembley Stadium on November 15, 2013
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