How the Euro 2024 draw works: Rules, format as UEFA European Championship matches are set

With the qualification process for Euro 2024 now almost finished, attention turns to the championship itself with the tournament finals to be held in Germany.

Italy are the reigning champions after their penalty shootout victory over a resurgent England in the Euro 2020 tournament, which was held across various nations in 2021 after being delayed due to Covid-19. After a scare during qualifying, the Azzurri will be at next year’s finals to defend their title.

France and England are two of the favourites after breezing through qualifying, and the same can be said of Portugal and Belgium, who looked in imperious form. There are still three of the 24 spots at the finals to be decided, too, via a playoff phase that takes place next March.

With the ceremony upon us on December 2, The Sporting News explains how the draw itself will work, the format for the tournament and how the fixture list will pan out for the 24 teams competing.

MORE: Date, time and venue details for the Euro 2024 draw

Euro 2024 draw format: How it works

Euro 2024 qualified teams and playoffs

A total of 20 teams qualified for the 2024 European Championship through the traditional ‘qualifying’ route. That’s the top two teams from each of the 10 qualifying groups, with that process now finished. Germany have also qualified automatically as hosts.

The 21 teams who have qualified for the tournament are as follows:

  • Germany (hosts), Spain, Scotland, France, Netherlands, England, Italy, Turkiye, Albania, Czechia, Belgium, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Denmark, Slovenia, Romania, Switzerland, Portugal, Slovakia, Croatia

Three further teams will qualify via the UEFA Nations League route, which basically gives a second chance to any teams who did not finish in the top two of their Euros qualifying groups but performed well in the last Nations League cycle. There are 12 teams drawn into playoffs from this group of nations, split into six semifinals and then three finals. A separate draw for the playoffs was made in Nyon, Switzerland on Thursday, November 23. The games will take place on March 21 (semifinals) and March 26 (finals) in 2024.

The following teams are confirmed for the playoffs:

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Israel, Luxembourg, Poland, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Iceland, Estonia, Wales

How the draw will work

According to the official UEFAwebsite: “Teams will be allocated to one of four pots (1, 2, 3, 4) in advance of the draw, in accordance with their results in the qualifying group stage.” That means the five nations with the highest points tallies in qualifying will join Germany in Pot 1. The three playoff winners will go into Pot 4, with the other pots ranked accordingly.

With the competition comprising six groups of four, one team from each pot will go into every group, with 24 teams across the six groups at the end.

According to UEFA executive guidance there are some ‘prohibited’ clashes, which is based on political concerns. Ukraine and Belarus are not allowed to be drawn in a group together, Kosovo are unable to play against either Bosnia and Herzegovina or Serbia, Spain and Gibraltar are to be kept separate, and the same goes for Azerbaijan and Armenia.

A pathway is already set for teams who progress through the group, with the top two from each of the groups guaranteed a Round of 16 spot, as well as the four best third-places teams.

MORE: When are the Euro 2024 playoffs and how do they work?

Where and when is the Euro 2024 draw? Venue, date, start time

The Euro 2024 full tournament draw takes place on Saturday, December 2. The draw ceremony is due to begin at 6 p.m. CET in Hamburg, Germany at the Elbphilharmonie concert hall in the city, which is one of the host venues for the competition.

The draw will be broadcast live on UEFA’s website.

Here’s how that 6 p.m. CET start time translates into the major territories around the globe:

  Date Kickoff time
USA Sat, Dec 2 12:00 p.m. ET
Canada Sat, Dec 2 12:00 p.m. ET
UK Sat, Dec 2 5:00 p.m. GMT
Australia Sun, Dec 3 4:00 a.m. AEDT
India Sat, Dec 2 10:30 p.m. IST
Hong Kong Sun, Dec 3 1:00 a.m. HKT
Malaysia Sun, Dec 3 1:00 a.m. MYT
Singapore Sun, Dec 3 1:00 a.m. SGT
New Zealand Sun, Dec 3 6:00 a.m. NZDT

Euro 2024 fixtures, venues and rounds

As for the actual tournament itself and the matches, here are the key dates and venues for all the fixtures, with Germany to contest the opening game in Munich against team A2 on June 14. Group B will kick off the next day, with the rest of the groups following suit on the subsequent day.

Date Fixture Venue
June 14 Opening game (Germany v A2) Munich
June 15 Group games x 3 (A and B) Various
June 16 Group games x 3 (C and D) Various
June 17 Group games x 3 (D and E) Various
June 18 Group games x 2 (Group F) Various
June 19 Group games x 3 (A and B, including Germany v A3) Various
June 20 Group games x 3 (B and C) Various
June 21 Group games x 3 (D and E) Various
June 22 Group games x 3 (E and F) Various
June 23 Final Group A games (including Germany v A4) Various
June 24 Final Group B games Various
June 25 Final Group C and D games Various
June 26 Final Group E and F games Various
June 29 Round of 16 games 1 and 2 Dortmund, Berlin
June 30 Round of 16 games 3 and 4 Cologne, Gelsenkirchen
July 1 Round of 16 games 5 and 6 Frankfurt, Dusseldorf
July 2 Round of 16 games 7 and 8 Munich, Leipzig
July 5 Quarterfinals 1 and 2 Stuggart, Hamburg
July 6 Quarterfinals 3 and 4 Berlin, Dusseldorf
July 9 Semifinal 1 Munich
July 10 Semifinal 2 Dortmund
July 14 Final Berlin
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