The winners and runners-up in the seven qualifying groups will go through to the UEFA EURO 2008™ final round in Austria and Switzerland.
The qualifying phase for EURO 2008™ consists of one group of eight teams and six groups of seven. The qualifying competition will begin in the autumn of 2006, after the FIFA World Cup in Germany. Co-hosts Austria and Switzerland will qualify automatically.
The qualifying groups will be formed with seeded teams by the UEFA administration. The reigning European champions will always be seeded. The other associations will be classified on the basis of results achieved in the qualifying competition of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, as well as their results in the qualifying competition of the 2002/04 UEFA European Football Championship.
The total number of points obtained in the qualifying competitions of both of the aforementioned competitions will then be divided by the number of matches played. The resulting quotient is used to determine the rankings. In the case of an association that qualified automatically for the final tournaments of the competitions in question, the coefficient is calculated on the basis of its results in its most recent qualifying competition.
The composition of the groups will be decided by means of a draw after completion of the current World Cup qualifying competition.
If two or more associations have the same coefficient, the following criteria will be applied:
a) coefficient from the matches played in its most recent qualifying competition,
b) average goal difference,
c) average number of goals scored,
d) average number of away goals scored,
e) drawing of lots.
Match system for the qualifying competition
The matches in the qualifying competition will be played in groups according to the league system, with each team playing all opponents in its group in a series of home and away matches. Three points are awarded for a win, one point for a draw, and no points for a defeat.
Equality of points after the group matches
If two or more teams are equal on points on completion of the group matches, the following criteria are applied to determine the rankings.
a) Higher number of points obtained in the group matches played among the teams in question.
b) Superior goal difference from the group matches played among the teams in question.
c) Higher number of goals scored in the group matches played among the teams in question.
d) Higher number of goals scored away from home in the group matches played among the teams in question.
e) If, after applying criteria a) to d) to several teams, two or more teams still have an equal ranking, the criteria a) to d) will be reapplied to determine the ranking of these teams. If this procedure does not lead to a decision, criteria f) and g) will apply.
f) Results of all group matches: 1. Superior goal difference 2. Higher number of goals scored 3. Higher number of goals scored away from home 4. Fair play conduct.
g) Drawing of lots.
Sixteen teams will qualify for the final tournament – the seven winners and runners-up in the qualifying groups, and the host associations Austria and Switzerland.
The UEFA administration will divide the 16 teams that qualify for the final tournament into four groups (A, B, C & D) of four teams each.
The seeded teams will be the host associations, with the reigning European champions if they qualify, and one or two teams with the best coefficients on the basis of results achieved in the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying competition and/or in the qualifying competition for the 2006/08 UEFA European Football Championship. The other finalists will be assigned to the four groups by means of a draw, according to their coefficients.
Group match schedule
Each team plays each of the other teams in the same group according to a league system (three points for a win, one point for a draw, no points for a defeat). The group matches will be played according to the following schedule. The last two matches in each group must both kick off at the same time.
The winners and runners-up in each group play the quarter-finals over one match
The four winners of the quarter-finals play the semi-finals over one match
The winners of the semi-finals play in the final.
Same number of goals in a quarter-final, semi-final or the final
If the result stands as a draw at the end of normal playing time, extra time of two periods of 15 minutes will be played. If the two teams are still equal after extra time, the winners will be determined by kicks from the penalty mark..
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