Euro 2024 qualifiers today - your guide to Saturday's matches | OneFootball

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·25 March 2023

Euro 2024 qualifiers today - your guide to Saturday's matches

Article image:Euro 2024 qualifiers today - your guide to Saturday's matches

The giant air-conditioning units have only just finished whirring in Qatar but the grind towards the next major international tournament has already begun.

For the European nations that failed to succeed on the global stage and those that didn't get anywhere near Lionel Messi's Bisht, qualification for the 2024 European Championship kicks off this weekend.

Saturday's round of qualifying matches has everything from lofty clashes between glittering casts and scraps among sides greater than the sum of their parts, as the continent begins its surge towards Germany in 15 months' time.

Scotland vs Cyprus

Steve Clarke has been in charge of Scotland since May 2019, winning more than half of his 41 matches in charge (21) / Ian MacNicol/GettyImages

Former Dundee forward Temur Ketsbaia joined Newcastle United in Steve Clarke's final season as Chelsea in 1997/98. The pair never met on the pitch but they will go toe-to-toe in opposite dugouts this weekend.

Clarke agreed a contract extension with Scotland until 2026 on Friday, the day before the campaign to reach a second consecutive European Championship begins against Cyprus at Hampden Park; Scotland have not qualified for back-to-back Euros since reaching both editions held in the 1990s.

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Armenia vs Turkey

Turkey manager Stefan Kuntz was part of the Germany team that won Euro 1996 / dia images/GettyImages

Armenia host Turkey in the visitors' first international fixture since the destructive earthquakes in the region. Armenia's boss Oleksandr Petrakov will know all about managing an international team in the midst of a crisis; the Ukrainian coach was in charge of his home nation when Russia invaded in February 2022.

Petrakov steered Ukraine past Scotland but couldn't defeat Wales to reach the 2022 World Cup before joining Armenia - the last nation he beat as Ukraine manager - in January. Turkey also failed to progress beyond the playoffs for Qatar but have stuck with former Germany international Stefan Kuntz, who was brought in after the nation's dire group-stage implosion at Euro 2020.

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Belarus vs Switzerland

Murat Yakin led Switzerland to the World Cup round of 16 / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/GettyImages

Russia have been banned from the qualification process for Euro 2024 given the nation's ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Belarus have lent their public support to Vladimir Putin's tyranny and have been allowed to compete - although, UEFA have removed any sense of home advantage.

As with all UEFA games contested by club sides from Belarus, the national team has been forced to play their 'home' matches in neutral venues - Switzerland will travel to Serbia on Saturday to meet the nomadic nation ranked 97th in the world.

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Israel vs Kosovo

It's been all smile for Israel manager Alon Hazan since taking over in May 2022 / JACK GUEZ/GettyImages

An Israel side on the rise welcome Kosovo to Tel Aviv's Bloomfield Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Alon Hazan is yet to lose a competitive match in charge of his home nation, steering Israel to the top of their Nations League group and securing passage to League A - a higher division than England.

The legendary French midfielder Alain Giresse - who won the 1984 Euros with Les Bleus in style - is still striving for consistency in charge of Kosovo. The recent UEFA edition are yet to win consecutive matches under Giresse and have been able to hold Switzerland (ranked 12th in the world) to a draw yet could only achieve the same result against the Faroe Islands (ranked 123rd).

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Spain vs Norway

Luis de la Fuente replaced Luis Enrique as Spain manager after the World Cup / AFP7/GettyImages

Luis de la Fuente will not have to combat Norway's chief goal threat Erling Haaland in his first match as Spain's permanent manager. Manchester City's rampageous scorer cantered into the international break on the back of eight goals in two games but has been sidelined with a groin injury which may impinge upon his availability for the reigning Premier League champions.

Without Haaland, Martin Odegaard's role as Norway's creative hub becomes even more pronounced. Odegaard was afforded just six starts in six-and-a-half years at Spanish giants Real Madrid but returns to Iberia as captain of the Premier League leaders while enjoying the most prolific scoring season of his career - although, Haaland's goals will surely be missed.

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Croatia vs Wales

Gareth Bale (left) has retired for Wales while Luka Modric is still going strong with Croatia / Matthew Ashton - AMA/GettyImages

Croatia can still call upon the timeless talents of Luka Modric but Wales start life without their own talismanic captain in Split on Saturday. Gareth Bale - who is four years younger than Modric - hung up his boots after becoming the first man to captain Wales at a World Cup since Dave Bowen in 1958.

In place of Wales' all-time leading scorer and appearance maker, Aaron Ramsey is set to lead a national team in transition to the home of the World Cup bronze medallists. Rather ominously, Croatia have never lost to Wales in six meetings, winning four times.

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Andorra vs Romania

Koldo Alvarez (left) have been in charge of Andorra since 2010 / Carsten Harz/GettyImages

Andorra's qualification opener against Romania pits two managers at opposite ends of the experience spectrum against one another. Andorra boss Koldo Alvarez has been in charge of the principality for almost 13 years while Edward Iordanescu has overseen just ten Romania matches.

Alvarez inherited a side ranked 201st in the world with three wins in the history of the national team. Andorra now sit 153rd in FIFA's standings and can boast four victories in the last 12 months alone. Iordanescu is starting from a loftier position but can only hope for a fraction of Alvarez's impact.

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