UEFA Qualifying Preview: Four more nations can secure qualification; Iceland can land playoff spot; and more

AlvaroNegredoSpain2-Belarus (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

The top spot in Groups F, G, H, and I are all up for grabs on Tuesday, the final day of UEFA World Cup qualifying for Brazil 2014.

Russia look most likely to win Group F as all they need is a draw against Azerbaijan on the road, and Spain need to only draw at home against Georgia to beat out France for top spot in Group I. However, England need to defeat Poland at home if they want to win Group H, as Ukraine, only one point back, play San Marino, which should be a sure win.

In Group G, both Bosnia and Herzegovina and Greece enter the final day of matches tied on points with both playing separate opponents. The high-powered offense of Bosnia (29 goals for in nine games) travels to take on Lithuania while Greece hosts Liechtenstein. If both sides produce the same result, Bosnia will secure automatic qualification based on goal differential.

With first place wrapped up in the first four UEFA qualifying groups, the focus turns to second place, with Iceland bidding to enter their first playoff round in history if they can defeat Norway.

Turkey, Romania, and Hungary are all still possibilities for second place in Group D, while Group B has four nations that are all still within arms reach of second place: Bulgaria, Denmark, the Czech Republic, and Armenia.

Here is the full list of Tuesday’s qualifiers in UEFA, sorted by group:

GROUP A

Serbia vs. Macedonia
Belgium vs. Wales
Scotland vs. Croatia

GROUP B

Bulgaria vs. Czech Republic
Denmark vs. Malta
Italy vs. Armenia

GROUP C

Sweden vs. Germany
Faroe Islands vs. Austria
Republic of Ireland vs. Kazakhstan

GROUP D

Hungary vs. Andorra
Romania vs. Estonia
Turkey vs. Netherlands

GROUP E

Cyprus vs. Albania
Norway vs. Iceland
Switzerland vs. Slovenia

GROUP F

Azerbaijan vs. Russia
Israel vs. Northern Ireland
Portugal vs. Luxembourg

GROUP G

Greece vs. Liechtenstein
Lithuania vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina
Latvia vs. Slovakia

GROUP H

England vs. Poland
Montenegro vs. Moldova
San Marino vs. Ukraine

GROUP I

France vs. Finland
Spain vs. Georgia

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Which of these matches are you looking forward to? Do you see England securing automatic qualification? Which nation do you think can pull off the biggest upset? Do you see Iceland obtaining a place in the next round?

Share your thoughts below.

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15 Responses to UEFA Qualifying Preview: Four more nations can secure qualification; Iceland can land playoff spot; and more

  1. Steven C says:

    So, if the cards fall right, and Iceland makes it to the playoff, could they be the first team to ever qualify from UEFA who were in the last seed/pot?

    • Mike Santoro says:

      Not in the modern times with the current/similar format. Although last cycle Slovenia qualified from pot 5 (2nd to last pot). Also in 2002 Slovenia qualified being the lhe worst team in pot 4 (only 5 pots that year). But never has a team qualified for even the playoffs from last pot

    • Felix says:

      Not sure.
      That would be ironic though, with Johannsson choosing the US over Iceland and they end up reaching the World Cup anyway. The 2nd place playoffs are seeded though, so Iceland would end up having to play a France or Portugal in the home-and-home. It’ll be a tough draw for them.

  2. Roman Lewandowski says:

    Only Julie the Cat Gaffney can prevent Iceland from going to the World Cup.

  3. Ben James says:

    You’re wrong. Even if Bosnia and Greece get the same result, Greece can get automatic qualification. If Bosnia wins by one, Greece can win by 19 and win the group. Check your facts please.

    • Brett says:

      “The same result” would indicate equal points and equal goal differential, else the result would not be “the same”.

  4. Clyde Frog says:

    Iceland has about 320,000 people. That they are as good as they are is amazing.