UEFA Euro 2020 play-offs: Last chance at making the European Championship

Norway, Iceland and Serbia are among the 16 teams in the UEFA Euro 2020 play-offs vying for the four remaining slots on offer.

By Naveen Peter

After being pushed to October following the COVID-19 pandemic, the UEFA Euro 2020 play-offs will get underway this international break with matches being held at four venues across the continent.

While most of the top teams have already qualified for the main event following the Euro 2020 qualifiers last year, the play-offs will present some of the exciting teams in Europe an opportunity to make it to the continental showpiece next year.

A total of 16 teams, including Hungary, Iceland, Scotland, Serbia and Romania, are in the mix for the four remaining spots in the 24-team competition.

While Iceland will host Romania in their play-off semi-final, Serbia will travel down south to take on Norway.

Iceland has been on a high ever since making their debut at UEFA Euro 2016. Having made it to the quarter-finals in that edition, the Viking nation continued their run to qualify for their maiden FIFA World Cup at Russia 2018.

Iceland enjoyed a fine debut at UEFA Euro 2016.

They enjoyed another strong qualifying campaign this time, winning six of their ten matches, but Iceland could only finish third behind heavyweights France and Turkey.

A home match in Reykjavík could be the difference for an Iceland side against Romania that has lost just one of its last ten home matches in Euro qualifying.

Meanwhile, for Serbia, it will be all about containing the attacks of Norway that boasts of top talents like Erling Håland and Sander Berge, and Real Madrid attacker Martin Ødegaard.

Serbia, the highest-ranked side in the UEFA Euro 2020 play-offs, too have some established stars in their ranks.

If Aleksandar Mitrović, Dušan Tadić and Lazio star Sergej Milinković-Savić can bring their best to the table against Norway, this could be the best match of the UEFA Euro 2020 play-offs.

What’s new at the UEFA Euro 2020 play-offs

While the UEFA Euro 2020 play-offs have been a part of the qualification process since the last six editions, the format adopted by the continental body is different.

The 16 participating teams, eligible based on their performance at the 2018-19 UEFA Nations League, are drawn to play in four different paths consisting of four teams.

They will play a semi-final and the two winners of the semis advance to the final. The winners of the finals from each path will qualify for UEFA Euro 2020.

While the play-off semi-finals will be played on October 8, the finals are scheduled for November 12.

UEFA Euro 2020 play-offs paths

Play-off semi-finals

Path A: Bulgaria vs Hungary, Iceland vs Romania

Path B: Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Northern Ireland, Slovakia vs Ireland

Path C: Norway vs Serbia, Scotland vs Israel

Path D: Georgia vs Belarus, North Macedonia vs Kosovo

Play-off finals

Path A: Bulgaria/Hungary vs Iceland/Romania

Path B: Bosnia and Herzegovina/Northern Ireland vs Slovakia/Ireland

Path C: Norway/Serbia vs Scotland/Israel

Path D: Georgia/Belarus vs North Macedonia/Kosovo

UEFA Euro 2020 playoffs semi-finals fixtures and India start times

All times are in Indian Standard Time (IST)

Thursday, October 8 - Late evening

Bulgaria vs Hungary - 11:15 PM

Friday, October 9 - Early morning

Iceland vs Romania - 12:15 AM

Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Northern Ireland - 12:15 AM

Slovakia vs Ireland - 12:15 AM

Norway vs Serbia - 12:15 AM

Scotland vs Israel - 12:15 AM

Georgia vs Belarus - 3:30 AM

North Macedonia vs Kosovo - 12:15 AM