Despite being the most likely co-host of Euro 2028, England may still need to play for qualification to the tournament.

All signs point to the United Kingdom and Ireland winning hosting rights to Euro 2028. Turkey, one of the biggest competitors, looks unlikely to legitimately challenge those five countries.

Oct. 10 will reveal the lucky countries that will be hosting the 2028 European Championship. Due to Turkey and Italy teaming up to host Euro 2032 instead of competing with each other for Euro 2028, the United Kingdom and Ireland seem to be the frontrunners for the tournament.

Traditionally, host countries have a guaranteed spot in major international competitions. For example, the United States, Mexico and Canada already locked up a spot in the 2026 World Cup. The joint bid of five countries now faces a particularly difficult qualifying obstacle. UEFA plans to give the host country no more than two automatic berths.

Euro 2028 qualification takes new look for England, UK and Ireland

UEFA’s concept has all five host countries compete in qualifying groups. Then, UEFA will designate two automatic bids to countries that do not make it through the qualifying phase. According to The Times, UEFA intends to provide the two spots to the three or four countries with the greatest overall records that did not qualify.

For example, if England and Scotland have strong qualifying campaigns and finish toward the top of their group, they would go through. If Ireland, Wales and Northern Ireland do not qualify out of their group, two of those countries receive an automatic bid. UEFA awards those automatic bids to the two teams with better records.

How have UK countries fared at European Championships?

With Gareth Southgate at the helm, England is a prohibitive favorite to qualify, since they have made it to every major tournament except embarrassingly failing to make Euro 2008. Meanwhile, Scotland returned to competition in a major tournament in Euro 2020. Before then, its last major competition was the 1998 World Cup. The Scots are on track to participate in Euro 2024.

Wales have made it to the previous two European Championships and might go again in 2024. What is more, the Irish teams qualified for the 2012 and 2016 European Championships. Northern Ireland made its first appearance in the tournament in 2016.

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