"I would say it's a group with three candidates for two places, and Portugal are one of them", said Portugal coach Fernando Santos. The Republic of Ireland have been drawn in Group D alongside Switzerland, Denmark, Georgia and Gibraltar.
Northern Ireland were handed a tough assignment, drawing Holland, Germany, Estonia and Belarus.
World Cup winners France will meet Iceland and Turkey as well as Albania, Moldova and Andorra in Group H.
Group F: Spain, Sweden, Norway, Romania, Faroe Islands, Malta.
A further four place will be up for grabs in March 2020, when the UEFA Nations League play-offs will take place, a back-door into the summer showpiece for those who did not make it through the qualifying stages.
Germany's failure in the newest global tournament, being relegated from a group including Netherlands and France, meant they dropped into the second seeds and they were once again paired with their fiercest rivals Netherlands.
It nearly was. Ireland were originally drawn into Group C alongside Netherlands and Germany but managed to bypass the group due to a UEFA bylaw. "Ukraine and Serbia are hard".
He was also happy to avoid Germany after his side were drawn in Group J along with teams including Bosnia, Finland and Greece. And then it all flashed up, we got moved to the next pot.
The new format offers a potential back door for any top side that struggles in qualifying, while also handing the leading minnows from the lowest division - Kosovo, Georgia, Belarus and Macedonia - a crack at the last qualification place. Their neighbours the Republic of Ireland were initially drawn in Group C but were switched due to a rule that prevents more than two host countries competing in any one group.
England will take on the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Kosovo next year to reach the finals, which will be staged in cities across Europe.
While they certainly aren't guaranteed to qualify for Euro 2020, Irish football fans will be feeling more optimistic than this time last week.