Three teams that will surprise in qualifying for Euro 2024
On March 23, 2023, the qualifying phase for the 2024 European Championship begins, the final part of which will take place in Germany. I remind you: only two teams from the group go to the final part of the tournament, all the others go through. 20 teams will be determined in qualification, one more place reserved for the Germans (as hosts of the tournament), the remaining three slots will be played out between teams that will have a last chance through the League of Nations.
With the favorites and obvious contenders, everything is clear, but which teams can arrange a surprise by advancing to the main Old World tournament?
1. Bosnia and Herzegovina
Rivals: Slovakia, Luxembourg, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Portugal
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a young football club (founded in 1992) that has always stayed away from big tournaments. The only exception was the 2014 World Cup, to which it made its way, but the Bosnians have not yet reached the Euro.
There has been no clear progress lately, but they can enter Germany with the help of a trivial set of circumstances, namely:
1. Composition. Edin Dzeko, even at 37, is in perfect order (11+5 this season), Sead Kolasinac has found a second youth at Marseille, and they have been joined by some interesting youngsters such as Amar Dedić, whose market value at 20 old is more than 10 million , which is the best result among all compatriots. Bosnia has gathered a strong team, merged by experience and youth.
2. Composition of the group. Portugal are the clear favourites, but who will be second? The Bosnians were lucky to get into the easiest group, where they can beat almost any team, and if they fail in the selection, only themselves will be to blame.
Yet BiH deserves special praise. In the last selection for the World Cup-22, the team drew with Ukraine and France, which already says a lot..
Rivals: Spain, Scotland, Norway, Cyprus
Georgia has never reached the finals of international tournaments and their best result was set in 1996 when the team finished third in qualifying. Before the 2022 World Cup, the Georgians were close to repeating their best result, but were only fourth, losing to Greece, Sweden and Spain.
Now Georgia will meet the Spaniards again, but the rest of the opponents have become a little easier. Scots, Cypriots and Norwegians clearly cannot be attributed to the best teams in the world and they are all quite comparable to the former representatives of the USSR.
The main bet of the team will be on Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, but besides him, the team has enough stars from the championships of Spain, France, Denmark, Germany. And recently they were joined by Saba Sazonov and Luka Gagnidze, who play far from the last role in Dynamo Moscow.
Georgia looks like a more solid and solid team than, for example, unbalanced Norway with Erling Holland up front.
Rivals: Czech Republic, Poland, Moldova, Faroe Islands
At first glance, it is obvious that the whole battle for the first two places will take place exclusively between the Czech Republic and Poland, who regularly play in large international tournaments, and all the rest will simply play in useless matches that mean nothing from the point of view of the qualification.
And this is partly true, as Moldova and the Faroe Islands appear to be the clear underdogs in the group, which cannot be said of Albania. The Eagles have grown very decently in football in recent years, thanks also to the bright stars that have appeared. Among them: Kristjan Aslani (Inter), Elseid Hysay (Lazio), Armando Broya (Chelsea), Berat Jimsiti (Atalanta) and others. And in general, almost the entire team is represented by players from the top league.
In the 22 World Cup qualifiers, the Albanians took third place, losing only to England and Poland, just two points apart. I’m sure these opponents will once again get bogged down in close combat this campaign, but it is far from certain that Robert Lewandowski’s side will emerge victorious again.