The qualifiers for the European Championships 2004 in Portugal are starting this Saturday. The outlook: GROUP 1: Slovenia vs Malta Cyprus vs France no game: Israel France of course is the big favourite in this group and should win their game in Cyprus easily. Slovenia is also heavily favoured to win vs Malta and they are under pressure to get three points for probably competing with Israel for the playoff spot in this group. GROUP 2: Norway vs Denmark Bosnia vs Romania no game: Luxembourg For me one of the toughest groups, starting with an interesting Scandinavian duel. Norway got to show that they aren't as bad as in the last WC qualifiers, but Denmark is the favourite. Personally I'm expecting a close race, also Bosnia and Romania aren't without chance. Game 1 will already be very important for all teams. GROUP 3: Austria vs Moldovia Netherlands vs Belarussia no game: Czech Rep Austria needs to win if they want to keep a small chance to make the playoff spot. Netherlands got to rehabilitate for the WC disappointment and should win easily. Sure is that one very strong team will have to go to the playoffs. GROUP 4: San Marino vs Poland Latvia vs Sweden no game: Hungary The away teams are the huge favourites and also should be the ones competing for the direct qualifying spot. GROUP 5: Faroe Islands vs Scotland Lithuania vs Germany no game: Iceland Again the away teams should win their games. Three points are essential for Scotland (and coach Berti), otherwise they might face a bad surprise and finish 3rd behind Iceland. GROUP 6: Greece vs Spain Armenia vs Ukraine no game: Northern Ireland Interesting southern game in Greece. Spain is the big favourite in this group, but Greece improved in the last games and has some outsider chance. At least they should be able to compete for the 2nd spot with Ukraine. GROUP 7: Turkey vs Slovakia Liechtenstein vs Macedonia (only Sunday game, all others Saturday) no game: England England leans back and hopes on Slovakia surprising Turkey. The other game should be important for not finishing last in this group. GROUP 8: Belgium vs Bulgaria Croatia vs Estonia no game: Andorra Another interesting group with three possible group winners. Belgium vs Bulgaria is already an important game with good quality, while Croatia should be first after this game. GROUP 9: Aserbaidjan (sp?) vs Italy Finland vs Wales no game: Yugoslavia Italy is the big favourite of the group and especially in this game. Finland vs Wales is very interesting as one of them might surprise and compete with Yugoslavia for the second spot. GROUP 10: Russia vs Ireland Switzerland vs Georgia no game: Albania The two favourites are already competing in the first game, while Switzerland is hoping to be lucky third to surprise one of them to make the playoffs.