FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers: The UEFA round -1 qualifiers have almost reached the end. By next week, we will get to know the first 10 teams to qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. In this article, we will review Portugal, Spain’s and Germany’s matches.
Portugal play out a goalless draw with Ireland
Fernando Santos’ team traveled to Ireland hoping to get a win, but it was not to be. The match was very evenly contested between the two sides. Ireland dropped to fourth place after the draw and are at 6 points, whereas Portugal are at the top of the table on goal difference.
The biggest chance of the match arguably fell to Cristiano Ronaldo, who headed the ball on the wrong side of the post. One big drawback to Portugal was the red card that veteran defender Pepe received in the 82nd minute. This would keep the defender out of the important fixture against Serbia.
Talking about Serbia, both Portugal and Serbia are tied at the top of the points table in Group A with 17 points. Both the sides have 5 wins and 2 draws from their eight games. The two face off in Portugal on Sunday with the winner qualifying directly to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar next year.
Spain pip Greece courtesy of a Sarabia Penalty
The UEFA qualifiers, Group B encounter between Greece and Spain, was played out in Athens, Greece. Both the teams needed a win to keep their World Cup qualification hopes alive going into the match.
The game was dominated by Luis Enrique’s Spain, who had 73 percent of the possession in the match. The Euro 2004 winners hardly saw any of the balls and could only muster a single shot on target. Spain, on the other hand, would have a total of 12 shots, of which 3 were on target.
Spain won a penalty after Martinez was bundled in the box and Sarabia stepped up to slot it into the back of the net. That turned out to be the only goal of the game. Another noteworthy point was that Luis Enrique finally played Dani Carvajal, a Real Madrid player in his team. The manager hadn’t picked a Real Madrid player since March of this year. The Spanish team did not have a single representative from Real Madrid in the Euros or the Nations League tournament this year.
The game ended 1-0 in favour of Spain. This propelled the former World Champions to the top of Group B. Spain are set to face Sweden in their final group game. The winner of that match would get a direct spot in the World Cup 2022, while the loser would play in a knockout round with a runner-up of another group.
Germany destroy Liechtenstein at home
Hansi Flick’s team welcomed Liechtenstein to the Volkswagen Arena in Germany. The group J clash was in the Germans’ favour from start to finish as they scored 9 goals past Liechtenstein.
Goals from Gundogan, Kaufmann, Reus, and Sane gave the Germans a 4-0 lead at halftime. In the second half, Sane added a second before a brace from Müller and a goal from Baku made it 8 for the hosts. A Goppel own goal in the 89th minute confirmed a 9-0 win for Germany.
Former head coach Joachim Löw was in the stands to say his farewell to the crowd. Löw had managed Germany to a World Cup triumph in 2014.
With the win, Germany has confirmed their place in Qatar for the World Cup next year. They will play the final game of their qualification campaign against Armenia on Sunday.