The UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying tournament is a football competition that is being played from March 2023 to March 2024 to determine the 23 UEFA member men's national teams that will join the automatically qualified host team Germany in the UEFA Euro 2024 final tournament. The competition is linked with the 2022–23 UEFA Nations League, which gives countries a secondary route to qualify for the final tournament.
A total of 53 UEFA member associations entered the qualifying process. The draw for the qualifying group stage took place at the Festhalle in Frankfurt on 9 October 2022.
^FR Yugoslavia were initially to appear in 1992 (after qualifying as Yugoslavia), but were replaced after being banned by the United Nations from all international sport.
The format is similar to the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying competition: the group stage decided 20 of the 23 teams that would advance to the final tournament to join host Germany. The 53 UEFA member associations were divided into ten groups, with seven groups containing five teams and three containing six teams. The draw for the qualifying group stage took place on 9 October 2022, after conclusion of the league phase of the 2022–23 UEFA Nations League. The four UEFA Nations League Finals participants were drawn into groups of five teams (so they were able to compete in the Nations League Finals in June 2023). The qualifying group stage was played in a home-and-away, round-robin format on double matchdays in March, June, September, October, and November 2023. The winners and runners-up from the ten groups qualified directly to the final tournament.
Following the qualifying group stage, the remaining three teams will be decided through the play-offs, to be held in March 2024. Twelve teams were selected based on their performance in the 2022–23 UEFA Nations League. These teams will be divided into three paths, each containing four teams, with one team from each path qualifying for the final tournament. The group winners of Nations Leagues A, B, and C automatically qualified for the play-off path of their league, unless they qualified for the final tournament via the qualifying group stage. If a group winner had already qualified through the qualifying group stage, they would be replaced by the next best-ranked team in the same league. However, if there were not enough non-qualified teams in the same league, then the spot would go first to the best-ranked group winner of League D, unless that team had already qualified for the final tournament. The remaining slots were then allocated to next best team in the Nations League overall ranking. However, group winners of Leagues B and C could not face teams from a higher league.
The three play-off paths will each feature two single-leg semi-finals, and one single-leg final. In the semi-finals, the best-ranked team will host the lowest-ranked team, and the second-ranked team will host the third-ranked team. The host of the final will be drawn between the winners of the semi-final pairings. The three play-off path winners will join the twenty teams that already qualified for the final tournament through the group stage.
Tiebreakers for group ranking
If two or more teams were equal on points on completion of the group matches, the following tie-breaking criteria were applied:
Higher number of points obtained in the matches played among the teams in question;
Superior goal difference in matches played among the teams in question;
Higher number of goals scored in the matches played among the teams in question;
If, after having applied criteria 1 to 3, teams still had an equal ranking, criteria 1 to 3 were reapplied exclusively to the matches between the teams in question to determine their final rankings.[a] If this procedure did not lead to a decision, criteria 5 to 11 applied;
Superior goal difference in all group matches;
Higher number of goals scored in all group matches;
Higher number of away goals scored in all group matches;
Higher number of wins in all group matches;
Higher number of away wins in all group matches;
Fair play conduct in all group matches (1 point for a single yellow card, 3 points for a red card as a consequence of two yellow cards, 3 points for a direct red card, 4 points for a yellow card followed by a direct red card);
^When there were two or more teams tied in points, criteria 1 to 3 were applied. After these criteria were applied, they may define the position of some of the teams involved, but not all of them. For example, if there was a three-way tie on points, the application of the first three criteria may only break the tie for one of the teams, leaving the other two teams still tied. In this case, the tiebreaking procedure was resumed, from the beginning, for those teams that were still tied.
