Home > Euro 2008, fixtures, Football, Preview > The State of the Euro 2008 Qualifying Groups: (part six, roughly)

The State of the Euro 2008 Qualifying Groups: (part six, roughly)

**For the guide to the state of play in groups A-G…..read on!!**

                        Much has happened in the last few days, or Saturday to be precise, and here is how the European qualifying groups stand with just two/three games to go till the identities of all 16 teams are known.

Group A: A good day for Portugal. A 2-0 win in Azerbaijan plus the fact that Finland and Serbia could only manage 0-0 draws, means Portugal are back in a strong position to qualify with home games against Armenia and Finland after Wednesday’s trip to Kazakhstan. Poland are still out in front by four points, though they have played a game more than Portugal who are on 20 and Serbia, who are on 17 but still have to play Poland at home, a potential banana skin for the Poles.

Group B: Italy? France? Forget about it. Scotland still lead the way after a 3-1 win over Ukraine who themselves needed to win to stay in the hunt for qualification. James McFadden was the star of the show again and should Scotland beat Georgia on Wednesday it will more than likely come down to the Scot’s final match of the group V Italy, to decide who goes through, barring any major upsets, though Ukraine play France three days later at home and could spring a surprise. Don’t hold your breath though. This will either be a momentous moment for Scotland or agonising heartbreak. Then again they might go and f*** it up on Wednesday….

Group C: Another interesting group sees Greece four points in front of Turkey and a further point in front of Norway having all played the same number of games. However, this one is far from being settled. Greece must visit Turkey next before Turkey visit Norway three days later. Greece also face a tricky trip to Hungary last of all, while Turkey and Norway have more straightforward games to go. This one could go anyway at all, the smart money might be on Norway to surprise everyone. Greece got trounced at home to Turkey 4-1 though, so revenge and a vital step towards qualification may be on the cards. Watch this space.

Group D: Germany are the first team through to next year’s tournament, joining joint-hosts Austria and Switzerland. Czech Republic will take second place. Ireland are out. Wales are closer to San Marino than Slovakia in the group. Take your pick as to which is more depressing. Congrats to the Germans who will be licking their lips, especially as the likes of Italy, Holland, England and Portugal are currently all struggling. Thefc100 is contemplating a flutter on them to win the whole thing for the second time in twelve years. Congrats too to the Czechs who lost a few key players for this qualification campaign but still make it through, though we’d like to see a rematch with Holland in the play-offs (I think we all remember the 4-3 in 2004?). Ireland? Better performance and some promising signs to be fair. Then again some not so promising signs too. Let’s see is the best we can do (although it would be nice if Robbie Keane could ping them in from everywhere when given the opportunity like he does for Spurs). Wales? Apologies. Toshack has been an utter disaster. I am open to criticism but I also believe that Wales’ campaign has been beset by problems from day1 under Toshack. However as with many other nations, it might be too expensive to get rid of him…..

Group E: It’s getting interesting. A formality of a 3-0 win on Saturday is over for England. Russia may well prove their downfall. While English media and supporters are rightly happier these days, the fact remains, should Russia beat England, they will qualify in their place once they have beaten Israel and Andorra. True, Israel can be a tricky game. However Israel will have nothing to play for by then, and the chance to qualify will spur Russia on to victory. England may be grateful for a draw come Wednesday night, and a play-off place, especially when Guus Hiddink talks about going out with purpose and to attack. He doesn’t talk shite Hiddink, and with all the talk of a plastic pitch (Owen will go off injured at some point) England cannot afford to be complacent. Meanwhile Croatia march on thanks to Eduardo’s winner over Israel on Saturday. A win for Russia on Wednesday and Croatia need only beat Macedonia to wrap up the group before the showdown with England.

Group F: Had Northern Ireland beaten Iceland and Latvia last month, games they should have been aiming to win, they would sit joint top. As it is, they are all but eliminated. Spain’s impressive 3-1 win in Denmark (behind closed doors due to the fan Vs referee incident against Sweden) leaves them in a much better position with home games against Sweden and Northern Ireland to come in November. However Sweden, level on points with Spain, have a game in hand and home games against Northern Ireland on Wednesday, and Latvia next month, will see them through.

Group G: The Netherlands defeat to Romania on Saturday raised eyebrows, but in truth they should still qualify from the group with home games against Slovenia and Luxembourg to come, plus an away trip to minnows Belarus. Third placed Bulgaria still have a home game with Romania but other than that it’s hard to see where else the top two might drop points. Romania and the Netherlands remain firmly in pole position…..

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