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UEFA World Cup qualifying permutations: Who needs what to qualify for Qatar?

:Headline: UEFA World Cup qualifying permutations: Who needs what to qualify for Qatar?:
Sports Mole takes a look at the permutations for the final round of UEFA World Cup 2022 Qualifying and who needs what to advance.
Sports Mole

Some have already had their fate sealed, some are still harbouring hopes of a first-ever World Cup appearance, and some are seeking to confirm an expected route to next year's tournament.

November will see the UEFA nations round off their World Cup 2022 Qualifying campaigns, with some of the continent's biggest names still yet to assure themselves of places in Qatar.

Germany and Denmark have already asserted their dominance in their groups to book their plane tickets to the 2022 World Cup, but what do their fellow European powerhouses need to do in the next week?

Here, Sports Mole takes a look at who needs what to qualify for Qatar.


ENGLAND

Still yet to be assured of a top-two finish after being held by Hungary last month, England face a home clash with Albania before rounding off their Qualifying campaign with a trip to San Marino next week.

The Three Lions lead the way at the top of the Group I rankings - three points above second-placed Poland and five clear of Albania - and victory over the latter on Friday will guarantee their top-two finish.

Poland will be expected to sweep aside Andorra, so England realistically need four points from their last two fixtures to assure themselves of top spot, but they should have no problem whatsoever in San Marino as Gareth Southgate seeks to avoid a slip-up against Albania.

Points needed: Four


WALES

Still in with an outside chance of a first-placed finish in Group E, Wales need nothing short of a miracle to advance as group winners and avoid a spot in the playoffs.

Robert Page's third-placed side are level on points with the Czech Republic with a game in hand, while they sit five points behind group leaders Belgium with two matches left to play.

Should Belgium overcome Estonia this weekend, Wales' fleeting hopes of top spot will be dashed, but anything else opens the door for the Dragons to take advantage ahead of their final-day meeting with Roberto Martinez's side.

Realistically, though, Wales must beat Belarus and Belgium and hope that the Red Devils suffer a shock defeat to Estonia this weekend, as the leaders' +17 goal difference compared to Wales' +1 is surely unassailable.

Points needed: Six


PORTUGAL

With group leaders Serbia not in action until they face the Selecao on the final day, Portugal will aim to reclaim top spot in Group A when they face the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on Thursday night.

Fernando Santos's side have taken 16 points from a possible 18 to sit second in the rankings, one point behind current leaders Serbia, who have played a game more than their Qatar rivals.

An expected victory over Ireland will see Portugal go two points clear at the top of the rankings, and Santos's side would then need just one point against Serbia in next week's top-of-the-table clash to guarantee first place.

Even if the Selecao were to play out two draws this month, their superior goal difference would be enough to send them through.

Points needed: Two


SPAIN

It has not exactly been plain sailing for Spain in Group B, with the 2010 world champions dropping points against Greece and Sweden to occupy second spot in the rankings.

Luis Enrique's side find themselves two points behind Sweden, who should get the job done in routine fashion against Georgia tonight, so Spain cannot afford to drop points in their battle with Greece.

It could therefore all come down to the final-day clash between Sweden and Spain in Seville, where no less than three points for La Roja may be required to pip the Scandinavian nation to top spot.

Should the unthinkable happen and Spain drop out of the top two, their Nations League ranking will hand them a lifeline for the playoffs.

Points needed: Six


ITALY

Reigning European champions Italy suffered two disappointing draws with Bulgaria and Switzerland back in September, and they are clinging onto first place in Group C by a thread.

Italy and second-placed Switzerland are level on 14 points and face off in a crunch clash at the Stadio Olimpico on Friday, so a win for either side would put them firmly in the driving seat before the final matchday.

Four points from their final two matches is guaranteed to do the trick for the Euro 2020 winners, with Roberto Mancini's side expected to beat Northern Ireland on the final matchday, where Switzerland will also eye a routine win over Bulgaria.

Points needed: Four


FRANCE

Fresh from claiming another piece of silverware in the form of the Nations League, France return to World Cup Qualifying action boasting a three-point advantage at the top of Group D.

Second-placed Ukraine have played a game more than Les Bleus, so if Didier Deschamps's side claim an expected win during Saturday's meeting with Kazakhstan, they will progress as group winners.

A point would also suffice if Finland and Bosnia-Herzegovina play out a draw in their clash, with Les Bleus set to face the former on the final matchday.

It is still possible for France to suffer a calamitous collapse and drop out of the top two - unlikely as it may be - but their Nations League triumph at least guarantees them a spot in the playoffs either way.

Points needed: Three


BELGIUM

Group E leaders Belgium saw another shot at a trophy in the Nations League go begging, but they have taken 16 points from a possible 18 to sit at the summit - five above the Czech Republic, who only have one game remaining.

Wales also sit five points behind and are the only side capable of pipping the Red Devils to top spot now, but a win for Belgium over Estonia on Saturday will guarantee their first-placed finish.

Should the Red Devils be held to a surprise point or suffer a dampening defeat against Estonia, they would simply need to avoid losing against Wales on the final day, assuming that Robert Page's side overcome Belarus this weekend.

Points needed: Two


NETHERLANDS

With a whopping 29 goals scored across their eight Qualifying games so far, the Netherlands unsurprisingly occupy first place in Group G before they round off their campaign with clashes against Norway and Montenegro.

Louis van Gaal's side are only two points clear of second-placed Norway and four ahead of Turkey, so they are yet to even assure themselves of a top-two finish, but victory over Montenegro would do just that.

Should Norway get the better of already-eliminated Latvia, the Dutch would need just a point in their meeting with the Nordic nation next week, with four from six enough to see them return to the big stage.

Points needed: Four


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