10 Things To Watch In Tuesday’s World Cup Qualifiers
10 Storylines for Tuesday's World Cup Qualifiers
The World Cup Qualifiers are entering their final stage, and in a few months there will be total certainty about which will be the 32 teams that will compete on soccer’s biggest stage in Brazil next year. Several teams, however, are required to make one more effort on their way to either clinch their World Cup berth, stay alive through another month or even be a factor in several definitions.
With Asia and Oceania already over, the attention will turn to the other continents as there are only a few teams that have penciled their name in next year’s World Cup but there are several left to be decided. Some regular attendants to the tournament already qualified, some might need a play-off round to get to Brazil and some could even be completely left out of the tournament once the action wraps up tomorrow.
Therefore, tomorrow will be a decisive day all around the world in terms of the international stage. The South American (CONMEBOL) and North American (CONCACAF) qualifiers will have their final round, the European Group Stage will also have the final match day and there will even be matches played in Africa, where there will be a Clash of Giants in the first leg of the knockout round that’s also being developed.
There will be lots of things to watch in a very exciting match round, so join me through this slideshow to analyze some of the most important storylines that will occur in the World Cup Qualifiers tomorrow.
10. Play-off spot in Group B
Group B was seen as one of the closest zones in Europe before the Qualifiers started, and it lived up to the hype as four teams remain with chances to grab the play-off spot with only one game left to be played. Bulgaria, Denmark, Czech Republic and Armenia will play their hearts out to maintain their World Cup dreams alive for at least another month.
9. Play-off spot in Group D
The Netherlands already secured first place in Group D after a resounding 8-1 victory against Hungary, and they might have a say in the play-off definition as they will face Turkey in their final match. The Turkish (16 pts, +9), Romania (16 pts, +5) and Hungary (14 pts, -1) will battle for the remaining spot that guarantees a ticket in the play-off round.
8. Teams to qualify in Group H
Poland was eliminated last week, but they might have something to say in the final round as they will visit an England squad that hasn’t been able to qualify yet. Montenegro will host Moldova with the hope of a miracle as they need a triumph of San Marino against Ukraine if they want to get to the play-off round.
7. Team to win Group G
Both sides have 22 points and they currently share the first place of Europe’s Group F. The Bosnian side, however, have a much better goal differential (+23 against +6) so they have the edge unless they fail to get the three points against Lithuania and Greece are able to get past the challenge of Liechtenstein.
6. Belgium performance after qualifying
What Belgium have accomplished in these Qualifiers has been simply outstanding as they remain undefeated and have only received three goals against them in nine matches. With their ticket to Brazil already clinched, however, it remains to be seen if The Red Devils are still able to come out strong against Wales.
5. Two final spots in South America
Chile and Ecuador will face each other at the Estadio Nacional in Santiago, and both sides only need a draw to clinch their place in Brazil next year. However, if any of the two sides are able to win by a margin superior than three goals then things could change depending on what happens in Montevideo.
4. Uruguay vs. Argentina Rivalry
Uruguay already locked the fifth spot in the CONMEBOL qualifiers so they will face Jordan in a play-off round in November unless they are able to defeat Argentina and hope for either a Chile or Ecuador victory by a huge margin. But this rivalry is always a fierce one, so La Albiceleste will probably try to get the edge to celebrate away from home.
3. Mexico's situation in North America
Mexico have been a regular fixture in the World Cup in recent years so their performance this year is somewhat surprising. With only one match left, they need to defeat Costa Rica to secure their play-off berth and if Jamaica does the same thing with Honduras, El Tri might qualify directly. If they lose and Panama defeat USA, however, they could even be left out of the tournament.
2. USA finishing strong against Panama
United States already qualified to the World Cup two matches ago, and they even secured the first place in the standings with their latest victory. Jürgen Klinsmann’s men, however, need to finish strong in their final game against Panama if they really want to be considered contenders towards the next year.
1. Ghana vs. Egypt - African play-off Round
Two very successful African sides will face each other in the first round of a play-off that will feature some of the best players in the continent. The Black Stars will be hoping for another World Cup berth against an Egyptian side that always seem to be left out of the tournament at the final qualifying stages.