UEFA confirms seeding pots for unusual Euro 2020 draw

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              Belgium players celebrate at the end of the Euro 2020 group I qualifying soccer match between Belgium and Cyprus at the King Baudouin stadium in Brussels, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. Belgium won 6-1. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
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NYON, Switzerland (AP) — UEFA has confirmed seeding pots for the 2020 European Championship, where some teams are slotted into groups ahead of the draw next week.

An unusual draw for the 24-nation tournament is made Nov. 30 — four months before four final entries are decided in a playoffs round — and with seven of the 12 host nations already allocated to groups giving them home games in the tournament.

The 20 direct qualifiers are ranked according to points gained and goal difference tiebreakers in 10 preliminary groups completed this week.

Top-ranked Belgium, which is not a host nation, has to be pooled with Russia and Denmark in Group B played in St. Petersburg and Copenhagen. Either Wales or Finland from seeding pot 4 will complete that group.

Ukraine in top-seeded pot 1 cannot be pooled with Russia for security reasons so had to be placed with the Netherlands in Group C, being played in Amsterdam and Bucharest. Romania could qualify through the playoffs in March.

UEFA holds a separate draw Friday to finalize the 16-team playoffs in four separate knockout brackets.

The playoffs lineup includes four host nations — Hungary, Ireland, Romania, Scotland — who must be given home games if they advance.

Kosovo is in the fourth-tier playoffs and, because UEFA ruled the Balkan nation cannot be drawn with Russia for security reasons, the winner of that bracket could not be drawn in Group B.

The finals tournament draw is made on Nov. 30 in Bucharest.

Euro 2020 kicks off June 12 with Italy opening Group A in Rome. The final is July 12 at Wembley Stadium in London.