Euro 2012 Qualifying: Preview, Most Groups Up For Grabs

Euro 2012 qualifying continues on Tuesday, with Ireland, Italy, Spain, England and France among the many teams in action.

Following Tuesday's games and an international break in October, the field will be set for this summer's Euro 2012 tournament. While Italy, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands are all going to finish top of their groups without much of a problem, the other five are still up for grabs, as is second place in most groups. A number of key fixtures with major qualifying implications take place on Tuesday, with Russia-Ireland, England-Wales, and Italy-Slovenia highlighting the fixture list.

Russia vs. Ireland: 11:00 am EDT, 7:00 pm MDT

Following their 0-0 draw with Slovakia on Friday, Ireland fell behind Russia but kept themselves in control of their own destiny. Russia sit on top of Group A with 16 points, while Ireland and Slovakia both sit on 14. Ireland will not be favored to take any points at the Luzhniki Stadium, but Russia were unimpressive as they skated by Macedonia in their last match, giving some hope to Giovanni Trapattoni's side.

Denmark vs. Norway: 2:15 pm EDT, 8:15 pm CEST

Group H is as tight as they come, with the favorite being anyone's guess. Portugal lead the group on 13 points after defeating Cyprus on Friday, but Norway also sits on 13 points, while Denmark has 10 points and a game in hand. Should the Danes win on Tuesday, this group is going to have some serious drama on the final fixture date. The last time the two teams met, they played to a 1-1 draw in Norway.

Austria vs. Turkey: 2:30 pm EDT, 8:30 pm CEST

Austria still have a hope of finishing second in Group A, but it's more likely that they help Belgium than help themselves if they win on Tuesday night. Turkey and Belgium are battling it out for second place behind Germany and both turned in embarrassing draws on Friday. A draw will keep Turkey in good shape, but a win will put them in the driver's seat for qualification. Belgium is idle in the competition and will be playing a friendly against the USA.

Romania vs. France: 2:30 pm EDT, 8:30 pm CEST

Group D probably should have been put away long ago, but this era of French players don't seem to want to do anything the easy way. Laurent Blanc's side is certainly much less of a disaster than the previous side, but they're still a bit upset prone. That's exactly what Romania will be looking for at home on Tuesday, as a victory would propel them back into position to qualify. They currently sit in fourth place on 11 points, but they trail France by just five, Bosnia-Herzegovina by two, and have a game in hand on Belarus.

England vs. Wales: 2:45 pm EDT, 7:45 pm BST

When England and Wales play, it usually isn't a contest. However, with Wales defeating England's biggest rivals in Group G, Montenegro, on Friday, some are predicting that this could be a close match. Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey are both healthy for Wales, and there's little doubt that those two young stars would be good enough to get into the England side. Wales has plenty of other solid players who are contributors to lower level Premier League teams or stars in the Championship, but it'll be on the stars to guide Wales to a result against the Three Lions.

Italy vs. Slovenia: 2:45 pm EDT, 8:45 pm CEST

Italy all but clinched a place in Euro 2012 and kept their undefeated record intact with a 1-0 win over the Faroe Islands on Friday, but they were far from impressive. The Azzurri were poor after Antonio Cassano's opener and the Faroe Islands hit the woodwork twice. They could be vulnerable for an upset, which is exactly what Slovenia need to stay ahead of challengers Serbia, Estonia and Northern Ireland. Slovenia played poorly against Estonia on Friday and against Italy the last time they met, but it would be unfair to write them off. Their World Cup 2010 qualifying campaign and their players' exploits and club level suggest that they still have what it takes to challenge Italy.

Other Matches

Azerbaijan vs. Kazakhstan: 11:00 am EDT, 8:00 pm AZST

Finland vs. Netherlands: 1:00 pm EDT, 8:00 pm EEST

Moldova vs. Hungary: 1:45 pm EDT, 8:45 pm EEST

Macedonia vs. Andorra: 2:00 pm EDT, 8:00 pm CEST

Croatia vs. Israel: 2:00 pm EDT, 8:00 pm CEST

Slovakia vs. Armenia: 2:15 pm EDT, 8:15 pm CEST

Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Belarus: 2:15 pm EDT, 8:15 pm CEST

Luxembourg vs. Albania: 2:15 pm EDT, 8:15 pm CEST

Estonia vs. Northern Ireland: 2:30 pm EDT, 9:30 pm EEST

Serbia vs. Faroe Islands: 2:30 pm EDT, 8:30 pm CEST

San Marino vs. Sweden: 2:30 pm EDT, 8:30 pm CEST

Latvia vs. Greece: 2:30 pm EDT, 9:30 pm EEST

Malta vs. Georgia: 2:30 pm EDT, 8:30 pm CEST

Switzerland vs. Bulgaria: 2:30 pm EDT, 8:30 pm CEST

Iceland vs. Cyprus: 2:45 pm EDT, 6:45 pm GMT

Scotland vs. Lithuania: 3:00 pm EDT, 8:00 pm BST

Spain vs. Liechtenstein: 4:00 pm EDT, 10:00 pm CEST

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