Italy have been confirmed by UEFA today as in Pot 1 for next month’s 2016 European Championship qualifying draw.
UEFA’s 54 member nations will all feature in February 23’s draw in Nice, which will divide the 53 qualifying nations into eight groups of six and one group of five, with hosts France inserted into the five-team group as ‘friendly opponents’.
Ahead of that draw, the pots have today been confirmed and, based on UEFA coefficient ranking, Italy have been placed into Pot 1.
The Azzurri therefore will avoid Spain, Germany, Netherlands, England, Portugal, Greece, Russia and Bosnia-Herzegovina in qualifying.
Euro 2016 qualifying draw pots
Pot 1:Spain (holders), Germany, Netherlands, Italy, England, Portugal, Greece, Russia, Bosnia and Herzegovina
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
Pot 4:Montenegro, Armenia, Scotland, Finland, Latvia, Wales, Bulgaria, Estonia, Belarus
Pot 5:Iceland, Northern Ireland, Albania, Lithuania, Moldova, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Cyprus
Pot 6:Luxembourg, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Faroe Islands, Malta, Andorra, San Marino, Gibraltar
Euro 2016 will see the competition finals expanded to 24 teams, with the top two teams from each qualifying group and the best third-placed side automatically qualifying for the competition proper and the remaining third-place sides entering a play-off round.
UEFA have recently also revealed plans to schedule qualifying matches across a ‘Week of Football’. Rather than set nights of Friday and Tuesday for all games to be played, they will be spread across nights from Thursday to Tuesday, with nations set for two games across a particular round playing either Thursday/Sunday, Friday/Monday or Saturday/Tuesday.
Qualifying is scheduled to begin on September 7-9, 2014 and run through to October 11-13, 2015.