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  • Writer's pictureStuart Kavanagh

UEFA World Cup Qualifying

Updated: Nov 11, 2021

A Look At The Final Round Of Fixtures And All The Possible Outcomes Of Each Group

Things are coming to a head in the final round of UEFA World Cup Qualifying. Things are tentatively placed across the ten qualifying groups. Some sides are already qualified, with Germany and Denmark both already confirming their spots in Qatar next December. But the rest of the spots are up for grabs. Let's take a look at how qualifying is placed as we head into the final round of fixtures.

Group A

Remaining Fixtures

November 11

  • Azerbaijan v Luxembourg

  • Republic of Ireland v Portugal

November 14

  • Luxembourg v Republic of Ireland

  • Portugal v Serbia

The big news in this group is the battle for the top spot that will take place on the last matchday between Portugal and Serbia. The winner of that one will likely be the nation that secures automatic qualification to Qatar next winter.

Group B

Remaining Fixtures

November 11

  • Georgia v Sweden

  • Greece v Spain

November 14

  • Greece v Kosovo

  • Spain v Sweden

This is one of the more interesting groups. There are three sides that have a chance to qualify. Greece has the hardest route. Anything less than defeating Spain and Kosovo will see their World Cup dream end. Likewise, if Spain wins their remaining two fixtures they will finish top of their group. If Sweden defeats bottom-placed Georgia, they can afford to draw the huge fixture in Seville between them and Los Rojas on the last matchday and still seal the top spot and auto qualification.

Group C

Remaining Fixtures

November 12

  • Italy v Switzerland

  • Northern Ireland v Lithuania

November 15

  • Northern Ireland v Italy

  • Switzerland v Bulgaria

Group C is another of the rather straightforward groups with the European Champion Italians and the giant-killing Swiss guaranteed the top two spots. They play against each other on the penultimate matchday. The Italian goal difference is slightly superior, so that gives the Azurri the edge if the sides end on the same amount of points come the end of this qualifying period.

Group D

Remaining Fixtures

November 13

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina v Finland

  • France v Kazakhstan

November 16

  • Finland v France

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina v Ukraine

Okay so technically four of these sides can go through as group winners and book their ticket to the Fifa World Cup in Qatar. Realistically, however, France only needs to defeat Kazakhstan in the first lot of fixtures in this international break to ensure that it is them. I'd be extremely surprised if this doesn't happen, particularly with France being the home side in that match. Ukraine, Finland, and Bosnia will all be hoping that Kazakhstan can pull off a major surprise. Their best bet would be to focus on finishing second in the group.

Bosnia has the toughest route to sealing the second spot. Nothing other than two victories for the Zmajevi will do. Anything less will see them bundled out of the World Cup at the qualifying stage.

Ukraine needs to defeat Bosnia and hope that Finland suffers a defeat in their last two fixtures to have any hope of going through.

Finland needs to win at least one of their remaining two fixtures and they should qualify. Winning two would guarantee qualification, however.

To add to the intrigue Bosnia and Ukraine both have identical goal differences, with Finland only one goal behind them in that regard. This shapes up as one of the more exciting groups this international break.

Group E

Remaining Fixtures

November 13

  • Wales v Belarus

  • Belgium v Estonia

November 16

  • Wales v Belgium

  • Czech Republic v Estonia

Belgium has all but guaranteed their passage to auto qualification and realistically only need to draw with Estonia given their mammoth goal difference. They have already guaranteed a top-two finish and a fanciful set of events is required for them to not qualify as group winners.

Wales is in the box seat to finish second when you consider that they have an extra fixture in their back pockets. All they need to do is match the Czech Republic points haul to confirm the second spot. Any slip-ups against group cellar-dwellers Belarus on the penultimate matchday opens the door for the Czechs to steal a march on them and secure the second spot for themselves in their final matchday fixture against Estonia.

Group F

Remaining Fixtures

November 12

  • Moldova v Scotland

  • Denmark v Faroe Islands

  • Austria v Israel

November 15

  • Israel v Faroe Islands

  • Scotland v Denmark

  • Austria v Moldova

Group F is all sewn up as far as the top spot is concerned. Denmark has been in scintillating form and remains undefeated heading into the final round of fixtures. The Danes will definitely be in Qatar next December.

Scotland can secure the second spot with a victory over a Moldova side that has only managed one point the entire campaign given their four-point advantage over third-place Israel. For the Israelis, they require Scotland to fail to win either of their remaining two matches, whilst winning both of theirs to steal second place.

Group G

Remaining Fixtures

November 13

  • Norway v Latvia

  • Turkey v Gibraltar

  • Montenegro v Netherlands

November 16

  • Gibraltar v Latvia

  • Montenegro v Turkey

  • Netherlands v Norway

This group is probably the most exciting of them all as we head into the November international break.

Norway and the Netherlands look to be fighting it out for the top spot. Holland needs to secure 4 points to guarantee the top spot and that all-important automatic qualification. Norway on the other hand needs to beat Latvia, then defeat the Netherlands to secure the top spot for themselves.

Turkey needs a perfect six points from their last two games, whilst having to rely on either Norway or the Netherlands dropping points to clinch the second spot and even possibly (but unlikely) top spot.

Montenegro is the other team in the picture here. They could potentially steal a march on the second spot. They need a perfect run including defeating Holland on the penultimate matchday. They also need Norway to lose both games by a big margin given the Norwegians have a 9 goal advantage when it comes to goal difference.

Group H

Remaining Fixtures

November 11

  • Russia v Cyprus

  • Malta v Croatia

  • Slovakia v Slovenia

November 14

  • Malta v Slovakia

  • Slovenia v Cyprus

  • Croatia v Russia

Croatia and Russia will finish in the top two spots here. they will also face-off on the last matchday in what could potentially be a battle for automatic qualification. If it comes to it, Croatia holds the trump card. A victory that will steal the top spot from the Russians due to their superior goal difference.

Group I

Remaining Fixtures

November 12

  • Andorra v Poland

  • Hungary v San Marina

  • England v Albania

November 15

  • San Marino v England

  • Albania v Andorra

  • Poland v Hungary

Mathematically Poland and Albania can potentially take the top spot off of England. However, it would take a choke of mammoth proportions from the Three Lions to not finish top and book their spot in the FIFA World Cup finals.

Poland should qualify second, but Albania will pounce on any slip up from the Poles, although for them to usurp Poland they would have to defeat England at Wembley in their penultimate fixture.

Group J

Remaining Fixtures

November 11

  • Armenia v North Macedonia

  • Romania v Iceland

  • Germany v Liechtenstein

November 14

  • Liechtenstein v Romania

  • Armenia v Germany

  • North Macedonia v Iceland

With the Germans having already booked their ticket to Qatar, this group is all about the three-way dance for second place.

Romania, North Macedonia, and Armenia are all neck and neck heading into the final set of fixtures. Romania currently occupies second place and faces the bottom two sides Iceland and Liechtenstein, making them favorites. Any slip up from the Tricolorii could be fatal to their World Cup chances. Armenia and North Macedonia face each other in the first set of fixtures with the loser essentially out of the running for the second spot. Armenia then face already qualified Germany whilst North Macedonia face already eliminated Iceland. This could be an exciting final matchday for Group J.

So there you have it, all the permutations from the UEFA World Cup qualifying section. Once the group standings have been finalized, we'll take a look at the Nations League wildcards and how the second place getters group stage looks.

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