England 'may STILL have to qualify for Euro 2028 – even if hosting'

England ‘could STILL have to play qualifying matches for Euro 2028 even if they are selected as hosts’ alongside the home nations

  • England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland set to host Euro 2028 
  • But the Three Lions and Co could still be forced to play qualifying games 
  • UEFA are planning to reserve two automatic places for teams who don’t qualify
  • Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast It’s All Kicking Off! 
  • Latest Rugby World Cup 2023 news, including fixtures, live scores and results

England could be forced to play qualifying matches for Euro 2028 even if they are selected as hosts for the competition, reports claim.

The home nations – England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland – are expected to stage the next edition of the European Championships after next year’s tournament in Germany, with main rivals Turkey not expected to battle them for the right to host.

The hosting nation has always been guaranteed a place at major international tournaments – including the World Cup – but with five teams set to be involved, UEFA has now drawn up a new plan for qualifying that involves keeping two spots in reserve for any team that doesn’t make it, according to the Times. 

Should three or four of the teams fail to qualify, then UEFA plan to award the two places to the best two performing teams who did not progress, the report adds.

Gareth Southgate’s England would be heavy favourites to qualify having progressed to every major tournament since infamously missing out on Euro 2008.

England could be forced to qualify for Euro 2028 – alongside the rest of the home nations – even if they are selected as hosts 

England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland are expected to stage the tournament

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Scotland qualified for Euro 2020 but that was their first outing at a major tournament since 1998. They are, however, on course to qualify for Euro 2024.

Wales have qualified for the last two European Championships and are still in the running to make Euro 2024.

The Republic of Ireland qualified for the 2012 and 2016 Euros while Northern Ireland reached their first ever Euros in 2016.

UEFA will make their final decision on the hosts of Euro 2028 on October 10, with the home nations’ bid set to be uncontested. Rivals Turkey are now expected to combine with Italy in an effort to co-host Euro 2032.

Gareth Southgate’s England will still be one of the favourites to qualify for Euro 2028

It comes after ITV reclaimed the rights to show England men’s football matches outside of tournaments – agreeing a four-year deal to take over from Channel 4 when the broadcaster’s contract expires next year. 

ITV has a long association with the England side. It had shared coverage with Sky Sports until Channel 4 stepped in last year to take the rights for Nations League and European Qualifiers up to next year’s European Championship. ITV will then share the rights for the tournament with the BBC before their deal kicks in.

The move has been hailed by ITV bosses and comes at a time when the broadcaster is on the front foot, with the rights for the ongoing Rugby World Cup in France.

It will also provide more exposure for the Football Association and its commercial partners.

ITV won back the rights to broadcast England’s men’s matches from next year

ITV have now confirmed the agreement with UEFA, announcing it will show all England’s home and away matches during the qualifying campaigns for the 2026 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2028.

The broadcaster will also show all of England’s UEFA Nations League matches and friendlies, with at least 40 matches covered by the rights deal.

‘We’re delighted to bring the England men’s team back to ITV, which keeps coverage of their progress between major tournaments on free to air television,’ said Niall Sloane, ITV director of sport.

‘We have an experienced team here who are looking forward to bringing viewers all the action and insight from England’s qualification campaigns in the coming years.’


It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football, launching with a preview show today and every week this season.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube , Apple Music and Spotify

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