World Cup: Who has qualified and who needs what in WCQ

27 November 2021 05:05:10 GMTPlus11
Roberto Mancini's Italy head to the play-offs.

The groups stages for World Cup qualifying in Europe have been completed, but while the likes of England and Spain can afford to relax, both of the past two European champions, Italy and Portugal, face tricky play-off tests.

The final stretch of qualifying fixtures take place during this current international break and there's plenty to play for as teams battle to book their trip to Qatar.

For any queries you have ahead of the World Cup, be sure to check out our All You Need to Know page.

Winning the group crucial

Each European qualifying group offers up one direct route through to next year's winter competition, with the section winners guaranteed a spot, while the 10 runners-up join two Nations League teams in the play-offs, where a further three berths are up for grabs.

England through in style

England ensured that they finish top of Group I by dishing out a 10-0 thrashing to San Marino, with skipper Harry Kane netting four times for a Three Lions outfit who are now priced at 7/1 to win the World Cup in Qatar.

Meanwhile, Scotland claimed a sixth straight win by defeating previously perfect Denmark 2-0 to secure a home tie in the first round of the play-offs.

Wales may not have won against world number-one ranked Belgium in their final qualifier, but their point was enough to seal a play-off spot behind the Red Devils, who had already taken top spot in Group E.

European champions left waiting

Joining Scotland and Wales in the play-offs will be the last two teams to win the European Championships - Portugal and Italy.

Portugal conceded a last-gasp winner at home to Serbia, with an Aleksandar Mitrovic goal enough to give the Serbs top spot in Group A and condemn the Selecao to the longer route to the finals.

The Azzurri, 12/1 to win the World Cup, will also tread that path, having been held to a goalless draw in Northern Ireland, a result which allowed Switzerland to secure the honours in Group C thanks to a 4-0 thumping of Bulgaria.

In fact, those two could meet in the playoffs, having been drawn on the same path, although the Italians will need to beat North Macedonia and the Selecao get the better of Turkey to secure a showdown.

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Spain and Croatia squeeze through

2010 World Cup winners Spain booked their passage by edging out Group B runners-up Sweden in their final qualifier, while late drama also saw 2018 finalists Croatia progress - as a late own goal earned them a crucial 1-0 victory at home to Russia.

La Roja are now available at 8/1 to win the World Cup late next year, with Germany - who had long since made sure that they topped Group J - priced at 10/1.

Dutch do enough

Another side who have qualified are The Netherlands, who benefitted from late goals by Steven Bergwijn and Memphis Depay to beat Norway 2-0 in their final Group G qualifier.

That allowed Turkey to seal the play-off spot ahead of the Norwegians, courtesy of their 2-1 victory in Montenegro.

Meanwhile, in Group D, reigning World Cup holders France - 6/1 to retain their title - had already wrapped up the pool before winning 2-0 in Finland, a result that allowed Ukraine to take second and seal a place in the play-offs.

Brazil book their place with ease

In South America, Brazil have had few problems making sure that they will be in Qatar next year, having won 11 and drawn one in their 12 qualifiers played to date.

Argentina, 10/1 to lift the World Cup for a third time, will join their illustrious neighbours at the finals, with Ecuador and Colombia currently holding the other two automatic qualifying spots.

However, Chile, Uruguay and Peru are also very much in the mix, with fifth place in CONMEBOL earning a play-off spot.

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