Football Sport

Twenty-two seats for the World Cup remaining

Written by Leanne Lu

The World Cup qualifying puzzle is nearing its end. The war in Asia is over with Japan, Korea Republic, Iran and Australia obtaining qualification. There are only one or two rounds of games remaining in South America and Europe respectively although several teams have already won their tickets to Brazil. In South America, competition is less fierce as the host nation Brazil has qualified automatically. Argentina booked its spot this week by winning 5-2 in Paraguay.

Argentina is one of 10 nations who have qualified for 2014 World Cup

Argentina is one of 10 nations who have qualified for 2014 World Cup

Italy beat the Czech Republic 2-1 at home, sealing its place with two games to spare. They joined the Netherlands as the first European nations to qualify for the World Cup. Robin Van Persie produced another spectacular performance, scoring two goals in five minutes to beat Andorra. Meanwhile, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland are all only three points away from qualification.

Aside from the aforementioned nations, the USA and Costa Rica also sealed their qualification from the North America, Central America and Caribbean region. All in all, 10 spots of the 32 on offer are done and dusted, leaving 22 seats up for grabs in the coming months.

Roy Hodgson's job has not been done yet

Roy Hodgson’s job has not been done yet

But a few top European top countries are embroiled in a fight. England finished with another uninspiring draw in Kiev and with them still just one point clear of Montenegro and Ukraine, anything could happen in the last two rounds. Elsewhere, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Greece; Russia and Portugal; and Spain and France are all battling to claim top spot and therefore automatic qualification in their respective groups. Who can win qualification and who will go to the play-offs? We’ll find out in October!

But I’m more than happy to see the back of the international games as the Premier League returns this weekend after a two week break. Will Manchester United recover from their defeat to Liverpool? The timing of their home game against Crystal Palace couldn’t be better given they need a shot of confidence. And Mesut Özil’s league debut for Arsenal could well be at the Stadium of Light with Paolo Di Canio’s Sunderland to test the German’s creativity.