Analysis of the European World Cup Qualifiers: Final Matchday
European Qualifiers: Final Matchday Analysis
There were several things left to be decided in the European Qualifiers going into the final matchday, which meant that there was going to be a lot of action in every single match that was left to be played.
It’s fair to say that everything lived up to the hype as the emotion was palpable until the very last minute of the final match where, in the end, we all got to know the nine teams that got their direct ticket to Brazil and the remaining eight teams that will have to battle again in November to decide which will take one of the remaining four spots left to be decided in the playoff round.
Who ended up getting the second place in Group B? Who finished behind The Netherlands in Group D? Did Bosnia or Greece finish in the first place of their group? And were England able to hold on to their first place as they faced a tough rival in Poland? All of these questions were left to be answered in the final 90 minutes of the Group Stage in the European Qualifiers and some results were, frankly, quite shocking.
Join me through this slideshow as we will review the outcome of every single group in the final matchday, analyzing the teams that qualified directly and the ones that will have to wait a whole month to participate in the playoff round.
Without further ado, this is how the European World Cup Qualifiers ended.
With Belgium already having qualified directly and Croatia a lock for the playoff round, there wasn’t much to be decided. The Red Devils weren’t able to finish strong as they surrender a draw against Wales whilst Croatia was outplayed in their visit to Scotland, where they ended up losing by a two-goal margin.
Italy qualified a few matches ago and they eliminated Armenia today as both sides played an entertaining two-goal draw. Bulgaria needed to defeat Czech Republic to clinch their playoff berth and they lost, so in the end Denmark took advantage of their 6-0 win against Malta to end up in second place, which ended up being useless: since the Danish were the second-place team with fewer points, they won’t participate in the playoff round.
Germany and Sweden ended up in first and second place respectively and had a thrilling match where the German side defeated Zlatan’s team by an expressive 5-3 result. Joachim Low’s men ended up undefeated and Sweden finished as the runner-up, clinching their place in the playoff round.
Romania took advantage of their easy fixture and defeated Estonia 2-0 to secure their place in the November playoff stage. The Netherlands defeated Turkey and ended up in first place with 28 points, being one of the better teams of the qualifiers.
Switzerland had already secured the first place in the group with 24 points, but it was still unclear which team will end up second. Iceland only drew against Norway but since the Swiss side defeated Slovenia, they were able to grab second place in the group.
Portugal defeated Luxembourg by a three-goal margin, but it wasn’t enough since Russia drew their game against Azerbaijan. So, they got the point needed to secure first place. The hosts of the 2018 World Cup got the direct ticket while Cristiano Ronaldo’s team will have to wait until November to see if they are able to play in Brazil next year.
Bosnia and Greece entered the final matchday with the same quantity of points, but since the Balkan side had a better goal differential, they were the ones who would qualify in case of the two teams being even . That was exactly what happened since both teams won their respective matches and as a result, Bosnia qualified for the first World Cup of their history while Greece will take part of the playoff round next month.
England and Ukraine had to win their respective matches to earn the first and second place of the group, and that’s what they did. The British side defeated Poland and the Ukrainians found the net eight times against a poor San Marino team that was unable to defend their home advantage from the first minute. As a result, England qualified first and Ukraine got second place, which means a playoff spot.
Spain and France were the early favorites to advance in this group and they didn’t disappoint. The current World Champions only needed one point to secure first place and defeated Georgia, while France ended in second place following a 3-0 victory against Finland.
List Of Teams
Qualified Teams: Belgium, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Russia, Bosnia, England and Spain.
Playoff-bound teams: Croatia, Sweden, Romania, Iceland, Portugal, Greece, Ukraine and France.