The final match days for the UEFA, CONCACAF and CONMEBOL teams is approaching, and we take a look at all the possible qualification scenarios for the remaining teams in contention for the final ticket in Brazil.
In Europe, it’s mostly about getting into second place, as five teams have already clinched first place. In South America, two teams have already qualified, and three more are either in automatically or need to go through the playoffs against Jordan. In North/Central America, two teams are already in for sure, a thirds either joining them or going through a playoffs with New Zealand, while two others are in limbo.
The Asian qualifiers are over already, with four teams making it into the World Cup, and Jordan awaiting Uruguay, Chile or Ecuador. New Zealand are the Oceania champions, waiting for the North American team, while in Africa the qualifiers will be determined by five playoff two-leg encounters.
Group B – Italy are clear with 21 points, but three teams are battling for second place, while the Czech Republic, with 12 points and one match left against Bulgaria, won’t be able to qualify from second place because of their poor record against anyone who isn’t Malta.
Bulgaria qualify only if they beat the Czech Republic while Turkey lose to the Netherlands, but Bulgaria also need a goal difference swing in their favor. Denmark, also with 13 points, need to beat Malta and for Bulgaria to lose or draw, while also needing Turkey to lose. Armenia, with 12 points and facing Italy, need to win and hope Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Denmark don’t. Turkey isn’t the only side from their group who can finish second, but in any case, both Bulgaria and Denmark need some things to happen in that group in terms of points and goal difference in order to come out of last place among second place teams.
Group D – The Netherlands are in the clear, but Turkey, Romania and Hungary still have a shot at second place. Turkey have 16 points, Romania have 16 points and Hungary have 14.
Turkey can lose to the Netherlands and still make it into the World Cup if Romania lose as well (hosting Estonia) while Hungary don’t win their match against Andorra. They’ll also need to hope no one from Group B takes them in the second-place standings. Romania need a point more than Turkey, which means winning and hoping Turkey don’t. Romania have 10 second-place points, which means a win over Estonia will be enough to make sure they don’t finish last. Hungary have to win and for both Romania and Turkey to lose.
Group E – Only Slovenia and Iceland left in the race for second place, while Switzerland have already made sure they’ll be in Brazil.
Iceland are currently second with 16 points, but they have to face Norway on the final group match. A win will put them in the playoffs, no need of outside assistance. A draw and they’ll need Slovenia to not win in Switzerland, and a loss will means they need to hope Switzerland beats Slovenia. Iceland currenlty have 13 second-place points; Slovenia have 9.
Group F – There is a mathematical chance for Portugal to make it out of the group on top, but they’re 3 points behind Russia and 7 goals behind on the goal difference. They do play Luxembourg on the final matchday, but Russia’s only remaining match is in Azerbaijan, something they won’t lose in.
Group G – It’s either Bosnia and Greece who will finish first, the other going to the playoffs. Bosnia have the edge through goal difference with a +23, meaning that unless something quite remarkable happens (Bosnia play in Lithuania, Greece play at home against Liechtenstein), Bosnia will be in the World Cup for the first time, while Greece go to the playoffs.
Group H – England right now are on top with 19 points, followed by Ukraine with 18 and Montenegro with 15, still having a chance to finish in second place although a tiny one.
All England need to do is beat Poland, who are out of the race, on the final match, held at Wembley. Ukraine play San Marion, which almost means 3 automatic points, so England can’t afford to draw or lose, because the Ukraine will win their match. Montenegro need some goal difference help, but that won’t happen, being 12 goals behind Ukraine.
Group I – It’s all about Spain and France, as expected. Spain are in the lead with 17 points, France are second with 14. The only way France finish above Spain is for the Spanish team to lose at home to Georgia, while France beat Finland at home. Only the latter is likely to happen.
South America – The only thing left to determine is which teams goes to the playoffs against Jordan and what other two sides join Argentina and Colombia.
Right now, Ecuador with 25 points and a +5 goal difference are third, followed by Chile with 25 points and a +3, are going to Brazil. Uruguay, fifth with 22 points and a -1 goal difference are going to the playoffs. The only way this changes is for Uruguay to beat Argentina on the last day, while for either Chile or Ecuador, playing each other in Santiago, to lose badly enough to help Uruguay also make it through thanks to goal difference.
North/Central America – The United States and Costa Rica have already made it in, but there’s the question about Honduras (automatic or playoff), Mexico (in or out) and Panama (in or out).
Honduras are third with 14 points, playing away against last-place Jamaica, a team without a win in the final qualifying group. Unless they lose, they’re in the World Cup automatically. Mexico need only one point on their trip to Costa Rica in order to make sure they’ll at least make the playoffs, while a win and a Honduras loss will put them in Brazil without a need for a playoff. A loss, and Panama beating the United States will leave Mexico out of the World Cup for the first time since 1990.’