The World Cup in Brazil is just one step away fro eight European teams but only four can qualify fom the World Cup qualification play-off, read our predictions on who will be in Brazil next summer.
Vibrant, passionate and hot; three words to sum up what the World Cup in Brazil promises to be next year. Twenty-one teams have secured positions in next year’s tournament which means there are eleven places still to play for.
The European region will snap up four of these places and the teams in contention to still book their places are Portugal, Sweden, France, Ukraine, Greece, Romania, Iceland and Croatia.
The contests’ will be played over two legged match similar to that of the UEFA Champions League knock-out stages with the matches taking place on 15th and 19th Novermber 2013.
The Portuguese are odds on to win this playoff over the two legs and secure their ticket to Brazil, However. Sweden won’t roll over easily with Zlatan Ibrahimovic always a big threat as England saw last year when he scored four past Joe Hart in Stockholm and the Swede also impressed at Euro 2012.
Whatever happens, the two games will be built up like a boxing match around the figures of Cristiano Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic with one of them set to miss out on a trip to South America come June 2014.
My prediction would see Portugal run out winners over the two legs with the score on aggregate being: 3-2.
Similar to the Portugal and Sweden game, this play-off will be tight with the French being the obvious favourite.
If France play to their full potential they should breeze pass Ukraine. Although, Ukraine have a great team spirit and are difficult to beat in Kiev as shown by England’s recent 0-0 draw in the Ukrainian capital.
My prediction would see France win over the two legs, however it’s a difficult one to call and you can’t rule out Ukraine until they are beaten: 4-2.
Both of these teams will be delighted with the draw of the play-offs, this is by far the tightest game of all.
Greece have a habit of making it to major tournaments despite not having a famously good national side. Winning Euro 2004 is still in a lot of people’s minds so many will fancy the Greeks over the Romanians.
My prediction would be to see Greece in Brazil next summer, but the two legs will either be free scoring or extremely tight: 2-1.
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Iceland will be delighted to be in contention to secure a spot in Brazil but given the group they were in they would have been expected to reach this stage by the Icelandic faithful.
Croatia finished second to Belgium who are on the rise and at a rate of knots.
I can’t see Iceland causing Croatia to many problems. However, Icelandic confidence may be in full swing and we could see a shock.
My prediction will see Croatia winning the playoff over the two legs and boarding the plane to Brazil next summer: 3-0
My predictions show that Croatia, France Portugal and Greece will be on their way to the World Cup next summer. Do you agree?
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By Harry Cardno