By DAN KARELL
Though qualifying for UEFA Euro 2016 won’t begin until September, the European governing body conducted the 53-team draw on Sunday morning.
The Netherlands, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Spain, Germany, England, Greece, Russia, Italy, and Portugal were the top seeded teams in Group’s A through I, respectively, with the most interesting group off the bat looking like Group B. Belgium joined Bosnia and Herzegovina, in addition to Israel, Wales, Cyprus, and Andorra.
As hosts, France won’t take part in qualifying, though they will play friendly matches at home and away against each of the team’s in the five-nation Group I, which includes Portugal, Denmark, Serbia, Armenia, and Albania.
For the first time in history, Gibraltar will take part in an official UEFA qualifying competition.
England was given a pretty comfortable group, ending up in Group E with Switzerland, Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania, and San Marino.
Qualification for the tournament begins on Sept. 7 and runs through mid-October, 2015. The nine group winners, nine runners-up, and best third-place team will qualify to the Euro 2016 finals automatically, with the next eight third-place teams playing for the final four spots in the tournament.
Here’s a closer look at the Euro 2016 Draw:
GROUP A: Netherlands, Czech Republic, Turkey, Latvia, Iceland, Kazakhstan
GROUP B: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belgium, Israel, Wales, Cyprus, Andorra
GROUP C: Spain, Ukraine, Slovakia, Belarus, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Luxembourg
GROUP D: Germany, Republic of Ireland, Poland, Scotland, Georgia, Gibraltar
GROUP E: England, Switzerland, Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania, San Marino
GROUP F: Greece, Hungary, Romania, Finland, Northern Ireland, Faroe Islands
GROUP G: Russia, Sweden, Austria, Montenegro, Moldova, Liechtenstein
GROUP H: Italy, Croatia, Norway, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, Malta
GROUP I: Portugal, Denmark, Serbia, Armenia, Albania
What do you think of this draw? Who got the easiest group? Who received the hardest? Which games are you most looking forward to?