European World Cup Qualification Round Up – The Winners

Following another night of enthralling qualification action across Europe on Friday, we outline who moved a step further to qualification.


Seemingly locked in a battle to the wire with Croatia, the Belgium’s were done a huge favour by Scotland on Friday night who picked up a shock win in Zagreb. Prior to kick off Croatia might have even been made slight favourites given they still had to host their rivals, however Robert Snodgrass’ goal coupled with Belgium seeing off Serbia means the Croats now sit three points adrift with just three to play.


The Ukrainians like Poland were approaching the last chance saloon of getting themselves into the Group H mix, whilst the Poles hopes were hugely dented following a draw in Moldova Ukraine picked up a stunning win at group leaders Montenegro that has thrown the group wide open. The 4-0 thumping puts the Ukraine within three points of their previously unbeaten rivals – with two of their remaining games against whipping boys San Marino and a potentially pivotal home clash against England also on the agenda they look dangerously set to upstage the early pace setters.


Having been the nearly men of European football in recent times this might just be the moment for Bosnia to finally make their major tournament bow. Having been eventually dealt one of the more straight forward groups, Fridays thumping win in Latvia ensures that they remain six points clear of second placed Greece with a vastly superior goal difference – albeit having played a game more. With four fixtures remaining that should not represent anything to be afraid of Bosnia look set to finally finish a qualification with a feeling of elation rather than the despair of falling short like they have done in recent times.


For Austria their home game with Sweden represented a make or break moment in their campaign, given that defeat would have left them three points behind the Swedes having played a game more in the battle for second. The Austrians though rose to the occasion and through goals from David Alaba and Marc Janko picked up a pivotal 2-1 victory that keeps them in that coveted second spot ahead of the Swedes and Republic of Ireland. The upcoming fixture list looks tough with trips to Germany and Sweden up next, that said this win gives them at least a chance of qualifying for a major tournament for the first time since 1998.


They might not have played on Friday night but there was reason for celebration for group leaders Switzerland given that both Albania and Iceland failed to move ahead of them. for 87 minutes it had appeared the Albanians would take what has already been an impressive campaign to new table topping levels, however that party was spoilt by a late Norway equaliser. This left the Swiss still a point clear at the top with games in hand on all their rivals and an opportunity on Saturday to move further towards Brazil with a win over Cyprus in Basel, something which they duly delivered.


So poor had Portugal’s campaign thus far been that they were looking in danger of not even making a play off never mind clinching an automatic birth, therefore making their home clash with leaders Russia a must win. Helder Postiga’s goal ensured they achieved the desired result and in the process took them into top spot – although having played two games more than Fabio Capello’s men. Russia still look clear favourites to qualify outright given a straight forward run in, Portugal will just be pleased to have got themselves back on track if nothing else.