15th Oct, 2023. Luka Modric of Croatia and Domagoj Vida of Croatia dejected during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff.

We can’t believe these 5 big nations are in danger of missing out on Euro 2024

With 24 teams qualifying, you may think reaching the European Championship would be a doddle for the continent’s leading sides – but some major tournament stalwarts are in danger of failing to reach the 2024 finals.

International football is getting tougher as the smaller nations improve and make competition for a spot at the Euros more difficult. It’s already apparent that Norway, blessed with Erling Haaland and Martin Odegaard, are likely to fall short of qualification.

We’ve investigated the state of play across the continent and identified five European Championship staples that are in danger of missing out on Germany next summer.


Without wanting to tempt fate, England have one foot and four toes in next summer’s finals – which leaves the defending champions in a spot of bother.

Italy lost to England in Naples in March and lost Roberto Mancini to Saudi Arabia over the summer. Napoli’s Scudetto-winning coach Luciano Spalletti is now in charge and victory over Ukraine in September steadied the nerves, but Italy remain in danger.

With the talented Ukrainians breathing down their necks, Italy could do with another positive result at Wembley before facing Ukraine in Leverkusen next month.

Second will secure a spot in Germany, but third will send the Italians into the play-offs. Considering recent traumas against Sweden and North Macedonia, the entire peninsula will be praying to avoid that fate.


Yes, Luka Modric is approaching his 75th birthday and Croatia were always likely to fall back to earth after defying gravity at the last two World Cups.

But their recent defeats to Turkey and Wales have left the sixth-best team in the world (according to FIFA’s 100% accurate rankings) in real danger of missing the Euros.

Turkey have already qualified from Group D and the Croats are behind Wales based on their head-to-head record.

Fortunately, their final two fixtures are against Latvia and Armenia, which should be a six-point haul. Meanwhile, Wales will face Armenia and Turkey having lost to both sides in June.

While nobody expects Croatia to reach the heights of 2018 and 2022, they remain one of the wiliest outfits in international football and they’ve replenished their squad with some technically gifted youngsters.

Croatia should make the Euros, but they’re making hard work of it.


While they often make a complete dog’s breakfast of major tournaments, you can normally count on Poland to reach them in the first place. But 2024 looks increasingly likely to be an exception.

Favourites to qualify from Group E at the start of the year, Poland have struggled badly and have been blindsided by an improving Albania and the ever-sturdy Czech Republic.

Gaining one point from two matches with Moldova is indicative of the Pole’s decline; it’s been less than a year since they reached the knockout stages of the World Cup.

The November match against the Czechs in Warsaw is a must-win and the play-offs remain a safety net. But with Robert Lewandowski ageing, and few prospects coming through, the outlook for Poland remains grim.


Is it a European Championship without Sweden topping the group by scoring two goals and conceding one, before losing to an unfancied nation in the last 16? We’re about to find out.

Despite being blessed with Dejan Kulusevski, Alexander Isak, Anthony Elanga and Viktor Gyokeres, the Swedes are almost certain to miss out on qualification after Belgium and Austria sealed the two automatic spots in Group F.

And, you might need a maths degree and the patience of a saint to decipher UEFA’s play-off system, but Sweden’s disastrous Nations League campaign in 2022 means at least five countries are ahead of them in the queue for two remaining spots.

Swedish fans normally travel to major finals in hordes, but you won’t be seeing them in Berlin or Munich next summer.


Switzerland have become a tournament staple in the 21st century, missing just one major finals in the past 20 years. And they should still reach Germany from the easiest qualifying group.

But Xhaka, Shaqiri and friends are making an unsightly show of themselves right now. The Swiss needed two late goals to rescue a draw at home to Belarus and have also dropped points against Kosovo and Romania.

Israel could leapfrog Switzerland by winning their remaining fixtures, although the ongoing conflict with Palestine means their fixtures are currently on ice.

There’s a sense that the Swiss have peaked and need to renew their side if they wish to continue reaching the knockout stages of major tournaments. Plenty of similarly sized nations have found that easier said than done.


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