Which European teams can qualify for the World Cup?

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Find yourself wondering what the state of play is in European qualifying for next summer’s World Cup? Soccerlens looks at how the road to Brazil is shaping up with two games to go.

Group A

Belgium will book their place in Brazil as group winners if they avoid defeat in Croatia, consigning them to the lethal lottery of the playoffs.

Igor Stimac’s side can only overhaul the Red Devils if they beat them in the Maksimir, then Belgium lose at home to Wales on Tuesday and they beat Scotland away.

None of the other nations in this pool can qualify. Serbia are expected to be the best of the rest. Chris Coleman will hope Wales can avoid finishing bottom.

Group B

Italy are already confirmed as top dog here, but there’s still a four-horse race for the playoff place at this stage.

Bulgaria sit second at the moment and face outside contenders Armenia away before hosting the Czech Republic.

A win on Friday for Bulgaria will see Armenia out of the running. The Czechs meanwhile must win in Malta to keep their hopes alive and hope Armenia and Italy do the same.

Denmark will qualify with wins over Italy and Malta, provided Bulgaria draw at least one of their remaining matches.

Armenia face the toughest challenge of all. They must win their remaining matches and hope no other contenders amass 15 points. This group is unlikely to be decided on Friday.

Group C

Victory for Germany over the Republic of Irelandin Cologne will confirm them as group winners and condemn the manageless side to fourth place.

Joachim Low is already sure of a playoff spot and, if second place Sweden were held by Austria matching that result would be enough to win this pool.

If the Swedes win and Germany lose, then automatic qualification will go down to the final matchday.

Austria must at least draw with Sweden, then beat group whipping boys the Faroe Islands and hope Germany beat Erik Hamren’s team to sneak a playoff spot by virtue of superior goal difference.

The permutations involving Ireland qualifying involve Sweden losing their remaining games and then overhauling Austria’s goal difference which is already eight better than their own.

Group D

The Nethrlands have already won this group, but there’s a three-way dance for the playoff spot.

Hungary lead Turkey and Romania by a point going into the final two matches.

Playing the Dutch on Friday is offset by the fact Hungary have minnows Androrra to come. Romania are playing the pool’s basement nation first though.

Turkey face a tough trip to Estonia, who held Holland in their last home game, before hosting the table toppers in Istanbul.

This group can only be decided on Friday is Hungary beat the Netherlands, Estonia defeat Turkey and Andorra somehow win against Romania. It looks like going to the wire in this pool.

Group E

Victory in Albania for leaders Switzerland will seal their place at next summer’s finals.

Iceland and Slovenia can still top the group at this stage, but are five and six points respectively behind the Swiss.

Norway and Albania can still take the playoff place, but there is no margin for error.

As second to fifth are only separated by three points, this pool cannot be completely decided on Friday.

Group F

If Russia beat lowly Luxembourg and Israel hold or win in Portugal, then Fabio Capello will have steered a second country to the World Cup finals in his career.

His side sit top of this group, a point ahead of Portugal with the Israelis five behind them. Northern Ireland, Luxembourg and Azerbaijan are all out of the running.

A win for Israel in Lisbon will take the playoff battle to Tuesday. Portugal then face Luxembourg. Israel take on Northern Ireland.

Group G

Bonsia and Greece are neck and neck in this group, but the Balkan state has Lichtenstein whilst the Euro 2004 winners face a tricky test against Slovakia.

A win for Bosnia and defeat for Greece would leave the former Yugoslav state almost certain to qualify as their goal difference is already 15 better off.

Only these two countries can still qualify from the pool.

Group H

England’s group cannot be decided on Friday as only three points separates them, Ukraine, Montenegro and Poland.

Two wins from the Wembley matches with Montenegro and Poland will guarantee Roy Hodgson automatic qualification.

Poland have the toughest remaining fixtures on paper as they first face neighbours Ukraine in Kiev.

If England and Poland both win on Friday then it would bring the Three Lions to the cusp of qualification as they would be three points clear and have the best goal difference in this pool.

Group I

Four points from their final two matches will be enough to see reigning world champions Spain through automatically.

Vicente Del Bosque’s side have a game in hand over France. Didier Deschamps must hope La Roja draw or lose both their matches while Les Bleus beat Finland on Tuesday.

No other nation can qualify from this pool.

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One Response

  1. Nicholas Gaffney 10 October, 2013