Sport Soccer

Saturday 25 November 2017

Road to Rio - Jamie Holland's European group predictions

England manager Roy Hodgson
England manager Roy Hodgson

Press Association

GROUP A: Croatia, reeling from their home loss to Scotland in June, trail leaders Belgium by three points. The group is likely to be decided when Belgium travel to Croatia next month.

Winners: Belgium. Play-offs: Croatia.

GROUP B: Italy lead second-placed Bulgaria by four points with the Czech Republic a further point back. A pivotal week awaits, with the Bulgarians going to Italy tonight and the Czechs following four days later. Bulgaria and the Czechs face a possible decider in Sofia next month.

Winners: Italy. Play-offs: Czech Republic.

GROUP C: Germany have one foot in the finals after five wins and a draw; Austria, Sweden and Ireland are locked together on 11 points in the battle for second place.

Winners: Germany. Play-offs: Sweden.

GROUP D: Holland are almost home and dry with a perfect record after six games. Hungary sit second one point ahead of Romania, who finish against Andorra and Estonia.

Winners: Holland. Play-offs: Romania.

GROUP E: Strangely, Albania currently sit in the lofty heights of second place, four points behind Switzerland and one ahead of Iceland, with Norway a further point behind. Norway, with three home games from their remaining four, will fancy their chances.

Winners: Switzerland. Play-offs: Norway.

GROUP F: Portugal lead by two points from Russia having played a game more. However, it is hard to see the Russians slipping up; they face a pair of home games against Luxembourg and Israel, before finishing at Luxembourg and Azerbaijan.

Winners: Russia. Play-offs: Portugal.

GROUP G: With five wins and one draw, Bosnia sit three points clear of Greece. The two leading sides have already met twice, so Greece's best hopes probably rest on Bosnia's trip to third-placed Slovakia next month.

Winners: Bosnia. Play-offs: Greece.

GROUP H: Four teams remain in the running, with Montenegro two ahead of England having played a game more, and Ukraine and Poland also in with a chance. With Montenegro facing a tough run-in, England are favourites, with the winners of next month's clash between Ukraine and Poland likely to snatch second place. However, Roy Hodgson and his players cannot afford any slip-ups.

Winners: England. Play-offs: Ukraine.

GROUP I: Spain hold a one-point lead over France, with Finland a further four points back. After tonight's trip to Helsinki, the Spaniards end with two easy-looking home games. Finland go to France in their final game, but by then their hopes are likely to already be over.

Winners: Spain. Play-offs: France.

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