With the 2014 World Cup just a year away, the qualifying matches have taken even greater importance as teams head towards the finish line.
Here we take a look at how the European sides of Group E got on this past week:
Iceland 2-4 Slovenia
Iceland went into the match knowing a win would put them in first place, with Switzerland having a game in hand, while Slovenia was at the foot of the table. Nevertheless the underdogs were in front after 11 minutes through Kirm. Iceland hit back ten minutes later before managing to turn the game around. Bjarnason and Finnbogason were the scorers, respectively.
The celebration didn’t last for long however, as Birsa converted a penalty a few minutes later. Cesar scored on the hour mark, putting his team in front before Krhin finished the Icelanders off.
Albania 1-1 Norway
A late goal from Norway hindered Albania’s surge towards their first World Cup. The Albanians took the lead four minutes before half-time. However, the Norwegians were determined not to suffer a double defeat at the hands of the hosts, equalising three minutes from time. Norway got away with a valuable point, while the Albanians are left to wonder what could have been.
Switzerland 1-0 Cyprus
Switzerland were almost held to a draw by Cyprus, with goalkeeper Georgallides putting in a fine performance. However, knowing that both Albania and Iceland had dropped points the day before, the Swiss mustered the strength to score a late winner, giving them a four-point cushion at the top.
Group E is a group where anything could happen.
Switzerland are more or less comfortable at the top. The problem with this group is you don’t have a clear outsider or a vastly superior team. Albania, Iceland and Norway are left fighting for second place, with Slovenia lurking nearby, waiting for their chance.
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