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Spain And Italy Face Decisive Dates In FIFA World Cup Qualifying | Football News


The first stage of European qualifying for subsequent yr’s World Cup concludes over the following week with Portugal, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands among the many nations going through essential video games within the quest to make it to Qatar. The 10 group winners will safe qualification for soccer’s world showpiece which kicks off on November 21, 2022. The 10 runners-up will get one other likelihood to qualify in play-offs subsequent March. AFP Sport appears to be like at what’s up for grabs within the remaining group video games:

Spain Have All To Play For

Spain confirmed on their runs to the Euro 2020 semi-finals and the Nations League last that they’re once more a pressure to be reckoned with. However, the 2010 world champions nonetheless have work to do to safe their place in Qatar from qualifying Group B.

Luis Enrique’s facet sit second, two factors behind leaders Sweden. They head to Athens on Thursday to play Greece, who held them to a 1-1 draw at residence in March. Failure to win this time would give Sweden the possibility to clinch prime spot with victory in Georgia.

Otherwise the group shall be determined when Spain host Sweden — together with a 40-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic — in Seville on Sunday.

Italy, Dutch Back On Big Stage?

European champions Italy, who did not qualify in 2018, will not be there but both. With two video games left in Group C they’re locked on 14 factors with Switzerland, and the edges conflict on Friday in Rome, 5 months after Italy gained 3-0 there when the groups met in Euro 2020’s opening recreation.

Whoever wins shall be left requiring only a level of their last qualifier, with the Azzurri going to Northern Ireland on Monday whereas the Swiss host Bulgaria.

“We mustn’t think that we have everything to lose,” mentioned coach Roberto Mancini. “We know what we are capable of, and if we play our game I think we will perform well. And we will have fun.”

The Netherlands are tantalisingly near returning to the World Cup after additionally lacking out in 2018. Louis van Gaal’s facet are two factors away from Norway atop Group G with a superior aim distinction to that of the Norwegians or third-placed Turkey.

That successfully means a attract Montenegro on Saturday mustn’t harm them, so long as they then keep away from defeat in opposition to Norway — who’re with out injured ahead Erling Haaland — in Rotterdam.

The battle between Russia and 2018 World Cup runners-up Croatia in Group H is tight, with the Russians at the moment two factors forward earlier than internet hosting Cyprus on Thursday.

As lengthy as Croatia do not slip up in Malta, they’ll declare prime spot after they host Russia in Split on Sunday.

England, France Almost There

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal are at the moment second in Group A, some extent behind Serbia. However, they’ve a recreation in hand within the Republic of Ireland on Thursday and a greater aim distinction. Whatever occurs there, the group shall be determined when Portugal host Serbia in Lisbon on Sunday.

Reigning world champions France can clinch qualification by beating Kazakhstan in Paris on Saturday. Even a draw could be sufficient supplied Finland fail to win earlier, however in any other case Les Bleus — with out the injured Paul Pogba — can wrap up their spot in Qatar after they journey to Helsinki on Tuesday.

England are three factors forward of Poland in Group I, so the Euro 2020 runners-up will qualify by taking a minimum of 4 factors from video games at residence to Albania and away in San Marino.

Belgium will win Group E by defeating Estonia in Brussels on Saturday, whereas an unlikely loss might arrange a bunch decider in Wales.

Already Qualified

Four-time world champions Germany have already secured their place on the finals from Group J. Five members of their squad have been pressured into quarantine on Tuesday after one participant examined constructive for Covid-19.

Behind them, Romania, North Macedonia, Armenia and Iceland can all nonetheless take the play-off place.

Promoted

Denmark have romped to qualification from Group F. Scotland want three extra factors from video games in Moldova and at residence to Denmark to take the play-off place.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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