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Scotland's John McGinn, left, celebrates with his teammates after scoring his side's second goal during the Euro 2020 group I qualifying soccer match between Cyprus and Scotland at GSP stadium in Nicosia, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019.
Scotland's John McGinn, left, celebrates with his teammates after scoring his side's second goal during the Euro 2020 group I qualifying soccer match between Cyprus and Scotland at GSP stadium in Nicosia, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019.|Petros Karadjias | Associated Press
Soccer

UEFA Euro 2020 Playoffs: Miller picks the group winners where Scotland and the Republic of Ireland have tough draws

Sean Miller

Sean Miller

UEFA Euro 2020 Playoff teams find out fate, if they can get through two March matches.

Last week, the draw for the UEFA Euro 2020 took place, and half of the teams that have qualified learned two of their opponents for the tournament next summer.

Usually, it would have been three opponents, since there are four teams in each of the six groups. But this tournament is going to be different in a lot of ways.

Twenty teams have already booked their places in the Euros, which will be held all across the continent next year as part of the 60th anniversary tournament. But there are still four places up for grabs: they will be determined at the end of March, in four sets of playoffs.

The winners of each of the Nations League groups from last year, who already did not qualify, will play in semifinals on March 26, then the two winners from the first matches will meet to determine who will head to the main draw.

Those semifinal games, with odds to qualify for Euro 2020, are as follows:

Group A

Iceland (+200) v Romania (+200)

Bulgaria (+500) v Hungary (+250)

Winner of Bulgaria/Hungary hosts the final March 31.

Group B

Bosnia and Herzegovina (+110) v Northern Ireland (+450)

Slovakia (+275) v Republic of Ireland (+400)

Winner of Bosnia and Herzegovina/Northern Ireland hosts the final March 31.

Group C

Scotland (+350) v Israel (+800)

Norway (+200) v Serbia (+110)

Winner of Norway/Serbia hosts the final March 31.

Group D

Georgia (+250) v Belarus (+350)

North Macedonia (+250) v Kosovo (+200)

Winner of Georgia/Belarus hosts the final March 31.

The Republic of Ireland will have to be road warriors if it wants to advance into the Euro 2020 Group E (Spain, Sweden, and Poland) next summer. But bookies.com Football Analyst Peter Welch thinks the Irish could be in good shape, although there is the prospect of having to face Northern Ireland in the playoff final if both can get past tough competition in the semifinals.

But for Scotland, Welch figures it might be out of luck in the Group C playoffs, with a chance to join the main tournament in Group D, where England, Croatia, and Czech Republic await.

“The Republic of Ireland will feel hard done by after failing to qualify automatically following their draw against Denmark,” Welch said. “But if they can replicate their efforts in the play offs, they’ll likely qualify for the tournament proper and see their outside odds of around +15000 cut significantly once their place at the Euros is secured.

Steve Clark’s Scotland face a tough test against Israel in their play off rounds next spring and as outright odds for Euro 2020 suggest, at around +50000 Scotland fans may have to wait at least another two years if they hope to see their country feature in the first major tournament since 1998.”

As always, Fubo.tv will have all the action when the playoff matches go live in four months.

THE PICKS:

Group A winner: Iceland (+200)

Group B winner: Bosnia & Herzegovina

Group C winner: Norway (+200)

Group D winner: North Macedonia (+250)

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