Montenegro is smaller than Bosnia and newer as an independent football nation, but they are certainly effective, as England found out on Tuesday. The best performance of Mario Balotelli's career so far was in the Euro 2012 semi-final against Germany, and with more of the same in this campaign he can fire Italy to the World Cup. But Spain always seem to do what they need to and their 1-0 win in the Stade de France on Tuesday night, thanks to Pedro's winner, has put them back on top of the group with three games left. 1st Round. Due to the sheer scale of this comment community, we are not able to give each post the same level of attention, but we have preserved this area in the interests of open debate. The teams were drawn into eight groups of six teams and one group of five, with the nine group winners qualifying directly into the 2014 FIFA World Cup. And with three draws from their three "Hexagonal" games so far there is certainly room for improvement, after a 0-0 draw with the United States in Mexico City this week. Four qualify automatically from two groups, third places play off for right to play off against fifth from South America. Want an ad-free experience?Subscribe to Independent Premium. Nine group winners qualify and four from play-offs featuring the best eight second-placed finishers. Not many teams could live with them on their day. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. They needed a late Roberto Soldado winner to beat Georgia before letting leads slip in home draws with France and Finland. While Croatia and Serbia are fairly regular World Cup competitors, two smaller nations from the former Yugoslavia could play in Brazil. Ten group winners go into knockout round, five winners qualify. Mario Balotelli bagged a brace of goals against Malta this week, World Cup 2014: How the qualifying groups stand around the world, You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully, Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable, Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties, We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification. In the third round, the 10 group winners played off over two legs to determine who took Africa's five places in Brazil. It was the second time that Brazil staged the competition, the first being in 1950, and the fifth time that it was held in South America. AFC, CAF, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, OFC, UEFA. They were a mess in a recent 2-1 loss against England at Wembley, started brilliantly in a 2-2 draw with Italy, then scraped a 1-1 draw with Russia this week. Search. Second and third places behind Argentina are currently occupied by Ecuador and Colombia. Five African nations have qualified for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil: Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast and continental champions Nigeria. Ivory Coast qualify for the World Cup after a 4-2 aggregate win. ... Five teams will represent Africa at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. AFC Qualified. CAF Qualified Australia have reached three World Cups and Jordan none but the Arab nation can qualify for Brazil at the Socceroos' expense. All they have to do now is stay fit for November's play-off against the fourth-best Concacaf team. After latest round of 2014 World Cup qualifiers, Jack Pitt-Brooke assesses who's packing their bags for Brazil and who's nervously looking over their shoulders, Find your bookmarks in your Independent Premium section, under my profile. The existing Open Comments threads will continue to exist for those who do not subscribe to Independent Premium. The first round found 24 teams trying to make it into the second round of competition, where there were ten groups of four teams. Algeria qualify for the World Cup on the away goals rule after a 3-3 aggregate draw. The crucial rematch, in Split, is in October. There is work still to be done but, with Neymar and Oscar and the rest, they certainly have something going for them. And with Gonzalo Higuain having scored nine goals so far and Lionel Messi eight, as well as Javier Mascherano, Angel di Maria, Pablo Zabaleta and others, it looks rather unlikely. Only three of the 10 rounds have been played but the surprise early leaders are Panama, another country who would play at their first World Cup. Create a commenting name to join the debate, There are no Independent Premium comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts, There are no comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts. Ecuador have only appeared at two World Cups before, in 2002 and 2006, but they are a very solid unit and have enough firepower in Felipe Caicedo, Christian Benitez and Antonio Valencia to hold on to their position in the group. In this campaign they are all producing, giving Belgium a chance at their first major tournament since 2002. But the holders, who have won the last two European Championships, did not start their Group I campaign perfectly. And Croatia are close in Group A. Presuming they qualify, Spain's push for an impossible fourth straight championship will be the dominant story of the World Cup. 02/06/12: Tunisia 3-1 Eq Guinea; Sierra Leone 2-1 Cape Verde, 08-12/06/12: Cape Verde 1-2 Tunisia; Eq Guinea 2-2 Sierra Leone, 22-26/03/13: Tunisia 2-1 Sierra Leone; Eq Guinea 0-3* Cape Verde (AWD), 07-11/06/13: Sierra Leone 2-2 Tunisia; Cape Verde 3-0* Eq Guinea (AWD), 14-18/06/13: Eq Guinea 1-1 Tunisia; Cape Verde 1-0 Sierra Leone, 06-10/09/13: Tunisia 3-0* Cape Verde (AWD); Sierra Leone 3-2 Eq Guinea. With a few exceptions – such as the Premier League's Maya Yoshida and Shinji Kagawa – the team is based primarily in Japan and Germany, and they have an impressive mix of technical quality and organisation. So far Nigeria are top of Group F but only on goals scored and so Stephen Keshi's side, featuring Victor Moses and Jon Obi Mikel but a good mix of Nigerian-based players too, will need to avoid upsets in their trips to Kenya and Namibia in June. *Ethiopia forfeited a 2-1 win away to Botswana for fielding an ineligible player. Our journalists will try to respond by joining the threads when they can to create a true meeting of independent Premium. Argentina are top of the South American group, from which the top four automatically progress, with five games left. Colombia, one point behind in third place, have even more attacking quality to call upon. Tempting Kevin-Prince Boateng back out of international retirement would certainly help. Please continue to respect all commenters and create constructive debates. Fabio Capello's Russia have won all four Group F games so far, and are ahead of Portugal and Israel, but have played fewer than half their games so far. They are the most successful team in the African Cup of Nations but Egypt have not reached a World Cup since 1990. 02/06/12: Central African Republic 2-0 Botswana, 08-12/06/12: Botswana 1-1 South Africa; Ethiopia 2-0 CAR, 22-26/03/13: South Africa 2-0 CAR; Ethiopia 1-0 Botswana, 07-11/06/13: CAR 0-3 South Africa; Botswana 3-0* Ethiopia (AWD), 14-18/06/13: Ethiopia 2-1 South Africa; Botswana 3-2 CAR, 06-10/09/13: South Africa 4-1 Botswana; CAR 1-2 Ethiopia. Want to bookmark your favourite articles and stories to read or reference later? Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines. 2014 Brazil. Jordan have already beaten Australia and Japan in Amman with a team based almost entirely in the Middle East. But his tactics and selection have not been universally popular, and his recent dropping of captain Carlos Bocanegra was certainly controversial. They are in a very uneven Group D, with 2012 African champions Zambia but weaker sides Sudan and Lesotho. The 2011 Asian Cup champions are six points clear at the top of Group B, but a 2-1 defeat by Jordan on Tuesday slowed their progress. The 2012 Olympic champions are among the great underachievers in international football, having only reached two World Cup quarter-finals, and those – in 1970 and 1986 – both on home soil. Tunisia have also won all three of their games so far, and can qualify for the third round with their next match if they beat Sierra Leone and the other result goes their way.
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