There are a few other articles floating around on the Q about how World Cup qualifying works, so I thought I’d write something up about the 2nd phase of the Europe qualifying process. For those who don’t know how it works, Europe gets 13 of the 32 spots in the World Cup. The nations of Europe are divided into 9 groups. The 9 teams that win those groups get 9 of the 13 Europe spots in the World Cup. The 8 best teams that finished in 2nd place in their group go into a playoff to determine who gets the final 4 of Europe’s 13 spots. Clear as mud?
Well, here is who has qualified for the World Cup so far from Europe:
The countries that finished in 2nd place in their group are now in a playoff to determine the final 4 Europe teams:
· France vs Ireland
· Portugal vs Bosina/Herzgovina
· Russia vs Slovenia
· Greece vs Ukraine
The teams will play a home and away series and the team that scores the most goals in those two games advances to the World Cup. For example, let’s say that Ireland comes to France and France wins 3-0. Then in the 2nd game France goes to Ireland and loses 1-0. France would advance to the World Cup because they would win with an overall score of 3-1.
Don’t ask what happens if the two teams tie unless you want a real headache.
The games begin on 11/14 and the final games will be played on 11/18.
So, any predictions? Or any favorites that you want to see qualify for the World Cup?
There are some big names here that might not qualify. France is a previous world champion, Portugal, Russia and Greece have all been pretty good in recent years. I think Ukraine has the best shot at getting an upset, but I suspect France, Portugal and Russia will all win their matches easily.