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2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – predictions

In the wake of a two-week international break, all eyes will be on the impending World Cup Qualification matches across all six confederations. All major countries take to the grounds in the campaign to book their spots in the 2022 Qatar World Cup. It is for the first time in the history of the World Cup, that the lot to hosting the tournament fell on a nation that has never played the finals. There are a couple of interesting games coming up in the European and South American Confederations.

Cyprus vs Croatia

Runners-up Croatia fly to Larnaca to take on Cyprus for Matchday 7 of the European qualifiers group stages. Amassing seven points in September, the Croats remain at the top of Group H. Head coach Zlatko Dalic has declared the 24-member squad for the Cyprus and Slovakia games in October. “After September success, we are full of optimism, positive energy, and confidence. However, we have to stay aware that everything we have done has to be confirmed with six more points,” said the Croatia boss. Captain Luka Modric is back after recovering from an injury. Cyprus do not seem to have hopes of playing their first World Cup any time soon. They occupy the last spot in the group, having lost four of their six games. It will be a largely one-sided game wherein the Croats will humble Cyprus. 

Germany vs Romania

Germany play host to Romania in Hamburg on Matchday 7 of the European qualifiers group stages. The Germans are table toppers in Group J with five wins from six games, despite an unexpected 2-1 loss to North Macedonia early in the campaign. Hansi Flick has chosen his 23-man squad for the Romania and North Macedonia games in October. Goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen and defender Matthias Ginter are back in the squad but Flick will go with Manuel Neuer as usual. Romania are third in the group with three wins. Romania have not qualified for the World Cup since 1998. They have played Germany fourteen times so far, managed to win only twice. They do not stand much of a chance against the Germans.

Paraguay vs Argentina

Argentina visit Paraguay for a Round-11 game of the CONMEBOL qualifiers at Estadio Defensores del Chaco in Asunción. Argentina are second behind Brazil in the South American campaign with five wins and three draws from eight games. Lionel Scaloni has summoned his squad, facing the triple date of October. Their September fixture against Brazil was suspended midway due to the non-compliance of some players with the Covid-19 protocols. They defeated Bolivia 3-0 in another September game. Paraguay are desperate to climb a step higher on the table to keep their World Cup hopes alive. They have not qualified since the 2010 South Africa WC. They beat Venezuela 2-1 in the last round, a second win in nine games. Argentina are the outright favourites here. 

Venezuela vs Brazil

Venezuela host Brazil for Matchday 11 of the South American qualifiers at Estadio Polideportivo de Pueblo Nuevo in San Cristóbal. Brazil sit at the top of the table, having won all of the eight matches played so far. The Canaries must be super relaxed going into this game. Humbling Venezuela would not be a problem for them. Tite has an abundance of world-class players to choose from, he might try out different tactics against easy opponents. Venezuela have never made it to the World Cup in history, they don’t intend to do so this time either. They are at the bottom of the table, having lost seven of the nine games played. Their game plan will be defensive, trying to concede as few goals as possible. It will be a hands-down victory for the Brazilians.

Andorra vs England

England visit Andorra for Matchday 7 of the European Qualifiers group stages. The Three Lions must be looking to extend their lead as toppers in Group I. Gareth Southgate named a 23-man squad for October fixtures, where he recalled AC Milan defender Fikayo Tomori, Aston Villa forward Ollie Watkins and Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale. Phil Foden is back having recovered from injury. Harry Maguire’s absence is not surprising given his injury, but the omission of Bellingham and Greenwood was rather unexpected. Andorra sit fifth in the group as they have lost five of their six games. This will be their sixth meeting with England, with the latter winning every game by an aggregate of 20-0. Andorra will be humbled by the English side.

Scotland vs Israel

In an interesting fixture of Matchday 7 of the European Qualifiers group stages, Scotland invite Israel to Hampden Park in Glasgow. Scotland are second in Group F behind Denmark, with three wins from six games. Israel have three wins as well but are one point behind the Scots owing to two losses. Denmark will be the group champions obviously, the battle is for the second spot to make it to the playoffs. Scotland defeated Austria 1-0 in their September fixture and must be upbeat ahead of the Israel game. Israel, on the other hand, suffered a massive 5-0 defeat at the hands of Denmark. The Scots haven’t made it to the World Cup since 1998 France. Both sides will give their all on the ground in this game. Scotland will have the upper hand.

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