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World Cup Qualification: Europe

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    World Cup Qualification: Europe

    Don't know whether preference is for a mega-thread or whether, like for the Euro qualification, we do a new thread for each round of games or double-header. Either way, we don't have the draw and schedule up here yet and presumably as teams start to drop like flies out of the European Championships, they might be looking ahead to September.

    Schedule:
    Code:
    Matchday 1	46 September 2016
    Matchday 2	68 October 2016
    Matchday 3	911 October 2016
    Matchday 4	1113 November 2016
    Matchday 5	2426 March 2017
    Matchday 6	911 June 2017
    Matchday 7	31 August  2 September 2017
    Matchday 8	35 September 2017
    Matchday 9	57 October 2017
    Matchday 10	810 October 2017
    Playoffs:
    First leg	911 November 2017
    Second leg	1214 November 2017
    Russia obviously are not taking part in qualification, which left 52 teams when the draw was made. The addition of Kosovo and Gibraltar took the total up to 54, and the two new teams were added to the groups of five, so all nine groups have exactly six teams this time.

    Nine group winners go through. The runner-up with the worst record is eliminated, and the other eight runners-up do the usual playoff thing.

    Here you go then, folks:

    Group A
    Netherlands
    France
    Sweden
    Bulgaria
    Belarus
    Luxembourg

    Group B
    Portugal
    Switzerland
    Hungary
    Faroe Islands
    Latvia
    Andorra

    Group C
    Germany
    Czechia
    Northern Ireland
    Norway
    Azerbaijan
    San Marino

    Group D
    Wales
    Austria
    Serbia
    Republic of Ireland
    Moldova
    Georgia

    Group E
    Romania
    Denmark
    Poland
    Montenegro
    Armenia
    Kazakhstan

    Group F
    England
    Slovakia
    Scotland
    Slovenia
    Lithuania
    Malta

    Group G
    Spain
    Italy
    Albania
    Israel
    Macedonia
    Liechtenstein

    Group H
    Belgium
    Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Greece
    Estonia
    Cyprus
    Gibraltar

    Group I
    Croatia
    Iceland
    Ukraine
    Turkey
    Finland
    Kosovo

    #2
    World Cup Qualification: Europe

    For completeness, here are the opening fixtures (KO times CET).

    4 September
    Group C: San Marino v Azerbaijan (18.00), Czechia v Northern Ireland (20.45), Norway v Germany (20.45)
    Group E: Denmark v Armenia (18.00), Kazakhstan v Poland (18.00), Romania v Montenegro (20.45)
    Group F: Lithuania v Slovenia (18.00), Slovakia v England (20.45), Malta v Scotland (20.45)

    5 September
    Group D: Georgia v Austria (18.00), Serbia v Republic of Ireland (20.45), Wales v Moldova (20.45)
    Group G: Albania v FYR Macedonia (20.45), Israel v Italy (20.45), Spain v Liechtenstein (20.45)
    Group I: Croatia v Turkey (20.45), Ukraine v Iceland (20.45), Finland v Kosovo (20.45)

    6 September
    Group A: Belarus v France (20.45), Bulgaria v Luxembourg (20.45), Sweden v Netherlands (20.45)
    Group B: Andorra v Latvia (20.45), Faroe Islands v Hungary (20.45), Switzerland v Portugal (20.45)
    Group H: Bosnia and Herzegovina v Estonia (20.45), Cyprus v Belgium (20.45), Gibraltar v Greece (20.45)

    Comment


      #3
      World Cup Qualification: Europe

      The Republic's group suddenly looks much less daunting than it did when drawn - that's not to say that the Austrians won't improve, but the reputation has certainly been tarnished, and Ireland's displays suggest that the gap to Wales is less steep than seemed apparent in November.

      Comment


        #4
        World Cup Qualification: Europe

        I think the Wales-Austria-Ireland-Serbia group looks a good bet for the one where the runners-up won't make the playoffs, as the top four will have taken too many points off each other.

        Comment


          #5
          World Cup Qualification: Europe

          Still, away matches in Belgrade tend to throw up, erm, peculiar results.

          Comment


            #6
            World Cup Qualification: Europe

            Teams must aim to top their groups because Spain or Italy will be in the play-offs, as will Netherlands or France.

            Scotland shouldn't fear Slovakia or Slovenia, but need to look instead at their tendency to fuck up.

            Surely Sweden and Ukraine can't improve enough on this month's form to be competitive?

            Belgium have the easiest group.

            Good luck to Kosovo and Azerbaijan. Fuck off Gibraltar?

            Comment


              #7
              World Cup Qualification: Europe

              antoine polus wrote: Still, away matches in Belgrade tend to throw up, erm, peculiar results.
              As long as it isn't 6-1 again, I can live with that.

              Comment


                #8
                World Cup Qualification: Europe

                "And who would have thought, just two years ago, that Scotland would now be going back to the World Cup finals, as an independent nation, while England ... "

                Comment


                  #9
                  World Cup Qualification: Europe

                  "And meanwhile, newly independent Cornwall eagerly await the Euro 2020 qualifying draw, where they make their debut in pot 6- will we see the likes of Modric, Ozil, Ronaldo or Buffon grace the hallowed turf of Treyew Road, Truro?"

                  Comment


                    #10
                    World Cup Qualification: Europe

                    "sadly, Northern Ireland continue to suffer the disadvantage of having to play their games on neutral territory"

                    Comment


                      #11
                      World Cup Qualification: Europe

                      Satchmo Distel wrote: Teams must aim to top their groups because Spain or Italy will be in the play-offs, as will Netherlands or France.

