The European Qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup are heading into the business end, with teams having only one or two matches left to play between 11 and 16 November.
After this sequence of fixtures, the 10 direct qualifiers and 12 playoff contenders will be confirmed, with the group winners set to automatically qualify for the 2022 finals in Qatar while the runners-up face a playoff.
On Thursday, 11 November, Greece and Spain will go head to head in an important encounter, with the latter set to be confirmed in the top two if they can avoid defeat.
As it stands in Group B, Sweden lead the way with 15 points, while Spain have accumulated 13 points after four wins, one draw and one loss. They do have a handy four-point buffer over third-placed Greece, who must win to stay in contention for a top-two finish.
Spain will head into the clash without the services of Ansu Fati, who suffered an injury during Barcelona’s La Liga game against Celta Vigo, and he has been replaced in the squad by Espanyol striker Raul de Tomas.
Also on Thursday, Germany will take on Liechtenstein, but for all intents and purposes this will be a dead rubber. The Germans already have an unassailable lead at the top of Group J after winning seven of their last eight games, while winless Liechtenstein cannot finish in the top two.
In Group A, Portugal have already confirmed a spot in the top two, but will be looking to build momentum with a good win over Ireland on Thursday. The real focus will be on the next clash against group leaders Serbia, with these two teams set to meet on 14 November to determine first place.
Another fascinating battle later this week will see Italy and Switzerland go into battle on Friday, with the two teams locked on 14 log points in Group C after six games each.
The Azzurri have a slightly better goal difference (11 to 9), and will be desperate to earn automatic qualification after missing the last World Cup in Russia in 2018, which was their first absence from the global showpiece in 60 years.
In another game to look out for, England will take on Albania on Friday looking to consolidate their handy position at the top of Group I where they are three points ahead of Poland, with Albania in third (15 points).
England will qualify if they beat Albania, and Poland do not beat Andorra, or if England draw and Poland lose.
Earlier this month, Jadon Sancho was dropped for England’s decisive World Cup qualifiers as Marcus Rashford and Trent Alexander-Arnold returned to the squad, while Liverpool right-back Alexander-Arnold, Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham and Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips were some of the other players brought back.