Secret Nations League path: European MPs at the Desert World Cup

Secret Nations League path
European MP at the Desert World Cup

By Stephan Uersfeld

The paths to the controversial World Cup in Qatar can be short and clear, but they can also be tortuous, via the secret paths of the UEFA Nations League. Hansi Flick can book the ticket with Germany today and other nations too. Who will be there? And will the Netherlands really miss the World Cup?

On the third to last game day of the World Cup qualification, the first European teams can book their tickets to the controversial desert World Cup in Qatar. After a good run under Hansi Flick, Germany could even get an early bird discount with Qatar Airways. Not only does the revenge against North Macedonia have to succeed (8:45 p.m. on RTL and in the live ticker on ntv.de), but something can also happen in the parallel game. So the decisions are getting closer: Time for an overview. Which nations represent Europe at the world tournament and who can qualify indirectly? These can be incredibly complicated. So Wales can plan firmly with the playoffs as the third party in the group, although actually only the second in the group are allowed to participate.

How come? The Nations League! Thomas Müller would not have thought of it, and probably neither would you. But that’s what we’re here for. Because the ten runners-up are joined by the two best group winners of the 2020/2021 UEFA Nations League. These are in descending order: France, Belgium, Italy and Spain, which won the groups in League A and are all on the way to the World Cup or at least will conquer second place. Therefore, you tend to remember these teams: Wales, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Montenegro, Albania, Armenia, the Faroe Islands and Gibraltar. Although: You can probably stop at the Czech Republic. Why, you ask yourself. Then read on here:

FLICK’S DREAM OF QATAR

The German team leads group J (six teams) after seven out of ten match days with 18 points ahead of North Macedonia, Armenia (12 each) and Romania (10). With the revenge against North Macedonia, national coach Hansi Flick and his team could prematurely buy the ticket for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar if the Armenians do not win in Romania at the same time. Only the first in the group qualifies directly for the World Cup finals. In November, the DFB team is still playing against the bottom of the table, Liechtenstein, and in Armenia. The ntv.de tip: 1. Germany 2. Romania

GROUP A – SERBIA VS RONALDO

In group A (five teams) there is a duel between Serbia (14 points) and Portugal (13 points). The CR7 team is currently one point behind Serbia in the table, but still has one more game to play. On the last day of the group, on November 14th at the Estadio Jose Alvalade in Lisbon, there could be a showdown for the group victory between the two undefeated teams. Luxembourg, Ireland and Azerbaijan no longer play a role. The ntv.de tip: 1. Portugal 2. Serbia

GROUP B – SWEDEN VS SPAIN

Greece and Georgia are the next opponents of the Swedes, who are second in Group B (five teams) with twelve points. The team around Bundesliga star Emil Forsberg is still missing two wins to make the last game against Spain the group final. As winners of a Nations League group, they could even allow themselves two defeats in the remaining games against Greece and Sweden and still reach the playoffs. However, they want to go straight to Qatar. Only victories help Greece. In the event of a defeat in Sweden, the World Cup train for the 2004 European Championship winner left. Kosovo and Georgia are scrambling for last place. The ntv.de tip: 1. Sweden 2. Spain

GROUP C – EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP STILL HAVE TO SHAKE

After two draws in a row, the Swiss scored an important sign of life with a 2-0 win against Northern Ireland in Group C (five teams). With three wins and two draws they are chasing European champions Italy, who lead the table with 14 points from six games. The Alpenkicker now have to win at the bottom of the table, Lithuania. If they succeed, they can steal the championship lead from Italy and book a flight to Qatar in the last game against Bulgaria. However, Italy’s direct qualification seems more realistic, although after the Nations League defeat against Spain they are no longer considered invincible. Northern Ireland will not make it to the World Cup. The ntv.de tip: 1. Italy 2. Switzerland

