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Del Bosque: Spain stubborn on Costa

Spain 2 days ago
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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff
Feb 23, 2014

Euro 2016 qualifying draw

ESPN FC commentator Des Curran breaks down each group following the Euro 2016 draw.

England have been handed a favourable draw in their qualifying campaign for Euro 2016 and will face San Marino, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovenia and Switzerland in Group E following proceedings in Nice.

Qualifying fixtures in full
• Brewin: Platini's attempt to fix international football
Five conclusions from the Euro 2016 qualifying draw

England manager Roy Hodgson said he was happy to face Switzerland, whom he led to the 1994 World Cup and at Euro 96.

"I'm very satisfied, in particular for the fans. We've had some quite tough trips to get to in recent years, but there's some good places to visit," Hodgson said. "The name Switzerland always brings a smile to my face because they were four fantastic years (as national team coach)."

Scotland have arguably the toughest draw and will face Republic of Ireland, Germany, Poland, Gibraltar and Georgia in Group D.

"The matches against Scotland will be great occasions," Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill said. "It looks like a group, Germany apart, where teams might take points off each other."

Wales play host to Belgium, as well as Bosnia, Andorra, Cyprus and Israel in Group B.

"I'm happy, positive," Wales coach Chris Coleman said. "We managed to get a point in Belgium (in World Cup qualifying) and were unlucky at home."

Northern Ireland have been drawn in Group F alongside Greece, Faroe Islands, Finland, Romania and Hungary.

Gibraltar, who will contest their first qualifying campaign after being accepted as a UEFA member in 2013, were originally drawn into Group C, but had to be moved to Group D as they could not be drawn to face Spain due to political tensions.

Defending champions Spain will play Luxembourg, FYR Macedonia, Belarus, Slovakia, Ukraine in Group C.

"It's not as easy a group as it might appear to some. We are facing emerging teams who are young and strong," Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said. "The cold conditions could play a role in the group because many of the trips will be to teams from the east."

The top two teams from each group will qualify automatically alongside the best third-placed finisher. The remaining eight teams who finish third in their respective groups will go into the play-offs, scheduled to take place in November 2015.

Despite hosting the tournament, France will take part in qualifying -- the first host nation to do so since UEFA's rule change. However, no points will rest on their qualifying fixtures and they will take part in the finals whatever the outcome of their group games.

Qualifying match dates
Sept. 7-9, 2014
Oct. 9-11, 2014
Oct. 12-14, 2014
Nov. 14-16, 2014
March 27-29, 2015
June 12-14, 2015
Sept. 3-5, 2015
Sept. 6-8, 2015
Oct. 8-10, 2015
Oct. 11-13, 2015

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