I’ve just crunched the numbers regarding Group H of the UEFA section of 2014 World Cup qualification.
For England fans such as myself it doesn’t look great but we can still make it to Brazil.
With 11 fixtures in the group remaining the table looks like this:
- Montenegro (14pts from 7 games).
- England (12pts from 6 games).
- Ukraine (11pts from 6 games).
- Poland (9pts from 6 games).
- Moldova (5pts from 7 games). Cannot qualify automatically.
- San Marino (0pts from 6 games). Cannot qualify.
Despite sitting in third Ukraine are my pick to win the group for two reasons.
Firstly, they have not played San Marino at all yet, which means they are simply waiting for those six points to be added to their total – I mean no disrespect to San Marino but that’s just the way it is.
Secondly, they drew at Wembley last September and I believe they will beat a depleted England in Kiev on Tuesday. That’s at least three more points than I thought they’d get when the draw was made.
There are three games in this group tomorrow: Ukraine vs. San Marino, Poland vs. Montenegro and England vs. Moldova.
I predict victories for: Ukraine and England while the Poland-Montenegro game will be a draw.
Next Tuesday’s fixtures are: Ukraine vs. England and San Marino vs. Poland.
As I mentioned earlier I think Ukraine will win while Poland will beat San Marino.
The penultimate round of fixtures takes place on Friday 11 October: Moldova vs. San Marino, Ukraine vs. Poland and England vs. Montenegro.
I foresee victories for all three home teams.
Tuesday 15 October sees the final three ties: England vs. Poland, San Marino vs. Ukraine and Montenegro vs. Moldova.
England, Ukraine and Montenegro will win, meaning the final group table will look like this:
- Ukraine (23pts) Automatic Qualification.
- England (21pts). Possible Play-Off contender.
- Montenegro (18pts).
- Poland (13pts).
- Moldova (8pts).
- San Marino (0pts).
England will have to be one of the eight best second-placed sides to make it into the UEFA Play-Offs. Remember, results against the sixth-placed side in Groups A-H don’t count because Group I only has five teams.
If qualification in Europe ceased now, then England would be the ninth best second-placed team and fail to make the Play-Offs.
Should England reach the Play-Offs we may be drawn in a two-legged tie against the likes of: Greece, Russia, France, Croatia, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Albania, Czech Republic, Denmark, Sweden, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Turkey, Iceland, Norway, Israel or Slovakia.
What I’m getting at here is, don’t be surprised if we have to suffer a Play-Off to reach the World Cup…or even failure to qualify at all.
However, if I’m wrong about Ukraine vs. England i: e England get a result, then England will win the group if I’m correct (with a certain amount of give) about the other ten games.