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England and Serbia on verge of qualifying
by Paul Kennedy, September 9th, 2009 6:45AM
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[WORLD CUP QUALIFYING] England and Serbia will qualify for the World Cup finals with wins on Wednesday. Denmark and Spain can clinch on Wednesday but they will need help. For a look at all the European qualifying groups and TV schedules ...

GROUP 1
Standings
Denmark 17 points (7 games); Hungary 13 (7); Sweden 12 (7); Portugal 10 (7); Albania 6 (8); Malta 1 (8).
Schedule
Malta v Sweden
Albania v Denmark
Hungary v Portugal (Setanta Sports USA, live, 2:40 pm ET)
Breakdown
Denmark is in the driver's seat though it might not clinch Wednesday even with a win at Albania. Portugal has to win at Hungary to stay in contention for the second spot.

GROUP 2
Standings
Switzerland 16 points; Greece, Latvia 13; Israel 9; Luxembourg 5; Moldova 2 (all 7 games).
Schedule
Israel v Luxembourg
Moldova v Greece
Latvia v Switzerland
Breakdown
Switzerland edged ahead with its win over Greece on Saturday, but Latvia can catch the Swiss with a win on Wednesday.

GROUP 3
Standings
Slovakia 16 points (7 games); Northern Ireland 14 (8); Poland 11 (7), Slovenia 11 (7); Czech Republic 9 (7); San Marino 0 (8).
Schedule
Czech Rep v San Marino
Northern Ireland v Slovakia (Fox Soccer Channel, live, 2:30 pm ET)
Slovenia v Poland
Breakdown
Slovakia will clinch if it wins at Northern Ireland and Slovenia-Poland ends in a tie. Because it has played one more game than its main competition, a win over Slovenia doesn't necessarily make Northern Ireland the favorite to win the group.

GROUP 4
Standings
Germany 19 points; Russia 18; Finland 13; Wales 9; Azerbaijan, Liechtenstein 1 (all 7 games).
Schedule
Liechtenstein v Finland
Wales v Russia (Fox Soccer Channel, delay, 5 pm ET; Gol TV, delay, 7:30 pm ET)
Germany v Azerbaijan (Gol TV, delay, 4:45 pm ET)
Breakdown
Germany and Russia are favored to finish 1-2. If Russia slips up at Wales, it loses the advantage it will hold by hosting Germany in Moscow on Oct. 10 in the group's deciding match.

GROUP 5
Standings
Spain 21 points; Bosnia-Herzegovina 15; Turkey 11; Belgium 7; Estonia 5; Armenia 1 (all 7 games).
Schedule
Armenia v Belgium
Bosnia-Herzegovina v Turkey (Setanta Sports USA, delay, 5 pm ET)
Spain v Estonia (Gol TV, delay, 9:30 pm ET)
Breakdown
Spain has clinched no worse than second place and will win the group if it does better against Estonia than Bosnia-Herzegovina does against Turkey. Bosnia-Herzegovina will clinch second place if it beats the Turks.

GROUP 6
Standings
England 21 points (7 games); Croatia 17 (8); Ukraine 14 (7); Belarus 9 (7); Kazakhstan 3 (7); Andorra 0 (8).
Schedule
Belarus v Ukraine
Andorra v Kazakhstan
England v Croatia (inDemand, live, 3 pm ET)
Breakdown
England will clinch if it beats Croatia at Wembley or ties and Ukraine doesn't win at Belarus. Having played one more game than Ukraine, Croatia will probably need at least a point to have a chance of holding off Ukraine for second place.

GROUP 7
Standings
Serbia 18 points; France 14; Austria 10; Lithuania 9; Romania 8; Faeroe Islands 1 (all 7 games).
Schedule
Faeroe Islands v Lithuania
Romania v Austria
Serbia v France (Setanta Sports USA, delay, 6:45 pm ET)
Breakdown
Serbia will clinch with a win over France in Belgrade. It will still be in good shape with a tie. Austria needs to win at Romania and hope France loses to move within striking distance of second place.

GROUP 8

Standings
Italy 17 points (7 games); Ireland 16 (8); Bulgaria 11 (7); Cyprus 5 (7); Montenegro 4 (7); Georgia 3 (8).
Schedule
Italy v Bulgaria (Gol TV, live, 2:45 pm ET)
Montenegro v Cyprus
Breakdown
Italy will have a four-point cushion going into its crucial game against Ireland in Dublin on Oct. 10 if it beats Bulgaria, which needs a victory to remain in the hunt for second place.

GROUP 9
Standings
Netherlands 21 points (7 games); Scotland 10 (7); Norway 7 (7); Macedonia 7 (7); Iceland 5 (8).
Schedule
Scotland v Netherlands (Gol TV, delay, Thursday, 8 pm ET)
Norway v Macedonia
Breakdown
The Netherlands was the first European team to clinch. On the final day of qualifying in the five-team group, Scotland needs a point against the Oranje in Glasgow to clinch second place, though one point would only give the Scots 11 points (with a minus-4 goal differential), which might not be enough to finish in the top eight among the group runners-up -- only the top eight out of nine move on to the European playoffs. If the Scots lose at home, the winner of the Norway-Macedonia game will take second place. (The Scots will take second with a tie in Oslo.)

 



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