After this week’s final round of qualifying matches, the picture for Euro 2013 grows ever clearer. With the automatic qualifiers now confirmed, thoughts turn to the playoff draw to see who will join the nine teams already through to the finals next year.
England’s ultimately comfortable victory over a limited Croatian team sees them through to Sweden, but who will be joining Hope Powell’s ladies? And who are the playoff hopefuls that will be looking to join them?
Netherlands (Best runners up)
Iceland (First Seeds)
Russia (First Seeds)
Spain (First Seeds)
Scotland (Second Seeds)
Ukraine (Second Seeds)
Austria (Second Seeds)
Group 3 qualifiers Norway may be the biggest story here; the former European and World champions have had a notably barren spell in recent years, but their rehabilitation under Eli Landsem continues with confirmation of their place in the Group stages.
The playoff draw takes place today (21st September) with matches to be played in November.
We will definitely be running a series of articles in the build-up to next year’s tournament, but we make one final point now. With Germany, France and Italy comfortably qualified and Pia Sundhage soon to take up the reins as Sweden coach, the tournament promises an exceptionally competitive edge. We’ll be as interested as anyone to see how things pan out once things kick off on July 10 2013.