GROUP D – REMIS KINGS UKRAINE

Nations League winners France do not even have a particularly good qualification in Group D (five teams). They have already had three draws, but are doing very well with 12 points from six games. In the group of ties, Ukraine has so far risen to become one of the draw kings. Their 2-1 win in Finland was their first win after five draws, two of them against Kazakhstan and France in a row. Of course, that’s not enough for direct qualification. Against Bosnia-Herzegovina (six points) cannot be lost on Tuesday, otherwise the playoffs may also be missed. With one game less, the Bosnians, but also the Finns with their meager five points from five games, still have a chance of winning a World Cup ticket through the playoffs. The ntv.de tip: 1. France 2. Finland

GROUP E – BELGIUM BY, REST NO MATTER

Belgium, the eternal title contender at all tournaments, is about to qualify for Qatar. With 16 points from six games, they lead group E (five teams) alone. Behind them the Czech Republic and Wales try each other. Both teams are eight points but Wales have one game less. That means: If Gareth Bale’s team does not succeed in today’s game in Estonia (four points, beaten), Belgium is qualified for Qatar, Wales and the Czech Republic play the playoffs. You are covered by the Nations League. The ntv.de tip: 1. Belgium 2. Czech Republic

GROUP F – BRAVEHEARTS ADVANTAGE

Seven games, seven wins – plus a goal difference of 26: 0: No team marches through the qualification like Denmark, which in Group F (six teams) have outstripped all other teams. You can turn your match ball against Austria on Tuesday and buy your ticket. The Alpenkicker, on the other hand, are plagued by worries. Coach Franco Foda is about to end, the playoffs can hardly be reached with only ten points from seven games. Scotland’s last minute win against Israel has put the Bravehearts in an excellent position. With 14 points and the upcoming games in the Faroe Islands (four points) and the Republic of Moldova (one point), they could secure second place before the group final against Denmark. Israel (ten points), like Austria, must hope for a slip and not fail. Austria will get another chance anyway via the Nations League. Only if Austria finishes second can the teams from Hungary still hope. The ntv.de tip 1. Denmark 2. Scotland

GROUP G – KUNTZ HAS TO FIGHT

Group G (six teams) is very exciting. Four teams still have realistic chances of qualifying for Qatar. Right at the front: The Dutch with 16 points and by far the best goal difference. Haaland’s Norway (14 points, plus 7 goals), Turkey (12 points, plus 3 goals) and Montengro (11 points, plus 2 goals) lurk behind them. A first preliminary decision can be made today. If Norway wins against Montenegro (and the Netherlands against Gibraltar, probably a tight box) there are still three candidates left. Stefan Kuntz cannot afford to slip up with Turkey and has to hope for a defeat for the Norwegians on the last day of the match. It’s up against the Netherlands, who still have to prove themselves in Montenegro and could miss the World Cup with two defeats in the last two games – albeit very unlikely. The ntv.de tip: 1. Netherlands 2. Turkey

GROUP H – RUSSIA OR CROATIA

In Group H (six teams) everything boils down to an insane final between Russia and the reigning vice world champion Croatia. Both teams have collected 16 points each in their seven games so far, enough ahead of today’s opponent Slovenia (ten points) and Croatia’s opponent Slovakia (nine points), both of whom could only get back into the race with one win. However, the big final between Croatia and Russia on the last day of the game seems more realistic. The southern Europeans defied Russia one point away and enjoyed home rights on November 14, 2021. The ntv.de tip: 1. Croatia 2. Russia

GROUP I – FINAL IN TIRANA

Vice European Champion England walks through Group I (six teams). With six wins and only one draw, the Three Lions can open the door to Qatar wide open today. With a win against Hungary and a draw in the parallel game between Albania (15 points) and Poland (14 points), they could only theoretically be pushed off the top of the table. The kick in Tirana, however, has a completely different, central meaning: With a success against Poland, the Balkan team could end Robert Lewandowski’s dreams of a last World Cup participation early on. But Albania also needs the three points, because on November 12th she will go to England and there will be nothing for her to inherit. For the now three games Lewandowski and his Poles are still against Andorra and Hungary. The ntv.de tip: 1. England 2. Poland

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