Spain to return to scene of Euro 2012 triumph

Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:07am EST
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By Mike Collett

NICE, France (Reuters) - World champions Spain will start their campaign for a third successive European Championship in a group with Ukraine, Slovakia, Belarus, Macedonia and Luxembourg, meaning an emotional trip back to Kiev for Vicente del Bosque's team who lifted the trophy there in 2012.

Spain will start their campaign with a home game against Macedonia and they will play their 10th and final qualifier in Ukraine in October, 2015.

Three-times champions Germany were grouped with three English-speaking sides from Ireland, Scotland and newcomers Gibraltar while the Netherlands, who lost to Spain in the 2010 World Cup final, face the Czech Republic and Turkey as well as Latvia, Iceland and Kazakhstan.

Germany, seeking their first European title since 1996, face Scotland in their opening match at home on September 7.

Newboys Gibraltar will mark their entry into official European competition for the first time at home to Poland on the same night.

Their home games are being played in Faro, Portugal, as their UEFA-sanctioned stadium in Gibraltar will not be finished until the end of 2016.

Italy, runners-up to Spain in 2012, will meet Croatia, Norway, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan and Malta in Group H.

England, former World Cup winners but never European champions, play Switzerland, who England coach Roy Hodgson took to the 1994 World Cup in the United States, as well as Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania and San Marino, who have lost all 56 qualifiers they have played since 1992.   Continued...

The trophy of the Euro 2016 is seen before the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying draw in Nice, February 23, 2014. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier