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Europe's World Cup Qualifying Draw.....

Toughest group has got to be the first one, right? And at the end of the day, after all their concern, the English find themselves in a workable group. Group winners go to South Africa. The eight best second-place sides head to a playoff to decide the final four slots. Your thoughts?

GROUP ONE
Portugal
Sweden
Denmark
Hungary
Albania
Malta
GROUP TWO
Greece
Israel
Switzerland
Moldova
Latvia
Luxembourg
GROUP THREE
Czech Republic
Poland
Northern Ireland
Slovakia
Slovenia
San Marino
GROUP FOUR
Germany
Russia
Finland
Wales
Azerbaijan
Liechtenstein
GROUP FIVE
Spain
Turkey
Belgium
Bosnia
Armenia
Estonia
GROUP SIX
Croatia
England
Ukraine
Belarus
Kazakhstan
Andorra
GROUP SEVEN
France
Romania
Serbia
LIthuania
Austria
Faeroe Islands
GROUP EIGHT
Italy
Bulgaria
Ireland
Cyprus
Georgia
Montenegro
GROUP NINE
Netherlands
Scotland
Norway
Macedonia
Iceland

By Steve Goff  |  November 25, 2007; 11:28 AM ET
Categories:  World  
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Comments

Croatia and England will meet again, what sort of hijinks will ensue?

Posted by: Tim | November 25, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

oh I don't know, I think group 9 looks pretty tough to decide

Posted by: grumpy | November 25, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

If Holland are in form they should win group nine. However, this group plays two less matches than the first eight. It makes the second place qualification for the play in a bit dicey.

Posted by: Orange 14 | November 25, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Denmark and Sweden are together, again. Too bad Denmark won't qualify this time either.

Posted by: Sarah | November 25, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Sweden and Portugal are the best pair in any group I'd say, but I think Groups 6 and 7 looks the harder in terms of trios of top teams. France, Romania and Serbia can all qualify, though France are still favorites. England's group is manageable but at the same time Ukraine is one of the better teams from the third pot, so England need to be very careful. How weak does Group 2 look compared to the rest.

Posted by: G-Dub | November 25, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I think Group 5 is very strong. Estonia can upset, Turkey is strong, and Spain is the strongest in Europe. It is a shame that Israel, Greece or Switzerland are guarenteed a spot basically. Those teams are not deserving of it. I hope Israel can go through. Scotland is going to get robbed again. Shame they are with Holland and Norway. Norway and Scotland should have each made Euro 2008, but came up just short. One of them will come up just short for WC 2010 too. :( Group 9 is the group of death, without a doubt in my opinion.
Group 7 is quite weak as well. Besides Italy, I see nothing.

My picks for 1st place: Holland, Italy, France, England, Spain, Germany, Czech Republic, Israel, Portugal. Not many upsets.
Second place: Denmark, Greece, Northern Ireland, Russia, Turkey, Croatia, Serbia, Ireland, Norway.
Norway, Russia, Croatia, and Turkey will move on, i believe.

Posted by: BI | November 25, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I agree, Group 5 looks to be the toughest. Turkey and Belgium will battle it out for that second spot, but will they cancel each other out and be the group that only sends one team (Spain) to South Africa?

Posted by: hoyanick | November 25, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I think Sweden, Greece, Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, Croatia, France, Italy and Scotland (if McLeish stays) qualify top of their groups. Of the Second place finishers Portugal, England, the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland go through.

OK, so Ireland probably won't make it unless they come to their senses and hire a decent manager, maybe pay someone on the continent to hire Venables so he is as far away as possible.

Posted by: dtd | November 25, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Now I understand why Europe has 40 percent share in the 32 teams that go to the final stage of the World Cup. Compared to other nations around the world here is the number of teams each group should send
1(3):Portugal,Sweden and Denmark
2(1):Greece
3(1):Czech Republic
4(3):Germany,Russia and Finland
5(2):Spain and Turkey
6(2):Croatia and England
7(2):France and Serbia
8(1)Italy
9(3)Netherlands,Scotland and Norway
Europe should be represented by at least half of the participating teams in the final ph ase.

Posted by: Mwanga | November 25, 2007 7:28 PM | Report abuse

England vs. Kazakhstan? I guess we'll be seeing Sacha Cohen at that one for some glorious football.

Posted by: bbarrie | November 25, 2007 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Weakest group from top to bottom has to be group 2. Group 8 follows close behind, but with the World Champs in that group it puts it well enough ahead of 2.

Groups 1 and 9 will be the toughest for the top 3 in each group.

Posted by: dtb | November 25, 2007 7:58 PM | Report abuse

The groups for Africa's qualifications are a little confusing. Apparently South Africa is in group 4. Does this mean they have to qualify to host the world cup? No automatic entrance? Can somebody please shine any insight onto this.

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=483851&cc=5901

Posted by: blackandredblood | November 25, 2007 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Group 7 and Group 4 look tough.

Posted by: Richard | November 25, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

blackandredblood: South Africa has to play because they use the qualification as the qualifier for the African Cup of Nations so they are qualified for the WC but need to play to qualify for some other tournaments. (P.S. the European Championship qualifiers should have the same dual function IMO)

England won't make it if there is any justice. They got a very soft draw.

Germany could send their D-team and hobble all of their ankles and still breeze through that group. That couldn't make me happier. If the US can't win (which they won't, I want Germany to prevail)

Mwanga- I don't understand how you could put such value on Russia and Finalnd. They have played better this year, but neither one is known as a footballing nation and neither one is THAT good. C'mon. Europe sends more than their share of nations they make up about 1/3 of all nations in FIFA and send more than that. I'd say they already get more than enough representation.

Posted by: papa bear | November 25, 2007 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I think 7 and 4 are pretty tough.

In each of those a team that probably could make it in a weaker group probably won't.

If a top team plays poorly, they're probably out.

Posted by: Chimaera | November 25, 2007 10:19 PM | Report abuse

If you want more European teams in the World Cup why don't you just watch the European Championship and leave the World Cup to the rest of us.

Posted by: World | November 25, 2007 11:57 PM | Report abuse


Europe's World Cup Qualifying Draw.....
Toughest group has got to be the first one, right? And at the end of the day, after all their concern, the English find themselves in a workable group. Group winners go to South Africa. The eight best second-place sides head to a playoff to decide the final four slots. Your thoughts?

GROUP ONE
Portugal
Sweden
Denmark
Hungary
Albania
Malta
GROUP TWO
Greece
Israel
Switzerland
Moldova
Latvia
Luxembourg
GROUP THREE
Czech Republic
Poland
Northern Ireland
Slovakia
Slovenia
San Marino
GROUP FOUR
Germany
Russia
Finland
Wales
Azerbaijan
Liechtenstein
GROUP FIVE
Spain
Turkey
Belgium
Bosnia
Armenia
Estonia
GROUP SIX
Croatia
England
Ukraine
Belarus
Kazakhstan
Andorra
GROUP SEVEN
France
Romania
Serbia
LIthuania
Austria
Faeroe Islands
GROUP EIGHT
Italy
Bulgaria
Ireland
Cyprus
Georgia
Montenegro
GROUP NINE
Netherlands
Scotland
Norway
Macedonia
Iceland


By Steve Goff | November 25, 2007; 11:28 AM ET World
Previous: USA's Road to '10 Begins..... |

CommentsPlease email us to report offensive comments.

Croatia and England will meet again, what sort of hijinks will ensue?

Posted by: Tim | November 25, 2007 12:14 PM

oh I don't know, I think group 9 looks pretty tough to decide

Posted by: grumpy | November 25, 2007 12:28 PM

If Holland are in form they should win group nine. However, this group plays two less matches than the first eight. It makes the second place qualification for the play in a bit dicey.

Posted by: Orange 14 | November 25, 2007 12:43 PM

Denmark and Sweden are together, again. Too bad Denmark won't qualify this time either.

Posted by: Sarah | November 25, 2007 01:01 PM

Sweden and Portugal are the best pair in any group I'd say, but I think Groups 6 and 7 looks the harder in terms of trios of top teams. France, Romania and Serbia can all qualify, though France are still favorites. England's group is manageable but at the same time Ukraine is one of the better teams from the third pot, so England need to be very careful. How weak does Group 2 look compared to the rest.

