Friday, October 11, 2013

Who else could pack their bags for Brazil?

Ethiopia play Nigeria for a place in Brazil next summer

Brazil are hosting the 20th World Cup next summer.

They qualify automatically, and have so far been joined by Japan, Australia, South Korea, Iran, Holland, Italy, Costa Rica, Argentina and the USA. 10 names are confirmed, with another 7 having the possibility of joining them today.

Belgium, Germany and Switzerland are all in if they win - and I can't see Ireland upsetting the Germans, and it's even more unlikely that the Swiss will lose to Albania.

Russia can qualify if Portugal lose to Israel - it's not worth mentioning that the Russians play Luxembourg, 3 points have never been so easy - just ask Northern Ireland...oh wait. Honduras can make it if they beat Costa Roca and Mexico don't beat Panama.

Colombia and Chile can both clinch from South America, and even if they don't do it right now, both will get it done soon.

But who does that leave?

Spain and France are going to be the top 2 in their group, and it seems likely the holders will get teh automatic place. England have 'amazingly difficult' games against Montenegro and then Poland at home if they are going to clinch the automatic place - that's in quotes because the British press would have you believe that those games at home are too much for a team that includes so-called world beaters like Rooney, Gerrard and Wilshire. Can't have it both ways unless you're the British press - at club level, the players are the best in world, but not so much once the England shirt goes on.

Plus there are so big games in Africa - Ghana against Egypt, Senegal v Ivory Coast, and underdogs Ethiopia and Burkina Faso both still have a chance to make it. It's 5 from 10 in Africa, with the second leg in November after the openers this weekend.

Ecuador, Venezuela and Uruguay seem to be fighting it out for one automatic place and the chance to play Jordan in a qualifier - can't see that qualifier being much harder than playing the Page 3 girl Jordan, so it seems like 2 of 3 from there.

But there's still loads to play for with a couple of games left - 22 names still need to be confirmed, but we'll probably have 16 of the 32 known about once the weekend is over. Settle in, get the DVR cleared out, because there is a lot of football to watch this weekend.