Well, here we are sports fans with the final Euro Cup qualifiers coming up. Of course, there will be playoffs in November to ascertain who indeed advances to next year's tournament. These games are much more numerous than your typical weekend of Premier League games plus there are usually two playing days for each country. Of course, we will be looking to see if our Red Devils of Belgium can still squeeze in.
Matches per Soccerway: http://www.soccerway.com/internatio
/ We will look at the more crucial matches and others we just might be interested in.
Friday: Turkey Germany, Belgium Kazakhstan
Tuesday: Germany. Belgium, Turkey Aizerbaijan
Germany 24 points (Clinched 1st)
Turkey 14 points
Belgium 12 points
A close call for Belgium. Seeing how Turkish fans have treated visitors in the past, I think Germany could have a hard time in Instanbul. Oh well, the Turks do often play a very exciting brand of soccer and surely deserve to advance if their point total is better. Belgium faltered by drawing Aizerjaijan last time out. You almost might wonder if a country like Aizerbaijan might roll over for another Muslim country like Turkey. It does not look promising for Belgium. The best Belgium should hope for is somehow defeating the Kazakhs and then Germany to get 6 points and hope somehow the Germans defeat the Turks making the most Turkey can get as 3 points.
Friday: Slovakia Russia, Armenia Macedonia, Andorra Ireland Republic
Tuesday: Ireland Armenia, Russia Andorra, Macedonia Slovakia
Russia 17 points
Ireland 15 points
Armenia 14 points
Slovakia 14 points
I think we see 4 teams in contention and in all likelihood, if these teams can win their games, they will advance, easier said than done. Of course, Andorra is basically a pushover. I have no quarrels with any of these teams though it would be nice to see Ireland make the big tournament. Armenia are playing well but Ireland hosts them in the last games. Ireland must watch out for Andorra, they are not always the pushovers they appear to be and Ireland has notably had problems with smaller nations. Even a big soccer country like Italy had problems with Faroe Islands, another minnow country last time out.
Per Ireland, here is a good interview with Robbie Keane, now playing with the LA Galaxy where he has scored twice in only a few appearances. Ireland Republic, Eire, let's not forget basically got a raw deal to go to last year's World Cup and France who went were rather poor, I like the Bleus but I don't like any team that plays a game unfairly. So, I'm hoping the boys in green can make this Euro Tourney, it won't be easy but maybe since Ireland is playing Russia in one of the remaining games, Ireland can get the automatic bid and not go through those playoffs.
Friday: Serbia Italy, Northern Ireland Estonia,
Tuesday: Slovenia Serbia, Italy Northern Ireland
Italy 22 points
Serbia 14 points
Estonia 13 points
Slovenia 11 points
Northern Ireland 9 points
Italy apparently has this group in hand but Serbia, Estonia and Slovenia all battle for 2nd, perhaps Northern Ireland has a shot still as well. Those Baltic countries sometimes play some excellent soccer.
Friday: France Albania, Romania Belarus, Bosnia Luxembourg
Tuesday: France Bosnia, Albania Romania
France 17 points
Bosnia 16 points
Romania 12 points
It looks like France and Bosnia are in the driver's seat here but the two must still pick up points to assure they advance. Romania might be able to get in with 2 wins.
Friday: Finland Sweden, Netherlands Moldova
Tuesday: Sweden Netherlands, Hungary Finland
Netherlands 24 points
Sweden 18 points
Hungary 18 points
Finland 9 points
Some teams that did fairly well in the past such as Slovenia, Slovakia, even Israel and Iceland and Finland as in this group have had a poor outing this time qualification campaign apparently. Still, it would make Finland's day to defeat the Swedes, those countries up there along with Denmark and Norway are great rivals to each other. Hungary only has one game remaining while the Swedes have two games left. I think there is a good chance, Hungary could sneak in to the playoffs as a 2nd place team though all the same.
Friday: Greece Croatia
Tuesday: Georgia Greece, Croatia Latvia
Croatia 19 points
Greece 18 points
This group looks decided except of course, who will get the automatic qualification for the Euro by winning the group and who will have to go through the playoffs. Little Latvia, the Balkan country went to the last Euro '08, so, one might see them give the Croats a good game, perhaps even a draw so Friday's game is pivotal.
Friday: Montenegro England, Wales Switzerland
Tuesday: Switzerland Montenegro
England 17 points
Montenegro 11 points
Switzerland 8 points
It's self explanatory, Montenegro is in 2nd, Switzerland has a shot if they can win their last two games. Wales pulled an upset last time out defeating Montenegro.
Friday: Portugal Iceland, Cyprus Denmark
Tuesday: Norway Cyprus, Denmark Portugal
Portugal 13 points
Denmark 13 points
Norway 13 points
Norway only has one game remaining against Cyprus. It will be interesting how these games shake out. Surely, Portugal will advance. 2nd place is a bit unclear.
Friday: Czech Republic Spain
Saturday: Scotland Liechtenstein
Tuesday: Spain Scotland, Lithuania Czech Republic
Spain 18 points
Czech Republic 10 points
Scotland 8 points
The last group and in subsequent Euros, 24 teams will be playing versus the 16 teams currently, so it will be easier for the likes of Scotland to qualify. That said, I think Scotland still has an outside chance to make the '12 tournament. That outside chance would mean defeating Spain in Spain while the Czechs would have to lose or draw on Friday to Spain. Highly unlikely but you never know.
Scotland felt hard done in the game vs. the Czechs during this campaign that ended in a draw because the Czechs were awarded a PK which many disagree with. Probably was a bad call from what I saw.
This article is mainly my own little worksheet to get a grasp on how things are coming.
Most of the groups are largely decided, however it is clear that some like groups H and B are not. Those may be the only 2 where things are really up in the air.