The busy two weeks for international fixtures has just ended. Germany and Denmark finally become the first two teams sealing berth in World Cup 2022 final round. They both managed to secure the crucial wins this midweek.
Hans Flick's side took revenge Germany's loss to North Macedonia in the reverse fixture, by hammering them 4-0. Kai Havertz and Jamal Musiala netted one while Timo Werner bagged a brace. It was not exactly a difficult game compared to their last outing versus Romania. Meanwhile, Simon Kjaer and Co secured a narrow win over Austria at home. Atalanta man Joakim Maehle scored the only goal of the game after taking an advantage from Thomas Delaney's pass. It is enough to book one ticket to fly to Qatar next year. It will be their sixth appearances in the world cup finals.
Once the two slots are taken, there are still eleven berths left for the remaining 31 teams which still have a chance to qualify. Those berths includes eight automatic spots as the group leader plus there last ones via playoff. The race for the left spots has started and the last two fixtures in November would be a decisive ones for those teams. Here are the chances for them in each group.
- Group A: Serbia and Portugal have sealed one place for the top two. They will be facing off on November, 14 in Lisbon for the automatic slot. If Dragan Stojkovic's men could snatch three points, they can go through directly as the group leader. If they fail, then CR7 and Co are likely to topple Serbia since they still have one last game against Ireland.
- Group B: The encounter between Spain and Sweden will be the crucial one for both sides, plus another one beforehand. They need two wins for qualifying directly. Luis Enrique's side is surely the favourite. Yet, they can not stumble again. A draw result against either Blagut or Greece would see them going through a longer path to Qatar, whereas Sweden needs at least four points for safety. Greece, on the other hand, needs six points in remaining games while hosting Spain and Kosovo in order to clinch one spot for the playoff.
- Group C: the race is only between Italy and Switzerland. Any side who win the two games left, including the match between themselves on November, 12 shall decide which team will advance to the final round directly.
- Group D: The Nations League winner, France, shall have no difficulty to secure one berth. However, three teams will be battling for the runner up slot. Ukraine, Finland and Bosnia Herzegovina are only separated by two points. Andrey Yarmolenko and Co only have one match to save their chance to progress to Qatar against Bosnia on the road. Edin Dzeko and Co have two home games in hand as their advantage, hosting their two contenders. Only six points would see them go to the playoffs. Finland faces the tough challenge as they are playing host to France.
- Group E: Belgium is likely to secure one berth in November with only three points left whereas Czech Republic and Wales would be fighting over one spot in the second place. Patrick Schick and Co only have one game left while Rob Page's side still has two matches in hand. Four points would be enough for them to snatch the playoff spot.
- Group F: There are three teams fighting over the remaining second place. Scotland has the best chance to go to the playoffs if they can clinch one more win, whereas Austria could still hope for one playoff slot via Nations League path as the group winner despite finishing outside the top two. Israel, on the other hand, would have to pray for the Tartan Army's two negative results so that their two expected wins over Faroe Island and Austria would not be in vain and bump up their position to the second place.
- Group G: Netherlands, Norway and Turkey are still involved in a race for the automatic slot as the group leader. The clash between De Orange and Norway would be the crucial one for both sides. Three points would be enough for either side to go through. A draw would put Erling Haaland and Co in danger since Turkey can potentially snatch the runner up place with two easier oppositions in the final two fixtures, Montenegro and Gibraltar.
- Group H: Two team on the top, Russia and Croatia will be fighting over one automatic slot as the group leader. The clash between them in Zagreb would decide which team shall progress first..
- Group I: England might have no difficulty to secure one spot as the group leader. The second place, however, is the tricky one as Poland, Hungary and Albania are involved in the race for runners-up. The first two teams would be facing off each other to keep their hope alive while Albania is rather unlikely to finish second as one of the their remaining fixtures is against the Three Lions.
- Group J: The next two fixtures will be vital one to determine the runner up. Romania, North Macedonia, Iceland and Armenia are fighting over the playoff spot. Iceland has the toughest path since they have to play away from home for the last two matches against their contenders, Romania and North Macedonia.
The playoffs system in the current qualifying round is slightly complicated, just like in the last EURO. All ten runners-up plus two teams with the highest rank from the last Nations League but finish outside the top two will be fighting for the last three slots. They will be split up into three paths with four teams each. In each path, there are two games in the semi finals before the one-legged final. The winner will qualify to Qatar.