There’s just one round of games left in the European World Cup Qualifiers, so the Paddy Power Blog team have taken a look at all the permutations. Here’s who is heading to Rio next year and who has the summer off…
Who’s qualified in top spot? Belgium
Who’s in the play-offs? Croatia
Who’s out? Serbia, Wales, Scotland and Macedonia
That was an easy enough start. Belgium’s ‘golden generation’ have seen them sail through unbeaten in top spot, while Croatia have gladly taken the runner-up place at the expense of Serbia. Scotland and Wales proved themselves marginally better than Macedonia. Great work guys.
Who’s qualified in top spot? Italy
Who’s in the play-offs? Bulgaria, Denmark, Czech Republic or Armenia
Who’s out? Malta
Stewth. Italy are through unbeaten but that’s where our simple calculations end. If Bulgaria beat the Czech Republic then they are through to the play-offs. Denmark need to beat Malta and hope that Bulgaria draw or lose to Czech Republic. However if the Czech Republic win and Denmark fail to beat Malta then the Czechs are through. Incredibly if Armenia beat table-toppers Italy and Denmark draw with Malta and Bulgaria draw with Czech Republic, then Armenia leap-frog three countries and take the play-off spot. Malta are fucked whatever happens.
Who’s qualified in top spot? Germany
Who’s in the play-offs? Sweden
Who’s out? Austria, Ireland, Kazakhstan and Faroe Islands
The Germans made qualifying look easy, racking up eight wins, one draw and 31 goals. The Swedes had a relatively simple job of holding off a half-hearted fight for second from Austria and Ireland. Meanwhile Kazakhstan and Faroe Islands did little to suggest it would be worth concentrating more on football and less on Eurovision.
Who’s qualified in top spot? Netherlands
Who’s in the play-offs? Turkey, Romania or Hungary
Who’s out? Estonia and Andorra
The Dutch cleaned up in qualifying, scoring more goals than anybody and securing their place in Rio without breaking sweat. Turkey are currently in second but Romania will leap above them if they better the Turkish result on Tuesday. Luckily for Romania they face Estonia while the Turks host Holland. If both Turkey and Romania lose, Hungary will sneak into the play-offs if they beat Andorra who have lost every game so far.
Who’s qualified in top spot? Switzerland
Who’s in the play-offs? Iceland or Slovenia
Who’s out? Norway, Albania and Cyprus
The Swiss went unbeaten in Group E and secured qualification by beating Albania last week. Iceland will definitely be in the play-offs if they beat Norway on Tuesday. But Slovenia can pinch that spot if they beat Switzerland and the Norwegians do them a favour in Iceland. Anybody got Brede Hangeland’s mobile number?
Who’s qualified in top spot? Russia
Who’s in the play-offs? Portugal
Who’s out? Israel, Azerbaijan, Northern Ireland and Luxembourg
Despite having plenty of talent in their ranks, Portugal made a right pigs ear of qualifying. Fortunately for Ronaldo and co. the rest of the group was bobbins and Israel were the only team who even threatened to get close. Russia are in the hat, while there is still a slim possibility that Northern Ireland will finish bottom of the pile.
Who’s qualified in top spot? Bosnia and Herzegovina or Greece
Who’s in the play-offs? Bosnia and Herzegovina or Greece
Who’s out? Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia and Liechtenstein
There’s all to play for in Group G between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Greece. BandH have the edge on goal difference but face a potential banana-skin trip to Lithuania in the final game. Greece have the easier match at home to Liechtenstein, and know they have to better BandH’s result to qualify automatically.
Who’s qualified in top spot? England or Ukraine
Who’s in the play-offs? England, Ukraine or Montenegro
Who’s out? Poland, Moldova and San Marino
England have stumbled through qualifying like a rhino on meth, however they’ll be going to Brazil if they beat Poland at Wembley. Any slip up will be punished by Ukraine though who should hammer San Marino and that could mean a play-off for Hodgson’s side. Montenegro can sneak a play-off spot if they beat Moldova, Ukraine lose to San Marino and there is a 13-goal swing. Easy, right?
Who’s qualified in top spot? Spain or France
Who’s in the play-offs? Spain or France
Who’s out? Finland, Georgia and Belarus
A win or draw for Spain against Georgia and they’re heading to Rio. The only way the reigning champs will be in a play-off will be if they lose to Georgia, and France knock a few past Finland in Paris. In our book that’s a very slim chance. Unfortunately for everybody else in Europe nobody can catch France so they’re assured of at least a play-off spot. Boo.