Apart from the two Irish groups, what else was decided last night?
In Group 1, Portugal’s 1-0 win over Denmark has put a serious dent in the Danes’ prospects of automatic qualification.
Joao Moutinho’s goal after 67 minutes sealed Portugal’s qualification as group winners in a match that concluded Denmark’s campaign.
There was late dismay for Albania, who conceded twice in injury time in a 2-0 defeat by Serbia.
Aleksandar Kolarov and Adem Ljajic scored the Serbia goals.
It means Albania need to win their final group game — a trip to Armenia on Sunday — to confirm qualification for their first major football tournament
Romania’s 1-1 draw with Finland means Hungary remain in contention to qualify automatically from Group F after their 2-1 win over the Faroe Islands.
Both nations have secured at least a play-off spot.
Who has already qualified?
Northern Ireland, Portugal, Czech Republic, England, Austria and – unexpectedly – Iceland.
Who is likely to qualify?
Wales, Belgium, Spain, Slovakia, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Romania, Russia, Italy, Norway, Portugal and possibly now Albania.
Ukraine now trail behind Ireland as the “best” third-placed team.
That would leave Israel, Turkey, the Republic of Ireland, Slovenia, Hungary, Sweden, Croatia, and Denmark to compete in the play-offs.
However Israel, Ukraine, Slovenia, Hungary, Sweden, Albania, Montenegro, Finland, and Estonia – can still mathematically secure a top-two finish.
Holland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Scotland can also yet reach the play-offs by finishing in the top three.
Northern Ireland, incidentally, last appeared at a major tournament at the 1986 World Cup, while Wales last did at the World Cup in 1958.
Who are set to be the biggest casualties?
Holland, who, despite having reached the World Cup semi-finals little over over a year ago, need to pick up three more points than Turkey in the final two rounds to finish in the top three in Group A.
The Dutch finish up against Kazakhstan and the Czech Republic, while Turkey face the Czechs and Iceland. Greece, champions in 2004, and Serbia, are already out of contention.
Can the Republic of Ireland avoid the play-offs by being the “best” third-placed team?
Yes, Martin O’Neill’s team are now two points in front of the Group D third-placed team Ukraine.
But Ukraine still have to viplay Macedonia and Spain. Hungary also have 16 points and finish away to Greece.
Once the group stages conclude, when are the play-offs?
The first legs will be staged between November 12-14; the returns between November 15-17.
Any ties that cannot be separated after 90 minutes of the second leg will be decided upon by away goals and then penalties.
The draw for the play-offs, incidentally, will take place on October 18, in Nyon, Switzerland.
When does the draw for the final tournament take place?
December 12 in Paris. There will be four pots for the draw: in the first will be the reigning European champions Spain, plus four others.
Pots 2, 3 and 4 will each have six teams; hosts France will not be included in the pots because they are automatically assigned as team A1.
When does the actual tournament finally begin?
Euro 2016 begins on June 10, and will conclude on July 10. France will have 10 host stadiums.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved