While many teams will be playing a friendly game early on in the week ahead of the next round of Nations League games in Europe, eight teams will have a much more important fixture to plan for. Those eight teams will be contesting four Euro 2020 Playoff Finals, with the winner of each game being awarded a place in next summer’s delayed tournament.

With 20 of the teams already confirmed for next summer, and even the draws for each of the groups completed, the tournament, which was originally to have been played at multiple venues across Europe, may now instead be played in one host country, although UEFA have not yet confirmed this officially.

Even so, it is still a fantastic opportunity for each of the eight teams to qualify for the finals and of course, there is going to be plenty of interest in the different betting markets available on the games.

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Let’s now take a look at each of the four games coming up on Thursday night and give you our preview of the game, along with the tips for who we think will be the team celebrating a place in next summer’s Euro 2020 finals tournament.

Before we look at each of the playoff final games, lets first take a look at the draw for the groups next summer.

Euro 2020 Draw

  • Group A – Turkey, Italy, Wales, Switzerland
  • Group B – Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Russia
  • Group C – Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, Georgia or North Macedonia
  • Group D – England, Croatia, Serbia or Scotland, Czech Republic
  • Group E – Spain, Sweden, Poland, Northern Ireland or Slovakia
  • Group F – Hungary or Iceland , Portugal, France, Germany

The teams in italics are contesting the Playoff finals this week to decide which one reaches the finals.

Euro 2020 Playoff Finals

All kick off times are 7.45pm UK Time unless otherwise stated.

  • Path D – Georgia v North Macedonia (5.00pm)

Venue – Dinamo Arena in Tbilisi

Both of these teams have never reached a European Championship Finals tournament and this is also their first experience of playoff football. So whoever qualifies from Path D will be appearing at a major international tournament for the first time, facing the likes of the Netherlands, Austria and the Ukraine in Group C.

These two sides have met just twice before and somewhat oddly, both those games in the past two months in the Nations League. They drew 1-1 in Tblisi in September and then repeated that scoreline in Skopje last month. As such, there seems to be strong odds that we may need extra time and maybe even penalties to decide the winner.

Georgia are unbeaten in 2020, winning two games and drawing three, but Norh Macedonia have the exact same record in 2020, even with the same goal difference as Georgia.

The two squads look very well matched and this is a game that I feel will be decided by the lottery of penalties. As such, I am going to back the draw here which is a 2/1 shot with bet365 Sport.

  • Path A – Hungary v Iceland

Venue – Puskas Arena, Budapest

Both of these teams had better than expected performances at the last European Championships, where Hungary pushed eventual winners Portugal to a 3-3 draw in the Group Stage, while Iceland qualified for the knockout phase and knocked out England before losing to France in the quarterfinals.

Both teams will then want another crack at the European Championships Finals but they will face an onerous task whoever gets through. The winner will be going into the “Group of Death” alongside current European Championship holders Portugal, current World Cup holders France and Germany and that is something of a mixed blessing.

The teams met at Euro 2016 and played out a 1-1 draw in the Group Stages, but Hungary have a good record in this fixture winning 7 of the 11 games played between the teams and they last lost to Iceland back in June 1995. Winning five games in a row from Nov 1995 to August 2011 before their draw at the 2016 finals.

This is a really tough one to call and I would not be surprised to see this go to the wire, but I am going for the Icelandic Vikings to claim a big away win here at 7/4.

  • Path B – Northern Ireland v Slovakia

Venue – Windsor Park, Belfast

Northern Ireland defeated Bosnia & Herzegovina on penalties to reach the final, while Slovakia came through also on penalties against the Republic of Ireland. Both teams qualified for the 2016 tournament, with the Northern Irish reaching the knockout phase, while Slovakia were eliminated from the group that also contained England and Wales.

The teams have met four times previously and Slovakia have the slight advantage winning two of those games, while Northern Ireland have won one and the other was drawn. Both teams also have the same record over their last five games, losing three, drawing one and losing one in all competitions. Slovakia have won once in Northern Ireland, a 2-0 win in September 2009, but their last game was played in Slovakia in 2016 and that finished 0-0.

It is clear to see that both these teams are very well-matched and with the Northern Ireland side having home advantage, that would ordinarily provide an edge for them, but with no fans that diminishes that somewhat and as such, I think Slovakia may do just enough to claim the win.  I am backing a narrow Slovakia win here at 9/5.

  • Path C – Serbia v Scotland

Venue – Stadion Rajko Mitic, Belgrade

A place in England’s group at Euro 2020 is up for grabs for both these teams and that will certainly be a huge goal for Scotland, who have been starved of major finals football for many years now, their last appearance in a major tournament coming in France 1998. Serbia though will be a worth adversary after they earned a hard-fought win over Norway in the semifinal.

In Scotland, I would feel like Steve Clarke’s team would have a very good chance, but I think in Serbia, this is going to be an incredibly difficult task for the Scots, even if the effect of the crowd is diminished. This is still one of the toughest trips in Europe for any team, even against a side that have been very inconsistent of late but who still have a number of high quality players like Milinkovic-Savic, Mitrovic, Tadic, Kolarov and Jovic.

Scotland can’t match that type of quality in depth and as such, I think this is a game that the home side will eventually win. Back Serbia to win this one at 11/20.