Euros expansion leaves drama-lite qualifying for big nations

[InTime News]

As qualifying for Euro 2024 resumes on Friday, an unintended consequence of the expansion to 24 teams is quickly becoming apparent, with six teams already given at least a 95% chance of making it to Germany with only two rounds of matches played.

With 20 teams qualifying automatically as the top two in each group and another three via playoffs, along with hosts Germany, a huge swathe of the event's jeopardy has been removed at the top end.

Research simulation by data company Nielsen Gracenote predicts that Switzerland (98% chance of reaching Euro 2024 without playoffs), Portugal (98%), France (98%), England (97%), Belgium (97%) and Serbia (96%) already have one foot in the finals despite still having the vast majority of their qualifiers to play.

Croatia, Poland, Czech Republic, Spain and the Netherlands are also expected to progress, all having over an 80%...

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