Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughEuropean World Cup Qualification – 4 Things to look out for - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough European World Cup Qualification – 4 Things to look out for - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

European World Cup Qualification – 4 Things to look out for

With England stealing the majority of press coverage as we approach the crunch in European qualification, we look at some of the other key talking points of this final round of group games.

Bosnia on the verge of major tournament debut?

After several near misses in recent times, ending with playoff defeats to Portugal, Bosnia look in prime position to finally make their World Cup bow.

Having slipped up at home to Slovakia in the last round of games it seemed they could be breaking but they showed tremendous resolve to then go and win in Bratislava – leaving them now needing wins over Liechtenstein and Lithuania to make history. Greece who in typically uninspiring fashion are ready to pounce on any potential errors, despite having scored just 9 goals in their 8 games.

The trip to Lithuania looks to be the banana skin for Bosnia and given what is at stake it is not out of the question that they will stumble, but with the current golden generation they currently possess you have to hope that they do finally take their chance and grace the world stage – after all these opportunities won’t come around too often.

Sweden or bust for Austria

Germany might have wrapped up Group B but the battle for the playoff spot remains alive and kicking – between an inconsistent Sweden and surprise packages Austria.

The sides meet in Sweden on Friday night, with Austria needing to at least avoid defeat to keep their hopes of progress alive – a win would take them above the Swedes and put things back in their hands where as a draw would leave them relying on Germany to then win in Sweden.

After a stuttered start Sweden come into the contest off the back of three successive wins, although two of those have come against relative minnows. Austria are undoubtedly underdogs, yet they managed to claim victory in the reverse fixture and with David Alaba in the form of his life and playing in an advanced role they might yet drag the group out to the final fixture.

Three vying for one in Group D

Another group where the playoff slot remains up for grabs is Group D, where Romania, Turkey and Hungary are set to fight it for a shot at a do or die fixture in November.

The Hungarians currently occupy the prized spot, although a trip to Holland on Friday night means they look outsiders at this point even if they are likely to see of Andorra in the final game – should they still finish second with just three more points there is a real danger that they could be the unlucky second placers to not have a date for the play-offs.

Romania look have the most favourable run in, with a trip to Andorra and a home tie with Estonia likely to yield six points and lift them into second, providing Turkey don’t beat the Netherlands. The Turks turned to old hand Fatih Terim with just four games to go and their qualification hopes looking all but over – yet having as expected seen off Estonia he then guided Turkey to a shock win in Romania. That took them above their opponents on goal difference, meaning that two wins should be enough.

Turkey will be the underdogs for that final game but Istanbul can be a hostile and difficult place to visit at any time, let alone in such a pivotal clash and an already qualified Dutch might just not fancy it. Further to that history has told us that Terim has the ability to conjure up great stories and this could be yet another chapter.

Croatia look to make Belgium sweat

The fastest growing powers of International football Belgium face their biggest test yet as they visit Croatia on Friday, knowing that just a point would secure their first major championship qualification since 2002.

The Croat’s could make life tense for Belgium with a win, a result that would leave them needing to beat Wales to qualify – hardly an unlikely event but given the pressure of being on the brink strange things could happen.

In Belgium’s favour is that Croatia aren’t proving the force of recent times, having lost to lowly Scotland in their most recent home contest – with all their supreme talent they look likely to take the point they need book their place as everyone’s dark horses for Brazil.