European Championship trophy
24 teams await to learn their opponents in France next summer. Getty

The group stage draw for the 2016 European Championship will take place in Paris on Saturday 12 December. England, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the rest of Europe's elite will all learn their fate.

Where to watch

Live coverage of the draw will be available via BBC Two from 5pm on Saturday while Uefa will be also be streaming the event in full via their official website.


Next summer is the competition's first incarnation in its updated format with 24 teams competing ,rather than the traditional 16. That means there will be a grand total of 51 games to keep you occupied next June and July.

As for the draw itself, the 23 qualified teams have been placed in four pots based on their Uefa national coefficient ranking. Hosts France have been assigned an automatic spot in Group A. From then on, four teams will be drawn into six groups (A to F). Teams from Pot 1 will be drawn with teams from Pot 4 then being selected and assigned a group, with the process repeated with the teams from Pot 3 and Pot 2.

The top two sides from each group will qualify for the knockout stages of the competition with the four best third-placed sides joining them.


Pot 1 – France, Spain, Germany, England, Portugal, Belgium

Pot 2 – Italy, Russia, Switzerland, Austria, Croatia, Ukraine

Pot 3 – Czech Republic, Sweden, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary

Pot 4 – Turkey, Republic of Ireland, Iceland, Wales, Albania, Northern Ireland


England, who cruised into the competition with a record of 10 wins in 10 qualifying matches, face a 50% chance of being drawn into the same group as one of Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland or Wales. Roy Hodgson's side could do with avoiding all three and landing the favourable option of Albania, with Iceland having demonstrated what an effective unit they have become after qualifying from their group at a canter.

For Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Wales, you can argue England are the ideal option from Pot 1. Regardless of their excellent qualifying form, the Three Lions' problems in major tournaments are well documented. Hosts France, who are assembling one of their best sides in years, and World Cup winners Germany perhaps the two to avoid, although Martin O'Neill's side proved they have their number after taking four points off them in qualifying.

Wales inflicted similar damage on a top-seeded team in their qualifying campaign, too, beating Belgium in June thanks to a goal from Gareth Bale on his 50<sup>th appearance for his sicountrye.

The Group of Death scenario for any side from Pot 1 would arguably pit them against Italy, a Zlatan Ibrahimovic-inspired Sweden and the unpredictable Turkey. One for England to avoid.

Austria on paper perhaps look like weakest side in Pot 2 and therefore the most attractive proposition for others, but Marcel Koller's side qualified with a hugely impressive nine wins from 10 games. Despite the accusations levelled at Uefa back in 2014 that expanding the tournament would dilute its quality, there are tricky prospects across the board.

Key dates

Friday 10 June 2016 – Group stages begin

Monday 25 June 2016 – Round of 16 begins

Thursday 30 June 2016 – Quarter-finals begin

Wednesday 6 July – Semi-finals begin

Sunday 10 July –Final