England will have a 50-50 chance of being drawn against Wales, Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland in next month’s Euro 2016 draw.
UEFA has announced its seedings for the draw and Roy Hodgson’s England side will be among the top seeds along with hosts France and holders Spain.
The draw will see the 24 finalists draw into six groups of four teams for next summer’s finals. The winners and runners-up in each group will qualify for the knockout phase as well as the four best third-place sides – effectively meaning that only eight teams will be eliminated in the group phase.
Wales were among the top seeds for the 2018 World Cup qualifying draw in July but that was based on the FIFA rankings – Chris Coleman’s side are ranked much higher in that system than on UEFA’s coefficient.
The Euro 2016 seedings mean that England will also avoid other top seeds Belgium, Germany and Portugal, and the team to avoid among the second seeds is Italy.
The draw takes place on December 12 in Paris. The finals will start on Friday June 10, with the final taking place at Stade de France on Sunday July 10.
Pot 1 – Spain, Germany, England, Portugal, Belgium
Pot 2 – Italy, Russia, Switzerland, Austria, Croatia, Ukraine*
Pot 3 – Czech Republic*, Sweden*, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary,Denmark*
Pot 4 – Turkey, Republic of Ireland, Slovenia*, Iceland, Wales, Albania, Northern Ireland
*Ukraine lead Slovenia 2-0 ahead of the second leg of their play-off. If they progress, they will go into Pot 2.
If Slovenia turn the tie around, they will go into Pot 4 and Czech Republic will move up to Pot 2.
Sweden lead Denmark 2-1 ahead of the second leg of their play-off. If they progress they will go into Pot 3
If Denmark overturn their first-leg deficit, they will go into Pot 3.