Euro 2024 qualification is heating up with six teams having already guaranteed their place at next summer’s finals alongside host nation Germany.
More are set to follow in the coming days with England among those on a verge of securing their place at the tournament, but there’s a number of big names and top nations sweating on their involvement as qualification reaches a crucial point.
We’ve looked at five big name players who could miss out on a place at Euro 2024.
Five big names in danger of missing Euro 2024:
Norway’s hopes of reaching the 2024 European Championship now rest on the UEFA Nations League play-offs, after defeat to Spain this week confirmed the nation cannot catch either the Spanish or Scotland in Group A.
Norway have not reached a major tournament since Euro 2000 and face the prospect of another summer watching on despite the presence of Erling Haaland. The 22-year-old has scored 27 goals in just 28 appearances for the national team, including six in qualification, but even that formidable goal record has not been enough for the Norwegians.
Erling Haaland and Martin Odegaard’s dream of getting Norway to their first major international tournament since Euro 2000 took a huge blow after losing 1-0 to Spain last night 😬
Their only route to Euro 2024 is now through the Nations League play-offs 👀 pic.twitter.com/JH5EjzrjTV
— SPORTbible (@sportbible) October 16, 2023
Haaland – arguably the favourite for the Ballon d’Or after a 52-goal campaign fired Manchester City to a Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble last season – would be a major miss if Norway cannot salvage qualification through the Nations League backdoor.
Participation in the Nations League play-offs, however, is no guarantee.
Martin Odegaard captains the Norway national team and is another big name in danger of missing next summer’s tournament.
Odegaard has evolved into one of Europe’s best creative talents since signing for Arsenal from Real Madrid, with the midfielder beginning to fulfil the potential that first emerged at Strømsgodset as a teenager.
Last season, the 24-year-old scored 15 Premier League goals and laid on a further seven assists, with perhaps only the record-breaking feats of compatriot Haaland preventing Odegaard from claiming the Premier League’s Player of the Season awards.
Haaland and Odegaard are the faces of what has been called a Golden Generation for Norway, but better support is needed from a supporting cast that includes Premier League names in Kristoffer Ajer and Sander Berge, if Norway are to reach a first major tournament in more than two decades.
Virgil van Dijk
The Netherlands face a seismic showdown in their bid to reach Euro 2024 this week, with a must-win fixture against Greece in Athens.
Greece moved above the Netherlands and into second place in Group B at the weekend, as a 2-0 win over the Republic of Ireland – coupled with a Dutch defeat at home to France – saw Greece leapfrog the Oranje.
The two teams now meet in the Greek capital on Monday evening, with the Netherlands currently three points behind their opponents, with a game in hand, ahead of the clash at the Agia Sophia Stadium.
Defeat for the Dutch would be a damaging blow to a talented but inexperienced squad, one captained by Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk. The 32-year-old has had his critics in his homeland, but remains one of Europe’s best defenders and will be crucial to their chances of qualification.
Poland’s hopes of reaching the tournament suffered a setback after a 1-1 draw with Moldova last week, a result which leaves them third in Group E – having played a game more than both Albania and the Czech Republic above them.
Robert Lewandowski’s absence from the latest squad, due to an ankle issue, was a damaging blow to their qualification chances as Poland failed to break down Moldova to lose ground on the top two. Poland face the Czech Republic, one point above them, in their final qualifier, but remain reliant on results elsewhere to seal a place at Euro 2024.
Should they miss out, it could be the end of Lewandowski’s participation at the European Championship. Poland’s all-time record goalscorer will be approaching his 40th birthday when the 2028 edition comes along.
Luke Modric continues to lead Croatia despite turning 38 last month, but the veteran midfielder’s side face a challenge to reach the finals after losing to Wales at the weekend.
Croatia’s 2-1 defeat in Cardiff saw them leapfrogged by Wales in the race for qualification, ahead of November’s final qualifiers against Latvia and Armenia.
🇭🇷 Luka Modrić has played his 1000th game of his career tonight.
Legend. ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/gMwou3h09x
— Madrid Xtra (@MadridXtra) October 15, 2023
Croatia finished third at the World Cup in Qatar last winter, but their qualification for Euro 2024 is now reliant on results elsewhere.
Should Wales beat both Armena and group winners Turkey in their final two games of the campaign, Croatia’s hopes will rest on the UEFA Nations League play-offs. Zlatko Dalić’s side are already assured of a place in the play-offs.