Criteria for overall ranking
To determine the overall rankings of the European Qualifiers, results against teams in sixth place were discarded and the following criteria were applied:
Position in the group;
Higher number of points;
Superior goal difference;
Higher number of goals scored;
Higher number of goals scored away from home;
Higher number of wins;
Higher number of wins away from home;
Fair play conduct (1 point for a single yellow card, 3 points for a red card as a consequence of two yellow cards, 3 points for a direct red card, 4 points for a yellow card followed by a direct red card);
The 53 UEFA national teams were seeded into six pots based on the 2022–23 UEFA Nations League overall ranking following the conclusion of the league phase. The four participants of the 2023 UEFA Nations League Finals were placed into the UNL Pot and drawn into Groups A–D, which only had five teams, so that they only had to play eight qualifying matches, leaving two free matchdays to play in the Nations League Finals in June 2023. The next six-highest teams were then placed into Pot 1. If Germany had won their Nations League group, the UNL Pot would have contained three teams, and Pot 1 would have instead contained seven teams. Pots 2 to 5 contained ten teams, while Pot 6 contained the three lowest-ranked teams. The teams were drawn into ten groups: seven groups of five teams (Groups A–G) and three groups of six teams (Groups H–J). The draw started with the UNL Pot and Pot 1, and continued from Pot 2 to Pot 6, from where a team was drawn and assigned to the first available group (based on draw conditions) in alphabetical order.
The following restrictions were applied with computer assistance:
Prohibited clashes: For political reasons, matches between the following pairs of teams were considered prohibited clashes, unable to be drawn into the same group:
Winter venues: A maximum of two teams whose venues were identified as having high or medium risk of severe winter conditions could be placed in each group: Belarus, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway.
The two "hard winter venues", Faroe Islands and Iceland, generally could not host games in March or November; the others were to play as few home matches as possible in March and November.
Excessive travel: A maximum of one pair of teams identified with excessive travel distance in relation to other countries could be placed in each group:
Azerbaijan: with Gibraltar, Iceland, Portugal.
Iceland: with Cyprus, Georgia, Israel. (Armenia were also identified with Iceland for excessive travel distance, but the teams were in the same pot for the draw.)
Kazakhstan: with Andorra, England, France, Gibraltar, Iceland, Malta, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Wales. (Faroe Islands were also identified with Kazakhstan for excessive travel distance, but the teams were in the same pot for the draw.)
The fixture list was confirmed by UEFA on 10 October 2022, the day following the draw. The schedule was initially released on the day of the draw, but was withdrawn shortly after its distribution due to an alleged calendar issue. However, UEFA ultimately confirmed the initial schedule the following day, with no changes made. Group matches took place from 23 March to 21 November 2023.
Teams that failed in the qualifying group stage can still qualify for the final tournament through the play-offs. Leagues A, B, and C in the UEFA Nations League were allocated one of the three remaining final tournament spots. Four teams from each league that had not already qualified for the European Championship finals will compete in the play-offs of their league. The play-off berths were first allocated to each Nations League group winner, and if any of the group winners already qualify for the European Championship finals, then to the next-best ranked team of the league.
Leagues A, B, and C each formed a path with the four best-ranked teams not yet qualified.
If one of those leagues had fewer than four non-qualifying teams, spots were taken first by the best group winner from League D (unless already qualified), and then by other eligible teams based on ranking.
Group winners from Leagues B and C could not face teams from higher leagues.
The qualifying play-off draw took place on 23 November 2023, 12:00 CET, at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. The draw followed the path formation rules to determine the paths in which the non-group winners will participate. Three separate draws determining the host of the play-off final of each path also took place between the winners of the semi-final pairings (identified as semi-final 1 for seed 1 v 4, and semi-final 2 for seed 2 v 3).
Due to the specificity of the draw, the exact procedure could only be finalised following the conclusion of the qualifying group stage. No restrictions were applied to the draw, as none of the clashes prohibited by UEFA for political reasons could occur.[note 2] Based on the twelve teams that advanced to the play-offs, the three play-off paths were formed following the path formation rules, starting with League C and working up to League A:
As there were four teams from League C (three group winners and one non-group winner), they were all placed in Path C.
As there were five teams from League B (two group winners and three non-group winners), the two group winners were placed in Path B, while a draw decided which two of the three non-group winners were also placed in Path B.
As there were two teams from League A (both non-group winners), they were both placed in Path A, along with the best-ranked League D group winner. The one non-group winner from League B not drawn to Path B was then placed in Path A.
The following three non-group winners from League B (ordered by Nations League ranking) took part in the draw, with two being drawn into Path B, while the remaining team was allocated to Path A: