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Euro 2016 Qualifying Draw: Date, Live Stream, Seeding Pots, Format and Preview

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Euro 2016 Qualifying Draw: Date, Live Stream, Seeding Pots, Format and Preview
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This year's World Cup is yet to be played, but before a ball is kicked in Brazil, Euro 2016 rises to prominence with the qualification draw in Nice, France. Bixente Lizarazu and Ruud Gullit will reveal each nation's fate for the journey that will begin in Sept. 2014 and conclude in Oct. 2015.

Here's everything you need to know.

Where: Acropolis, Nice, France

When: Sunday, Feb. 23, 11 a.m. GMT/6 a.m. ET

Watch: Sky Sports News 10 a.m. GMT/5 a.m. ET

Live Stream: Sky Go app, (check local listings here)

Seeding Pots

Euro 2016 Seeding Pots
Pot Number Teams
1. Spain, Germany, Italy, England, Netherlands, Portugal, Greece, Russia, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
2. Ukraine, Croatia, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, Republic of Ireland.
3. Serbia, Turkey, Slovenia, Israel, Norway, Slovakia, Romania, Austria, Poland.
4. Montenegro, Armenia, Scotland, Finland, Latvia, Wales, Bulgaria, Estonia, Belarus.
5. Iceland, Northern Ireland, Albania, Lithuania, Moldova, FYR Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Cyprus.
6. Luxembourg, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Faroe Islands, Malta, Andorra, San Marino, Gibraltar.

BBC Sport

UEFA has ranked teams via their performances across the last three major tournaments. Results during the 2010 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2012 are taken into account (both qualifying and the main tournament), while qualifying for this year's World Cup also makes a difference.

 

Draw Format

Alexis Boichard/Agence Zoom/Getty Images

Will you watch the Euro 2016 draw?

Submit Vote vote to see results

All UEFA nations have the opportunity to play at Euro 2016, but France receive an automatic qualification spot due to their positioning as hosts. The remaining 53 countries are split into nine groups, eight of which will hold six teams, while the last houses five.

Although France aren't taking part in the competitive qualification process, they will complete a schedule of friendly matches against the group of five to ensure they remain sharp ahead of the tournament.

Pot 1 is the first to be drawn, so everyone can see which top seeds they must prepare for. After this, Pot 6 will follow as we head toward Pot 2 in descending order. Teams are drawn in alphabetical order of the pots, meaning the first from each pot will join Group A, the second Group B, etc.

BBC Sport details the qualification criteria and scheduling changes:

There is also a change to the Euro 2016 fixture schedule, with qualifying matches spread over six days rather than being played on just Fridays and Tuesdays.

To ensure a place at Euro 2016, nations must finish in the top two in their group. The best third-placed finisher also qualifies before the remaining eight third-placed teams go into the play-offs in November 2015.

As reported by UEFA's official press release, England, Germany, Italy, Spain and Netherlands will all be drawn into groups of six to maximise television rights and coverage.

It is worth noting that Spain cannot be drawn against Gibraltar, and Azerbaijan cannot face Armenia, due to political reasons.

 

Preview

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With so many teams taking part in the qualification process, who will everyone want to avoid? Let's take a quick run through each pot.

Which Pot 1 team poses the easiest draw?

Submit Vote vote to see results

While none of Pot 1 are going to be easy, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands are certainly the trio to avoid. Both England and Italy have the ability to succumb to sloppiness and certainly aren't as ruthless as the aforementioned favourites. A draw against Greece would be preferable for all.

Pot 2 boasts a number of tricky trips. Switzerland were ranked top seeds for the 2014 World Cup draw, but many would favour facing them over Sweden.

Euro 2016 is likely to be Zlatan Ibrahimovic's last chance of qualifying for a major international tournament, so it will take plenty of gusto to stop him. Away trips to Ukraine are always hostile, and Belgium flaunt a number of developing youngsters, including Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Christian Benteke. Republic of Ireland or Hungary will top everyone's wish list.

Christof Koepsel/Getty Images

Serbia and Turkey are among the teams many will want to avoid in Pot 3, while Montenegro and Bulgaria are the standouts from Pot 4.

Each of these teams play organised, tactically sound football and can promote an intimidating atmosphere at home. Although Wales possess Gareth Bale and an improving Armenia are led by Henrikh Mkhitaryan, they would be decent draws.

Iceland are not to be messed with in Pot 5, while a trip to the oil-laden region of Azerbaijan is always difficult for nations across the west of Europe. Many will also want to avoid Kazakhstan in Pot 6 for the same reason, while Gibraltar would be an exciting draw for anyone in their first qualification process.

If the selection takes a turn for the absurd, England could face home nations Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Northern Ireland in the same group.

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