An Analysis of Euro 2016 Qualifying Group D: Who’s Headed to Paris, and Who Is Going Home?
With the mid-June qualifying games now on the books, we are officially more than halfway through the Euro 2016 qualifying competition. Standings in each qualifying group are now starting to solidify themselves, and we are getting a better sense of which soccer teams are in good qualifying position and which ones are going to have to turn on the heat between now and October. In this blog post we take a look at the teams in Euro 2016 qualifying group D.
Of all the groups in this year’s qualifying competition, Group D is undoubtedly among one of the most interesting. After winning last year’s World Cup in glorious fashion, the German national football team really should have been able to steamroll Group D. After all, there are no other real heavyweight soccer teams in the group. Poland, Scotland, Ireland, Georgia, and Gibraltar are the other five contending countries, and none of them even participated in the 2014 World Cup—let alone reached the top of the podium.
A Polish Surprise
And yet, Germany—the top-ranked national team in the world, and the de facto frontrunners to take the Euro 2016 title—are not the leaders of Group D. That title belongs instead to the Poland national football team, who are still undefeated in this year’s qualifying competition.
The wearers of the Poland away jersey 2014 – 2015 have been remarkably bulletproof so far in the Euro 2016 qualifiers. They’ve won four of their football games so far (including a 2-0 home fixture against Germany themselves) and drawn the other two, for a leading point total of 14. They also have the best goal difference rating (+17) in Group D—thanks to a pair of 4-0 wins over Georgia and a 7-0 trouncing of Gibraltar.
Germany: Biding Their Time?
Germany kicked off the qualifiers for the 2016 European Championship in rough fashion, losing to Poland in their second Group D match and settling for a draw against Ireland in their third. Despite the dodgy start, though, the German soccer squad has rallied, and is just one point behind Poland in the group standings.
Where Germany’s current qualifier stats really come up short is in the goal difference category. Where the Polish national team have been grabbing big wins from the get-go, the normally impressive German offense has been less effective. Germany got a huge boost on June 13th, when they won their own 7-0 against Gibraltar, but their goal difference is still +12.
Needless to say, the focus in Group D so far has undoubtedly been the battle between Poland and Germany. Expect it stay that way in September, when Poland’s White Eagles don the Poland jersey 2014 – 2015 to take on the Germans once more. Whoever wins that match will take the lead in Group D as Euro 2016 qualifying reaches its final stage. Who knows – perhaps Germany have just been biding their time and saving energy for when the wins are going to really count.
The Rest of the Field
While the focus might be on the Germans and the Poles, Scotland and Ireland deserve a bit of attention also.
Indeed, while Group D looked like a foregone conclusion on paper, it has proven to be one of the most competitive and exciting parts on the Euro 2016 qualifying competition. Scotland are just two points behind Germany right now, while Ireland are another two points back. If Poland and Germany draw with one another in September, then Scotland could have an opportunity to leap into the lead.
Even if the Scots can’t figure a way into the top two, though, they could still have a good shot at qualifying for Euro 2016. Right now, Scotland is ranked second among all of the third-placed teams in the qualifying competition. (Hungary, from Group F, is in third.) The third-place team with the best record automatically qualifies for the European Championship.
Ireland, meanwhile, are dark horse contenders—though they will need one of the top three squads to choke in order to have much of a shot at qualification. Georgia and Gibraltar, finally, have only the slightest odds of making it into Euro 2016.
Who are you rooting for in Group D? Would you like to see Germany follow their World Cup title with a win at the European Championship? Or do you appreciation underdogs like the Poles? Root for your squad today by picking up a new German home kit or Poland soccer jersey 2014 – 2015 at Soccer Box!