Sunday’s Euro 2024 qualifiers:
Group C: England vs Ukraine & Malta vs Italy.
Group H: Northern Ireland vs Finland, Kazakhstan vs Denmark & Slovenia vs San Marino.
Group J: Luxembourg vs Portugal, Slovakia vs Bosnia & Herzegovina & Liechtenstein vs Iceland.
England vs Ukraine
After a statement victory at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Thursday night, will England pull clear at the top of Group C?
On matchday one, Gareth Southgate’s side beat Italy 2-1 in Naples, with both goals coming in the first half.
Declan Rice prodding home, before Harry Kane converted a penalty that made him England’s record goal-scorer of all time.
Here, the Three Lions face the other side likely to contend for a top two spot, meaning another victory would put them in a very healthy position already.
Ukraine meanwhile commence their qualification campaign here, seeking reach a fourth successive Euros.
The Blue and Yellows narrowly missed out on a place in Qatar, beaten in the play-off final by Wales, so are doubly determined to be flying their flag in Germany next year.
They did leave Wembley with a point when they last visited for a qualifier 11 years ago but, much more recently, England smashed Ukraine 4-0 in the quarter-finals of Euro 2020.
A relatively comfortable home win is expected.
Malta vs Italy
Can Italy get their Euro qualifying campaign back on track?
On Thursday night, Gli Azzurri were beaten 2-1 by England in Naples, with debutant Mateo Retegui unable to spark a second half comeback.
Most would still expect Roberto Mancini’s team to finish in the top two of this group but, having missed out on back-to-back World Cups, anything less than a win here would make the Italian public edgy.
An away victory in Ħ'Attard seems likely, given that Malta are the minnows of Group C.
The Falcons were beaten 2-1 in North Macedonia on Thursday, with Yannick Yankam’s 86th minute goal a mere consolation.
Italy have won all eight qualification meetings with Malta, scoring 22 goals, with this trend likely to continue at Grawnd Nazzjonali.
Northern Ireland vs Finland
Michael O’Neil is back at Windsor Park, so will it be a memorable night for all Northern Ireland supporters?
During his first spell in charge, O’Neil led his country to their first major tournament for 30 years, reaching the last 16 at Euro 2016, before also featuring in the World Cup play-offs.
Now, three years after leaving for Stoke, he’s back, seeking to bring the good times back to Belfast.
On Thursday night, the Green and White Army began this qualification campaign in Serravalle, grinding out a 2-0 victory over San Marino.
Dion Charles scoring his first two international goals, one of which was a spectacular flying volley.
This though will be a significantly tougher test, with Northern Ireland seeking a first competitive win against a side ranked above them by FIFA since beating the Czech Republic in 2017.
Finland meanwhile made their major tournament debut at Euro 2020, doing so at the 33rd attempt.
The Eagle-owls have been unable to kick on from there though, winning just three of eight Qatar 2022 qualifiers, before narrowly avoiding relegation to Nations League C last year.
On matchday one, Markku Kanerva’s team were beaten 3-1 in Copenhagen by Denmark, conceding twice late on after Oliver Antman had slotted home an equaliser against the run of play.
Nevertheless, there’s no need to panic for Finland, as they’ve got the toughest fixture they’ll face in this group out the way.
With Slovenia, Finland and, potentially, Northern Ireland fighting it out for second, the head-to-head encounters between those teams will be decisive.
The Finns last visited Belfast almost exactly eight years ago, beaten 2-1 during Euro 2016 qualifying.
Roared on by a boisterous home crowd, can Northern Ireland start to make Windsor Park a fortress again?
Kazakhstan vs Denmark
Denmark are odds-on favourites to top Group H, and are looking to continue their perfect start as they make the long 2,370 mile journey east to Nur-Sultan.
On Thursday night, de Rød-Hvide beat Nordic rivals Finland 3-1 at Parken, with 20 year old Rasmus Højlund bagging a hat-trick.
The Atalanta forward thereby become the first Danish player to score a hat-trick in a Euros qualifier since Michael Laudrup did so against Luxembourg in 1983.
Kasper Hjulmand’s team have won 19 of their last 27 qualification fixture, losing just one, confident of further improving that record here.
Kazakhstan meantime came in 2023 full of optimism, having secured promotion to Nations League B back in September.
However, the Hawks crashed back down to earth on matchday one, beaten 2-1 by Slovenia at home, despite taking a first half lead through Maksim Samorodov’s header.
