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Old October 10, 2007, 11:49 PM
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Default Euro 2008 Qualifying Group B

Anyone else been following this "group of death" ? Looks like an Italy vs Scotland (current leader of the group) knock-out showdown is imminent...


Euro Qualifying Group B: Who Will Survive Group Of Death?

When the Euro 2008 qualifying draw was made in January 2006, Group B was immediately touted as the ‘Group of Death’. This is exactly what it has turned out to be. Carlo Garganese looks ahead to the next round of qualifiers...

Euro Qualifying Group B: Who Will Survive Group Of Death?

The Current Situation

With three matches remaining in the group things are really heating up. It seems likely that Scotland, Italy and France face a straight fight for the two qualification places, however Ukraine cannot be totally discounted just yet.

In the last round of qualifiers in September, Scotland gained maximum points from their two games with a 3-1 win at home to Lithuania and then a shock 1-0 victory over France in Paris.

Italy drew 0-0 in Milan with rivals France, before earning an excellent 2-1 win in the Ukraine four days later. This defeat for Ukraine, coupled with the disappointing draw with Georgia, means that Oleg Blokhin’s men are dangerously close to elimination.

Scotland are top with 21 points from nine games. Italy have 20 points, while France, after just one point from September’s games, are a point further back on 19. Ukraine are hanging on by the skin of their teeth in fourth place with 13 points, although they do have a game in hand.

This Week's Qualifiers And Permutations


This Saturday, Ukraine face Scotland at Hampden Park, knowing that anything less than a win will lead to virtual elimination from the race to qualify for Austria and Switzerland. The Tartan Army will be aware that maximum points, both from this game and the match in Georgia on Wednesday evening; will mean a draw against Italy on November 21 will ensure their passage to their first major championships for a decade.


The Azzurri play just the one game in this round of qualifiers, against Georgia on Saturday. The match in Genoa is a must-win clash for Roberto Donadoni’s men.

Scotland’s shock win in Paris on September 12 was the worst possible outcome for the Azzurri mathematically, as it now means that they may have to win all three of their remaining fixtures, including the showdown in Glasgow, to qualify for Euro 2008.


France have two easy-looking games on paper over the coming week. Les Bleus travel to the Faroes Islands on Saturday before hosting Lithuania on Wednesday. Despite currently sitting in third place, Raymond Domenech’s men know that their destiny is still in their own hands.

If France win all three of their remaining group games they will qualify, as at least one of Scotland or Italy will then knock each other out during their clash in November. There are so many permutations in this Group Of Death that you could almost write a book about it.


Ukraine are not completely out of the mix. If they win all four of their remaining fixtures, including the match this Saturday, they will finish on 25 points. If Italy then take points off Scotland next month, this will be enough for the Yellow-Blues to finish above Alex McLeish’s men.

In this scenario it will then come down to a fascinating final-day, where (providing France as expected beat the Faroe Islands and Lithuania), Ukraine will have to win against Les Bleus by a better scoreline than 2-0 in order to finish above them on a better head-to-head record.

Group B is all very complicated and, even as I write, I am assuming that Italy will emerge victorious from both their game with Georgia this Saturday and the contest with the Faroe Islands on November 21. What is certain is that things will be a lot clearer after this next round of Euro 2008 qualifiers.

This week’s Group B fixtures:

Oct 13 Scotland-Ukraine

Oct 13 Italy-Georgia

Oct 13 Faroe Islands-France

Oct 17 Georgia-Scotland

Oct 17 France-Lithuania

Oct 17 Ukraine-Faroe Islands

Group B Table

Pts. P W D L Sc Al
Scotland 21 9 7 0 2 17 7
Italy 20 9 6 2 1 15 7
France 19 9 6 1 2 15 3
Ukraine 13 8 4 1 3 10 9
Lithuania 10 9 3 1 5 7 11
Georgia 7 9 2 1 6 14 15
Faroe 0 9 0 0 9 3 29

Next month’s Group B Fixtures:

Nov 17 Lithuania-Ukraine

Nov 17 Scotland-Italy

Nov 21 Italy-Faroe Islands

Nov 21 Georgia-Lithuania

Nov 21 Ukraine-France
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