European teams have played their last big night of qualifiers with a handful of tickets to Brazil 2014 given out.
The big names – Germany, Italy, Spain, England and the Netherlands all made it through as group winners and Switzerland kept up their recently consistent record in qualifying for major finals. Of UEFA’s nine group seeds, only Norway were eliminated, but three of them could only make the playoffs. Three third-tier seeds – Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Switzerland, jumped to first place finishes.
In truth there were no big-name casualties, although some famous names live to fight another day via the playoffs.
1998 World Cup Judi Bola Online24Jam Terpercaya 2021 winners and 2006 finalists France is the biggest name to miss the initial cut, though Les Bleus remain a strong favourite to reach Brazil via the playoffs. In their defence they had Spain to contend with in Group I. Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal will also await the draw, having finished second to Fabio Capello’s Russia, who bagged the golden ticket from Group F.
Belgium make a welcome return to the finals and will bring a string of outstanding young players to Brazil, but little Bosnia & Herzegovina are the most notable European qualifier, topping the less than arduous Group G above Greece.
The Euro 2004 winners join Sweden, Iceland, Croatia, Romania and Ukraine alongside France and Portugal in the playoffs. Iceland are the most unusual name in the hat, having beaten Slovenia and Norway to second place in Group E, and it is nice to see Romania, whose dazzling team from 1994 lives long in the memory, back in contention having failed to make it to the last three World Cups.
Of the eliminated, 2002 semi-finalists Turkey missed the boat again, as did 1998 semi-finalists Croatia. …