[EURO 2016 DRAW] With the final tournament expanded from 16 to 24 teams, the 2016 European Championship draw has lost much of its intrigue. With 53 teams entered -- including newcomer Gibraltar -- that means more than 40 percent of the qualifying field will join host France in the finals.
Recently, second-place finishers in European qualifying
competitions have typically had to sweat out two-leg playoffs to advance to the finals. For Euro 2016, the nine group winners and nine group runners-up will advance automatically, but in addition the
top third-place team will qualify and the eight third-place teams will meet in playoffs to decide the remaining four finalists.
Four groups have two World Cup 2014 finalists -- Group B
(Bosnia-Herzegovina and Belgium), Group E (England and Switzerland, which England coach Roy Hodgson coached at the 1994 World Cup) and Group H (Italy and Croatia).
The 10 matchdays will
take place over FIFA fixture dates in 2014 and 2015: one in September 2014, November 2014, March 2015 and June 2015 and two in October 2014, September 2015 and October 2015.