                      Scotland shouldn't fear Slovakia or Slovenia, but need to look instead at their tendency to fuck up.

                      Surely Sweden and Ukraine can't improve enough on this month's form to be competitive?

                      Belgium have the easiest group.

                      Good luck to Kosovo and Azerbaijan. Fuck off Gibraltar?
                      96% of Gibraltar is ok I thought.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        World Cup Qualification: Europe

                        You can play the usual "We beat Belgium, who demolished Ireland 3-0, 3-1 so we should beat them by six goals" or something but, of course, it won't be like that. Austria looked pretty ordinary over the last month and Serbia, while having a couple of good results, had more awful results but, of course, playing them is not welcomed by us. Having said that, we have completely changed our form against Belgium since the 2014 qualifiers so why not Serbia?

                        The main thing is that there is no team there that we will start out being scared of, teams are more likely to be wary about us, we know our best team and best formation and the experience, team spirit and understanding between the players and management will be at an absolute high from this tournament.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          World Cup Qualification: Europe

                          Bordeaux Education wrote:

                          The main thing is that there is no team there that we will start out being scared of...
                          I'm still scared of Moldova, twenty-two years on.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            World Cup Qualification: Europe

                            Georgia too, for that matter.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              World Cup Qualification: Europe

                              Iceland might be able to qualify as the group second vs Turkey and Ukraine, as can Wales.

                              Predicting second-place teams:

                              Holland
                              Switzerland/Hungary
                              Czechs
                              Wales/Austria/Serbia/Ireland
                              Denmark/Romania
                              Slovakia
                              Spain
                              Bosnia
                              Iceland/Ukraine/Turkey

                              Comment


                                #16
                                World Cup Qualification: Europe

                                Did the Faroe Islands really get ranked among the fourth placed seed pot?

                                They usually pick up some points against the even smaller minnows. 6 points v Andorra this time. Possibly a couple of draws against Latvia. They do reasonably well against the Baltics.

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  World Cup Qualification: Europe

                                  Bordeaux Education wrote:

                                  The main thing is that there is no team there that we will start out being scared of, teams are more likely to be wary about us, we know our best team and best formation and the experience, team spirit and understanding between the players and management will be at an absolute high from this tournament.
                                  One thing I don't think they know how to do is break down a very defensive team and most of those teams will be parking the bus.

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    World Cup Qualification: Europe

                                    Patrick Thistle wrote: Did the Faroe Islands really get ranked among the fourth placed seed pot?

                                    They usually pick up some points against the even smaller minnows. 6 points v Andorra this time. Possibly a couple of draws against Latvia. They do reasonably well against the Baltics.
                                    Yes, in fact they were ranked the 7th of the 9 teams in pot 4.

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      World Cup Qualification: Europe

                                      Rogin le fan du fauteuil wrote: I think the Wales-Austria-Ireland-Serbia group looks a good bet for the one where the runners-up won't make the playoffs, as the top four will have taken too many points off each other.
                                      Group E looks tight, too.

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        World Cup Qualification: Europe

                                        And Group I.

                                        Comment


                                          #21
                                          World Cup Qualification: Europe

                                          Kevchenkeau wrote:
                                          Originally posted by Patrick Thistle
                                          Did the Faroe Islands really get ranked among the fourth placed seed pot?

                                          They usually pick up some points against the even smaller minnows. 6 points v Andorra this time. Possibly a couple of draws against Latvia. They do reasonably well against the Baltics.
                                          Yes, in fact they were ranked the 7th of the 9 teams in pot 4.
                                          Which makes them 'better' than 20 other teams. Hmmm.

                                          Comment


                                            #22
                                            World Cup Qualification: Europe

                                            Rogin le fan du fauteuil wrote: I think the Wales-Austria-Ireland-Serbia group looks a good bet for the one where the runners-up won't make the playoffs, as the top four will have taken too many points off each other.
                                            Agreed. Another factor against this group is that it lacks a whipping boy or two. With all the groups having six teams this time, results against the bottom team in the group will count in assessing the best second place. So in the case of this group the bottom team is likely to be Moldova, who are not world beaters but they could take points off somebody and they won't be taken for as many goals as San Marino or Gibraltar.

                                            Comment


                                              #23
                                              World Cup Qualification: Europe

                                              Bordeaux Education wrote: You can play the usual "We beat Belgium, who demolished Ireland 3-0, 3-1 so we should beat them by six goals" or something but, of course, it won't be like that.
                                              Yes, I'm trying to remember the one for the 1998 World Cup which went something like:-

                                              Brazil beat Chile who drew with Italy who beat Norway who beat Brazil.

                                              Which proves that Brazil are much better than Brazil.

                                              _______________________________________________

                                              Comment


                                                #24
                                                World Cup Qualification: Europe

                                                Time to recycle my earlier line about it being easier for Wales to win the Euros than qualify for the next World Cup. Well, not now, obviously.

                                                So replace Wales with Portugal: good odds on them doing a Greece.

                                                Comment


                                                  #25
                                                  World Cup Qualification: Europe

                                                  Satchmo Distel wrote: Teams must aim to top their groups because Spain or Italy will be in the play-offs, as will Netherlands or France.
                                                  If Wales can get second (and not miss out by being the worst second placed side) they should be ranked as one of the seeded sides in the play-offs so would avoid Spain/Italy/Holland/France.

                                                  Comment

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