Russia, Croatia seeded at Euro draw
Russia and Croatia have been seeded ahead of the Euro 2012 draw
although neither team qualified for this year’s World Cup in South
Qualifying for the tournament starts in September and runs
until November 2011. Although Russia and Croatia failed to make the
World Cup finals, they are among the nine top-seeded teams that
cannot be drawn together.
As co-hosts, Poland and Ukraine qualify for the tournament
automatically. Neither qualified for the World Cup.
The qualifying round will produce the other 14 finalists at
In addition to Russia and Croatia, the top-seeded countries
in Pot 1 also include European champion Spain and Germany,
Netherlands, Italy, England, France and Portugal.
Greece, the 2004 champion, is in Pot 2, along with other
World Cup qualifiers, Switzerland, Serbia, Denmark and Slovakia,
plus the Czech Republic, Sweden, Turkey and Romania. The seeding
system was based on UEFA’s national team ranking system.
Sunday’s draw at Warsaw’s Palace of Culture and Sciences will
divide the 51 teams in the running to qualify for the tournament
into nine groups.
There will be six groups of six teams and three groups of
five. The nine winners and the runner-up with the best record
qualify directly for the final tournament. The remaining eight
runners-up will go into a home-and-away playoff round that will be
played in November 2011. Four teams in those playoffs will be
The draw ceremony will mark the 50th anniversary of the
Soviet Union winning the first European championship and the scene
fits the occasion. Once the tallest building in Europe, the Palace
of Culture and Sciences was a gift of the Soviet Union to the
people of Poland.
Former Polish stars Zbigniew Boniek and Andrzej Szarmach will
help with the draw and will be joined by former Ukraine star Oleh
Blokhin and striker Andriy Shevchenko.
Although preparations for the 2012 tournament have hit major
construction delays and other snags, UEFA now says everything is on
“Preparations for UEFA Euro 2012 are going well,” UEFA
general secretary Gianni Infantino told uefa.com this week.
“We are well on track. The draw is the kickoff for a Euro
which will take place in central and eastern Europe. We are all
convinced that it will be a fantastic Euro, and we are all working
hard toward that,” he said.
Pot 1: Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, England, Croatia,
Portugal, France, Russia.
Pot 2: Greece, Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland, Serbia,
Turkey, Denmark, Slovakia, Romania.
Pot 3: Israel, Bulgaria, Finland, Norway, Ireland, Scotland,
Northern Ireland, Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Pot 4: Slovenia, Latvia, Hungary, Lithuania, Belarus,
Belgium, Wales, Macedonia, Cyprus.
Pot 5: Montenegro, Albania, Estonia, Georgia, Moldova,
Iceland, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein.
Pot 6: Azerbaijan, Luxembourg, Malta, Faroe Islands, Andorra,