MATCHDAY: Netherlands seeks a win at Ireland, struggling Poland plays Albania

A look at what’s happening in European Championship qualifying on Sunday:


The Netherlands visits Ireland for a game in which the losing team will have a tough job of qualifying. The Dutch team is in second place with six points, while Ireland has three, both far behind France on 15. That's partly down to the schedule — France has played two games more than the Netherlands and one more than Ireland — but neither the Dutch nor the Irish have been particularly impressive so far. The Netherlands won 3-0 against Greece on Thursday and France beat Ireland 2-0. Greece (6 points) plays Gibraltar and will take second place with a win if the Dutch team doesn't beat Ireland. France isn't playing ahead of a friendly with Germany on Tuesday.


Second-place Albania (7 points) hosts third-place Poland (6 points), with leader the Czech Republic (8 points) not in action. Poland is still trying to get its qualifying campaign into gear after a series of underwhelming results, most recently a 2-0 win over the Faeroe Islands on Thursday, and Albania has ambitions of qualifying for a major tournament for what would be only the second time. There's a slim chance that Moldova (5 points) could end the day top of the group on goal difference if it has a big win over the Faeroe Islands and there's a draw between Poland and Albania.


Serbia is looking to get back on track against Lithuania after losing 2-1 to group leader Hungary on Thursday despite creating the more dangerous chances. Three teams are challenging for the two qualifying spots in the group. Montenegro sits third on five points behind Hungary (10) and Serbia (seven), and could end the day in the top two.


Finland is in the unfamiliar position of leading a qualifying group as it hosts second-place Denmark. Whichever team loses is almost guaranteed to drop out of the top two because third-place Slovenia is playing tiny San Marino. Kazakhstan is in fourth and it too could boost its qualifying credentials against a Northern Irish team for whom the entire campaign so far has been a disappointment, with three points from five games.


AP soccer:

The Associated Press