England against France in the qualifiers as the road to Euro 2025 begins

England will face France, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland in Group A3 as they begin the road to defending their European crown by qualifying for Euro 2025.

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France lost the Nations League final to Spain last month but qualified for this year's Olympics and is ranked third in the world, with England in fourth and Sweden in fifth. England defeated Sweden in the semi-finals on their way to victory at Euro 2022.

England coach Sarina Wiegman believes her team's group will be "difficult."

From Nyon, he commented: "It is a difficult but very exciting draw. Of course, we all went into the draw knowing that Sweden, one of the best countries, would be in Pot 3 due to their performance in the Nations League in 2023. So "That with France, Sweden and Ireland in our group, it will be very competitive. It's exciting and now we just have to show up and perform. For the fans and for football, it's really good because it will be very competitive."

France is coached by Hervé Renard, who led the Saudi men's team to the 2022 World Cup, and they are ranked third in the world.

"France has a very good squad and they showed their qualities by reaching the final of the Nations League," Wiegman said.

"I'm really excited to play against France because we haven't faced them during my time as England manager, so I'm looking forward to those two games."

World champions Spain will face Denmark, Belgium and the Czech Republic in Group A2, while eight-time European champions Germany will face neighbors Austria and Poland, as well as Iceland in Group A4.

Scotland will meet Serbia, Slovakia and Israel in B2, Northern Ireland will face Portugal, Bosnia and Malta in Group B3, while Wales will face Croatia, Ukraine and Kosovo in Group B4.

The qualification format sees the top 16 nations, ranked by their performance in the 2023-24 UEFA Nations League, enter League A and be divided into four groups of four. The next 16 nations form League B and the remaining 19 teams make up League C.

The top two teams in each League A group will automatically qualify for Euro 2025, while the remaining seven places in the tournament will be determined by a playoff round contested by the highest-placed teams that have not qualified automatically.

Matches will be played between April and July in a standard home-and-away round-robin format.

Taking inspiration from the Nations League, the qualifiers were divided into League A, League B and League C, based on their standings in the Nations League.

England have clashes against the Republic of Ireland, France and Sweden ahead as they begin the defense of their trophy.

Scotland will face Serbia, Slovakia and Israel while Wales have been paired against Croatia, Ukraine and Kosovo and Northern Ireland will play Portugal, Bosnia and Malta.

As in a normal Nations League or European qualifying campaign, each team will play each other twice, once at home and once away, in a table format.

The top two teams in each of the League A groups will automatically qualify for Euro 2025.

The third and fourth place teams will then enter the playoffs, along with the B and C League teams.

Defending champions England were placed in a tough group including France and Sweden in their Euro 2025 qualifying campaign after the draw held in Nyon, Switzerland, on Tuesday.

France lost the Nations League final to Spain last month but qualified for this year's Olympics in Paris and is ranked third in the world, with England in fourth and Sweden in fifth. The Euro qualification campaign begins in April.

"Of course, we all went into the draw knowing that Sweden, one of the top countries, would be in Pot 3 due to their performance in the Nations League in 2023," England manager Sarina Wiegman said.

"So with France, Sweden and Ireland in our group, it will be very competitive. It's exciting and now we just have to show up and perform. For the fans and for football, it's really good because it will be very competitive."

World champions and Nations League winners Spain will play Denmark, Belgium and the Czech Republic.

Germany, which lost to England in the Euro 2022 final at Wembley, will face Austria, Iceland and Poland.

Switzerland, which will participate despite having automatically qualified as

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