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The road to Euro 2016 in France reaches the closing stages

Gareth Bale

With all the craziness of the summer football transfer window now finally behind us, it’s good to get back to what we enjoy most and that is the actual sporting excellence on offer. With the Premier League taking a brief break for the international matches, all eyes are firmly focused on the home nations with the first of the remaining Euro 2016 qualifying matches taking place from today.

In Group B, Wales who have just been curiously ranked the 9th best team in the world, one place above England in 10th, travel to Cyrpus looking to continue their fine form and consolidate their place at the top of the table to keep the likes of Belgium at bay. Chris Coleman’s side certainly look set to qualify for a major tournament for the first time since 1958, thanks to the massive impact of world footballing star Gareth Bale who is looking in great from for his club Real Madrid.

With wales already having played the Belgians twice already and with remaining fixtures against teams regarded as a lesser threat, can Coleman and his Welsh dragons finally achieve what Ryan Giggs never did and get to a major finals in France next year? You can find out tonight from 7:00pm live on Sky Sports 1.

Could Scotland and Northern Ireland join them?

It’s a long shot but history could be made if two other home nations along with England, all qualify for next years tournament in France. Scotland haven’t travelled to a major tournament this century, whilst Northern Ireland have also had to wait since 1986. Northern Ireland travel to the Faroe Islands in a game they must surely fancy winning to maintain their very respectable second place in Group F and keep the pressure on the Romanians who currently only lead by a solitary point.

Scotland who still have a lot of work to do if they are to realise their dream, travel to Georgia and must win to keep pace with the surprise leaders Poland who have a slender lead over World Champions Germany. It’s a tough group but so far, no one has taken an outright lead and anything is still possible.

Both of their matches take place on Friday, with the Scots kicking off slightly earlier than normal at 5:00pm on Sky Sports 1, whilst the Northern Irish team play from 7:45pm on Sky Sports 5.

England travel to lowly San Marino

Ever the whipping boys if international football, San Marino host an in-form England team looking to rack up goals this Saturday for a number of reasons.

On a personal level, Wayne Rooney hopes to break England’s international goal scoring record by beating Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time scoring tally of 49. Rooney currently sits one shy so the odds look good against their next opponents.

But more importantly, if England beat San Marino this Saturday and Slovenia fail to beat Switzerland, Hodgson’s England team will qualify for Euro 2016 with three matches to spare, taking huge amounts of pressure off the remaining fixtures and allow some of the fringe squad players to get a run in the team and build confidence.

Can they do it? You can find out this Saturday from 5:00pm on ITV and remember, if you want to watch this match or any of the other international qualifying matches due to be aired live on UK TV, you can watch them anywhere in the world with UKTV2C. Simply contact our sales team on +44 1614 080812 or email us for more details.