Start of European qualifications for the 2014 FIFA World Cup
European qualifications for the 2014 FIFA World Cup begin on 7th September 2012. On road to Brazil, 53 national teams will compete in order to seal one of thirteen tickets for the finals. The group stage draw took place in Brazil and all teams were divided into eight groups of five and one group of five.
When the group matches are over, the nine group winners will directly guarantee their places in Brazil. For the remaining spots, the eight best runners-up (determined by the fixtures against top five teams) will be tied in two-legged play-offs. With four winners, European qualifications will be understood.
The first whistle will be heard in Moscow as Russia will host Northern Ireland at Lokomotiv Stadium after they faced a huge disappointment in Euro 2012 finals. Russians will try to finish the group F in the first place against Portugal, Israel, Azerbaijan and Luxembourg. 2010 World Cup and Uefa Euro 2012 champion Spain will begin to defend their title in Georgia on 11th September. In group I, they will fight against a tough rival like France which will make a trip to Finland on Tuesday. England will open their World Cup qualification campaign on the road againt Moldova. They hope to end the group H at the top against Montenegro, Ukraine, Poland and San Marino. In a very tricky group G, everything looks possible considering there is no top gun. Except Liechtenstein, five teams like Greece, Slovakia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lithuania and Latvia will be in the race to make top two.
It looks the same story for group E including Norway, Slovenia, Switzerland, Albania, Cyprus and Iceland. The Friday evening will see tough fixtures in the group. The Scandinavian side Norway will visit Iceland and Switzerland will make a tough trip to Slovenia. Turkey will have the toughest trip with their new coach in Group D as they visit Netherlands. Romania will also make a tricky trip to Baltic Sea in order to meet Estonia. Germany will be comfortable on their group C opener as they take on minnow Faroe Islands. Austria and Sweden will play their first matches on the next Tuesday. Italy will have a very heard task in group B including strong sides like Denmark, Czech Republic and Bulgaria. In Group A, we will witness to a great fight between Croatia and Serbia. Belgium and Scotland will try to make the top two places in the group also including Macedonia and Wales.