TLDR: How do you create a pre-qualifying tournament?
Further detail - As you're all aware, the Euro 2016 draw took place on Sunday, and I had an idea for a project. Every qualifying draw these days the same idea is brought up. The weaker nations in Europe (generally the bottom 8) should have to pre-qualify, as they'll get more games (and wins) against teams at their level, rather than being outclassed 99.99% of the time.
I was thinking how I can create this in FM, as I'd be interested to see how it works, and if any long term effects to the usual bottom 8 are seen. Perhaps over time, a new bottom 8 will emerge. Perhaps San Marino will rack up a win or two every time the mini tournament rolls around etc.
So, I was thinking 8 teams in 2 groups of 4 round robin with the winners of each group joining the "top 46" to make 48 teams playing in 8 groups of 6 with the top 2 advancing to the 16 team format we know and love. Having a host nation isn't important to me.
I can work out how to get the 48 teams into 16, and the 16 into the knockouts but I can't work out how to a) pull the lowest 8 teams out, make them have a tournament and b) pick the 2 teams that qualify, add them to the 46 teams that didn't pre-qualify and then go from there.
Any help would be much appreciated.