Malta’s National Football team was drawn in Group C against Euro 2020 finalists Italy and England, which were drawn to meet again in qualifying for the 2024 tournament in Germany.
A total of 53 national associations were included in the draw with Germany already through as hosts.
As hosts, Germany automatically qualified for the Uefa tournament and with Russia suspended due to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the teams were split into seven groups of five teams and three of six, with the top two finishers of each qualifying for the competition.
Russia were not included following their invasion of Ukraine and the suspension of all Russian teams by European governing body UEFA. Belarus, which has supported Russia’s war in Ukraine, was included.
The Frankfurt draw also pitted former champions Netherlands, France and Greece against each other.
“I was sure we would end up getting either England or France, but that’s fine,” Mancini said. “It’s a workable group. There won’t be any simple games but they are all still to be played.”
Group B looks equally difficult with former champions Netherlands and current world champions France drawn alongside 2004 Euro winners Greece, Ireland and Gibraltar.
Switzerland, Romania, Kosovo, Israel and Andorra join Belarus in Group I.
Norway will face three-times champions Spain in Group A, along with Scotland, Georgia and Cyprus.
“We avoid France, England and Serbia from pot two,” said Norway coach Stale Solbakken. “We have to be satisfied with that, but we could also have been luckier.”
The qualifying group matches will be played from March to November 2023 and the playoffs will take place in March, 2024.
The top two teams from each group qualify directly with the remaining three spots decided in the playoffs in March, 2024.
The 24-team finals will be held in 10 stadiums across Germany.
Group A: Spain, Scotland, Norway, Georgia, Cyprus
Group B: Netherlands, France, Republic of Ireland, Greece, Gibraltar
Group C: Italy, England, Ukraine, North Macedonia, Malta
Group D: Croatia, Wales, Armenia, Türkiye, Latvia
Group E: Poland, Czechia, Albania, Faroe Islands, Moldova
Group F: Belgium, Austria, Sweden, Azerbaijan, Estonia
Group G: Hungary, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Lithuania
Group H: Denmark, Finland, Slovenia, Kazakhstan, Northern Ireland, San Marino
Group I: Switzerland, Israel, Romania, Kosovo, Belarus, Andorra
Group J: Portugal, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Liechtenstein