Posted by: G-Dub | November 25, 2007 01:44 PM

"I think Group 5 is very strong. Estonia can upset, Turkey is strong, and Spain is the strongest in Europe. It is a shame that Israel, Greece or Switzerland are guarenteed a spot basically. Those teams are not deserving of it. "


Why the hate on the Swiss? They have a really nice young team. Even with their inexperience they topped their group and were unlucky to go out in Deutschland '06. They'll make some noise at home this summer, bank it. Spain is always talented out the nose... but so what...they still have the same number of Euro and WC trophies as the USA...

Posted by: Javier | November 26, 2007 5:51 AM | Report abuse

Javier, Ouch! Spain is talented out the wazoo, but I agree, they'll just break my heart... again! If McLeish stays, Scotland should qualify. Hopefully, England will crash out so we don't have to hear about '66 yet again, and again, and again.

Posted by: gallegoscot | November 26, 2007 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps it is time for the WC to expand to 48 teams. With so many talented teams in Europe, let alone the always-rising competition level of Asia, CONCACAF, and Africa, the men's tournament needs to break from its arcane qualification format. The US is lucky that CONCACAF is not so big, and thus can have a normal tournament to decide its qualifiers. Europe, however, would do well to break from this and develop a multi-tiered round-robin system, or even a Champions League-esque format. While $$$ guarantees my ideal would never occur, I would love to see a multi-tiered round-robin qualification system for the Euros, and then the Euro tournament itself would also be the qualification system by which nations booked their tickets to the World Cup. Wistful thinking, though, I know ;-)

Posted by: MtP | November 26, 2007 9:06 AM | Report abuse

MtP: 48 teams is too many for the World Cup. Most hosts have a hard enough time meeting the logistical requirements for 32 teams and their fans. Plus, the tournament itself would take forever.

Also, I happen to like the current UEFA system that separates Euro qualifying and WC qualifying. It gives every nation a new chance to qualify for each tournament every two years, and it keeps the national teams busy with competitive matches. International soccer is already in danger of losing the interest of players and fans, thanks to the brutal demands of the club calendar and the hostility of the wealthy club in the big Euro leagues. If the Europeans lose interest in national team competitions, then the whole game suffers (in my opinion).

Posted by: StatusQuo | November 26, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Toughest groups: One and Seven
Easiest groups: Two (by far) and Three

Somebody please tell my why Kazakhstan is in UEFA? Did they buy their way in? Unlike Turkey and Israel, their population base is nowhere near the rest of Europe. Who's next, Mongolia?

Posted by: SSMD | November 26, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Goff, group 1 looks to be the toughest. But I'd say, given that you really have to finish first in your group, there is no easy group. Greece should be the odds on favorite to be the first "top tier" team to qualify. However it is still a lot of pressure to have to finish first, given that it will only take one other decent team in your group to pressure you. Each group has at least one potential spoiler. England will have their work cut out for them against both Croatia and Ukraine. Should be interesting. Where can we watch these games?

Posted by: Matte | November 26, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

why are Sweden and Denmark always in the same group???????????? honestly

Posted by: NB | November 26, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Toughest groups are 1 and 5.
Does group 9 get a play-in 2nd place spot?

Greece should coast (zito e ellatha!)

Why would Kazakstan buy in to europe? They'd have a way better chance of qualifying from asia.

Posted by: wisc. ave | November 26, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

wisc.ave - Maybe Kazakhstan joined UEFA because they think they can improve their quality of play through regular games against the European teams? Maybe they'll receive more financial assistance from UEFA than they would from Asia? These factors might be bigger incentives than the theoretically easier chance of qualifying from Asia. Heck, the prestige alone of belonging to UEFA might be incentive enough.

My question is: why would UEFA want Kazakhstan? I don't see how it would benefit the Europeans to add a remote Central Asian country to their organization.

Posted by: SSMD | November 26, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Check out the Group 5 -- Turkey v. Armenia! Talk about politically charged games!

Posted by: edgeonyou | November 26, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Group 3 is very tough - Poland, Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Slovenia and Slovakia - all good teams.

I wonder how many people in the world were confused when Slovenia and Slovakia were put in the same group? millions is my guess, but they are NOT the same country, contrary to popular belief! :-)

Posted by: gmsyd | November 27, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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