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 H got on this past week:
Montenegro 0-4 Ukraine
Group leaders Montenegro suffered a devastating blow after being hammered by Ukraine in Podgorica. A win would have put them in a great position to secure one of the top two spots, and even a draw would have made life difficult for the Ukrainians. However, it was not to be.
After a goalless first-half, Ukraine managed to take the lead six minutes into the second-half through Garmash, despite being a man down following Zozulya’s dismissal. Konoplyanka doubled the lead between Volkov’s and Pavicevic’s respective sending-offs. Fedetskiy and Bezus also scored one apiece to round off a magnificent team effort.
Moldova 1-1 Poland
Poland will be disappointed with not getting all three points out of the match. A win would have put them on par with Ukraine, giving them a better chance of going through. The Poles had a good start to the match, taking the lead six minutes in through Blaszczykowski. However, they failed to build momentum and conceded a shock equaliser, courtesy of Sidorenco. The teams were level at half-time, and after a goalless second-half the Poles will be kicking themselves for not being able to secure the win.
England are in the best position to top the group, seeing as three of their remaining fixtures will be played on their turf. Ukraine also have a good chance of progressing, with two matches against San Marino and a home match against England, they could even secure direct qualification if they play their remaining matches the same way they played against Montenegro, who will have their work cut out for them in the away fixtures against Poland and England.
The Poles have an outside chance of going through, since they’ll be facing stiff competition from Montenegro, Ukraine and England in the matches that follow.
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