Biting nails, baiting the French, and looking away as Keane misses (again)

Continuing the look ahead to next month's World Cup qualifiers

Europe: Group Six

Free scoring England have 26 goals and 21 points to their name after 7 wins from 7 games. So why am I still biting my nails? Because Croatia can still get 23 points if they win their remaining three games, one of which is against England on September 9th. If the unthinkable were to happen and England were to draw their other two games, the group would be tied. Then the boffins at FIFA will scratch their heads before closely scrutinising the goal difference situation and wondering out loud why a bloke in England running an obscure footy blog was ever worried.

Forthcoming fixtures:

September 5th

Ukraine - Andorra

Croatia - Belarus

September 9th

England - Croatia

Belarus - Ukraine

Andorra - Kazakhstan

Europe: Group Seven

If France beat Romania next month, the clash in Belgrade four days later will take on special significance. Beat Serbia and the French would jump into top spot on 19 points. Am I alone in thinking this would be a travesty? Les Bleus have scored eight goals and conceded six in their six qualifying games so far. They only beat the Faroe Islands 1 – 0 and, by some accounts, could have lost. This is hardly the France of Platini, Tigana and Giresse; of Henry, Vieira and Zidane. Sad but true.

Forthcoming fixtures:

September 5th

Austria - Faroe Islands

France - Romania

September 9th

Faroe Islands - Lithuania

Romania - Austria

Serbia - France

Europe: Group Eight

Only one point separates the top two, so this group could still be up for grabs if The Republic of Ireland actually starts winning games. Over to you, Robbie Keane. Three wins and four draws have seen them cling on to Italy’s tatty coat tails, but somehow you feel this form won’t be good enough to secure an automatic place. That said, if they can’t beat Montenegro or Bulgaria, should the Republic be going to South Africa anyway? Watch out for the (possible) crunch game between the Irish and the Italians on October 10th in Dublin.

Forthcoming fixtures:

September 5th

Bulgaria - Montenegro

Cyprus - Republic of Ireland

Georgia - Italy

September 9th

Montenegro - Cyprus

Italy - Bulgaria

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