Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Azzurri and Oranje close to clinching
September 6th, 2013 12:02AM

MOST READ
TAGS:  germany, italy, netherlands


[WORLD CUP 2014 QUALIFYING: Europe] As many as five European teams could clinch their World Cup 2014 qualifying groups by Tuesday, though only Italy and the Netherlands won't need help from others. Bosnia-Herzegovina and Germany -- both of which the USA has beaten this year -- as well as Switzerland are also closing in berths in next year's final.

(Click here for viewing of Friday's World Cup 2014 qualifiers.)

BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA. Bosnia-Herzegovina can clinch a berth in the World Cup finals for the first time with a sweep of its two games against Slovakia but it will need for Greece to drop of four points against Liechtenstein and Latvia -- an unlikely scenario. Edin Dzeko and Vedad Ibisevic, who combined for all three BiH goals in the 4-3 friendly loss to the USA, will lead the attack.

-- BiH has scored 23 goals in six games -- the most of any team in European qualifying.

GERMANY. Germany will look to keep its record perfect of having qualified for every World Cup in which it has been entered, and it could clinch with with Group C wins over Austria on Friday and the Faeroe Islands on Tuesday. Starting midfielders Ilkay Gundogan and Bastian Schweinsteiger are both injured, so Sami Khedira and either Lars Bender or Toni Kroos will play in their place.

-- Germany has given up nine goals in its last three games, all friendlies: two to Ecuador, four to the USA and three to Paraguay.

ITALY. The Azzurri, semifinalists at the Confederations Cup in June, can clinch the Group B title with wins over its closest rivals, Bulgaria on Friday and the Czech Republic on Tuesday. Mario Balotelli -- red-carded against the Czechs in June -- is one of three Italians who are suspended for the Bulgaria game at the Stadio Renzo Barbera in Palermo, and two other players are injured.

-- Goalie Gianluigi Buffon will equal the Italian appearance record of 136 caps if he plays against Bulgaria.

NETHERLANDS. The Dutch are the only unbeaten and untied team in European qualifying and should wrap things up with wins on the road against Estonia on Friday and Andorra on Tuesday. Veterans Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder (recalled in place of injured Rafael van der Vaart) will lead the Oranje against Estonia. Other players who should get starts include Jonathon De Guzman, whose brother Julian plays for Canada, and a pair of 21-year-old center backs, Bruno Martins Indi and Stefan de Vrij, both of Feyenoord.

-- The Dutch have a 11-game unbeaten streak (eight wins and three ties) dating back to August 2012.

SWITZERLAND. Switzerland, which is coming off a 1-0 win over Brazil in their friendly, has an outside shot of clinching, but it will need to win games against Iceland and at Norway and Albania will have to lose at Slovenia or Iceland. The average age of Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld's quartet of strikers -- Haris Seferovic, Mario Gavranovic, Josip Drmic and Steven Zuber -- is 22.

-- The Swiss have conceded just one goal in five games -- the best defensive record in Europe.

Europe Standings
Europe Schedule


No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying    
"Miami's greatness is about the interaction of a vibrant culture and the water. We will earn ...
Strikers will test measure of progress at Carolina    
[NASL: Week 2] The Fort Lauderdale Strikers, seventh and fifth in the NASL's two half-seasons, will ...
Chelsea takes on its U-8s    
[VIDEO PICK: Off the Post] Chelsea's John Terry, David Luiz, Frank Lampard et al took on ...
Collins John slapped with three-game suspension    
[USL PRO: Week 5] The USL PRO career of Collins John, the Liberian-born Dutch international who ...
What They're Saying    
"There is no problem. Tensions are a bit high; I have no problem with that. They ...
Chivas USA's McNamara faces knee surgery    
[MLS INJURY REPORT] Rookie Thomas McNamara, who had started every game for Chivas USA until being ...
Road to Rio begins for Tab Ramos' group    
[USA UNDER-21 MEN] The road to Rio begins for the U.S. men's Olympic team begins with ...
New-look Thorns aim for two in a row on road    
[NWSL: Week 2] The defending champion Portland Thorns FC remain on the road for the second ...
Lack of playing time worrying for bubble players    
[AMERICANS ABROAD] With only four weeks at most for most players before the end of their ...
Three games to watch    
[MLS: Week 7] Real Salt Lake and Portland face off for the first time since meeting ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives