WC Qualifying from Wednesday analysis: Big winners, big losers

WC Qualifying from Wednesday analysis: Big winners, big losers

Post by Beldi » Fri, 02 May 1997 04:00:00


First, the big winners group:
1) Croatia- Big road win at Greece, goes from almost certain elimination
to right back in the thick of the fight for Europe Group 1
2) Finland- It was only a draw, but they are the first side to score on
Norway, and pulled it off on the road.  Coming off their first win at
Azerbaijan, the Finns now may be a side to be reckoned with in Group 3
3) Slovakia- Yeah, they didn't play, but the two sides in front of them
in Group 6 drew, and now the Slovaks have two games in hand on both of
them.  (Unfortunately for Slovakia, all of their remaining matches are
against the Czechs, the Spanish, or the Yugoslavs.  No Faroe Islands or
Malta to tune up on.)
4) Belgium- Huge road win at Turkey, pretty much guarantees that they
will be playing after 11 October (it may only be an elimination round,
though, if they can't find a way to beat the Dutch)
5) Lithuania- It was a win over lowly Liechtenstein, but coupled with
Ireland's loss, it put the Lithuanians right back in contention in Group
8.  (More important for them is the fact that they don't play Romania
again, while the team in front of them, Macedonia, has to go there.)
6) Germany- A win at home over Ukraine lets them leapfrog Portugal into
second and get a clear shot at Ukraine, with one game in hand and
nothing in the loss column (along with the last three matches at home)
7) Peru- Huge road win at Colombia pulls Peru up from certain eighth
place to a tie for fourth

The big losers:
1) Greece- May be biggest loser of all.  Went from being in a fight with
Denmark for the top spot in Group 1 to now fighting to stay alive.  Only
two matches left, while the Croats are only one point back with a game
in hand (which, incidentally, is against Bosnia)
2) Poland- Frankly, they need wins to keep up with England.  They didn't
get one, or a draw for that matter.  Their chances now ride completely
on the match on 31 May at home vs. England.  If they don't win, and get
some help from Italy in October, they're out.  And they must avoid the
big slip-up against either Georgia or Moldova
3) Turkey- Could not follow up a home win over the Dutch with a home win
over Belgium.  Now they have to hope the Belgians slip up, and that they
can get some points in the Netherlands
4) Ireland- Irish needed some points out of Romania; they didn't get
them.  Now they find themselves in fourth, and needing every match up to
and including the finisher at home vs. Romania
5) Ukraine- Still in first, but not by much.  I had predicted that they
would need 18 points by the end of June to hold the Germans off.  Well,
three just went out the window.  Next up for them is Armenia, a side
that already has 4 draws.  Another one, and Ukraine may see first place
go the way of the passenger pigeon.
6) Colombia- Three straight losses in qualifying, including home losses
to Argentina and Peru.  The side that had climbed into the Top 10 in
FIFA rankings and seemed guaranteed a berth in France now finds itself
six points out of first and only one point ahead of Argentina.  That
last match between the two in Buenos Aires might actually mean something
now.

Beldin

 
 
 

WC Qualifying from Wednesday analysis: Big winners, big losers

Post by Manny Freit » Fri, 02 May 1997 04:00:00

: 6) Germany- A win at home over Ukraine lets them leapfrog Portugal into
: second and get a clear shot at Ukraine, with one game in hand and
: nothing in the loss column (along with the last three matches at home)

: The big losers:
: 5) Ukraine- Still in first, but not by much.  I had predicted that they
: would need 18 points by the end of June to hold the Germans off.  Well,
: three just went out the window.  Next up for them is Armenia, a side
: that already has 4 draws.  Another one, and Ukraine may see first place
: go the way of the passenger pigeon.

Portugal is pretty much out of the WC unless one of these teams make
a mistake, especially Ukraine. A draw from Ukraine from now on would
force them to having to beat Germany if they want to be sure of at least
getting a shot at the WC. But then again Portugal has made way too many
mistakes already, nothing guaranties me that they won't do them again.

        - Manuel.

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