Yahoo Sports Fantasy Baseball:
By Kris Voakes
February 22, 2014 4:00 AM
World champion Spain will find out the first half of its route to an unprecedented third successive European Championship victory on Sunday when the draw is made for the 2016 tournament's qualifying phase in Nyon.
La Roja, winners in 2008 and 2012, are among nine top seeds as Europe embarks upon a new-look qualification process ahead of the competition's first ever 24-team finals, in France.
The top two teams in each of the nine groups after the end of regular qualifying will advance to the finals, with the best third-placed team also progressing. The remaining eight third-placed teams will then be paired off into four playoff fixtures, with the winner of each being added to the finals draw.
France will be placed into Group I of the draw without actually playing for points since it automatically qualifies as host. The move has been made so that Les Bleus can play competitive friendlies while the rest of the group battles it out for a place in the finals.
In another new step, each round of qualifying fixtures will be spread over a three-day period, meaning full international weeks will include six consecutive days of qualifiers. The first 'Week of Football' will take place from Sept. 7-12, 2014.
Sunday's draw will include Gibraltar for the first time since gaining full Fifa membership.
||Republic of Ireland