Will Denmark too leave Astana Arena with three valuable points, as they did when they last visited in 2017?
Slovenia vs San Marino
After an impressive win on the road on Thursday, will Slovenia make it two wins out of two as they return to Ljubljana?
On matchday one, Matjaž Kek’s men battled back from a goal down to beat Kazakhstan 2-1 at Astana Arena.
David Brekalo headed home an equaliser from a corner mere moments after half time, before Žan Vipotnik fired in the winner, coming off the bench to score on his international debut.
Slovenia have qualified for three major tournaments as an independent nation, but the most-recent of those came in 2010.
Now though, with this group wide-open, they’re hopeful of changing that fact.
A home win here seems inevitable, given that San Marino have never won a competitive fixture, losing 150 of 153 European Qualifiers.
La Serenissima began their latest campaign with a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Northern Ireland, and most would expect Fabrizio Costantini’s team to end up on zero points again.
It’s mainly a question of how many will Slovenia win by at Stadion Stožice?
Luxembourg vs Portugal
Will Portugal enjoy another comfortable victory to start Euro 2024 qualifying?
On Thursday night, in Roberto Martínez’s first game in charge, they smashed the group’s minnows Liechtenstein 4-0 at Estádio José Alvalade.
João Cancelo and Bernardo Silva on target in Lisbon, before Cristiano Ronaldo bagged a brace, firing home both a penalty and then a free-kick, the latter something of a rarity.
This is actually just the third time ever Ronaldo has netted a direct free-kick in back-to-back games, after also bagging one against Abha last weekend.
A Seleção haven’t failed to qualify for a Euros since 1992 and, in a frankly weak group, will face little difficulty maintaining that fact.
Here, Portugal will take on familiar foes, with this set to be their ninth clash against Luxembourg in the last 12 years.
Portugal have won all 12 encounters in the 21st century, and are likely to make that 13, but the home side are an improving force.
On matchday one, the Red Lions held Slovakia to a credible goalless draw in Trnava, with Gerson Rodrigues twice going close to a winner.
Luc Holtz’s side won three of eight World Cup 2022 qualifiers, making it Luxembourg’s best-ever campaign, in terms of points per game.
D’Roud Léiwen have beaten Lithuania, Faroe Islands, Azerbaijan, Republic of Ireland, San Marino, Moldova and Belarus in recent times, also notably holding France to a goalless draw six years ago.
A win here would top the lot, so can the hosts claim an historic victory at Stade de Luxembourg?
Slovakia vs Bosnia & Herzegovina
Will Bosnia & Herzegovina’s make it two wins out of two in Group J?
On Thursday, the Dragons made the perfect start to this campaign, easily beating Iceland 3-0 at Stadion Bilino polje.
Rade Krunić bagged a first half brace, before Amar Dedić’s long-range curler secured the points just after the hour mark.
Bosnia have never qualified for a European Championships, falling in the play-offs at the end of each of the last three cycles.
This time round, in a wide-open group, Faruk Hadžibegić's side are hopeful of an historic automatic qualification.
Slovakia meanwhile have featured at both of the last two Euros, but don’t look likely to be in Germany in June 2024.
The Falcons were held to a goalless draw by Luxembourg in Trnava on Thursday, in a game that could’ve gone either-way.
This means Francesco Calzona has failed to win his five games in charge, with Slovakia having won only nine of their last 31 competitive outings.
So, can Bosnia claim a statement victory on the road at Tehelné pole in Bratislava?
Liechtenstein vs Iceland
Both these teams were battered on the road on matchday one, so will either bounce back in Vaduz?
On Thursday night, Iceland were smashed 3-0 by Bosnia & Herzegovina and, if it hadn’t been for some good saves by Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson, it would’ve been worse in Zenica.
This means Arnar Viðarsson’s side have now won just two of their last 20 competitive fixtures both, coincidentally enough, coming against Liechtenstein.
As for the Blue-Reds, they were demolished 4-0 by Portugal in Lisbon on matchday one and, in truth, will be pleased it wasn’t any worse than that.
Rene Pauritsch’s team have lost 11 consecutive competitive fixtures, beaten 4-1 and 4-0 by Iceland during World Cup qualifying.
So, despite the fact Iceland aren’t very good anymore, they should cruise to victory at Rheinpark Stadion.