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 B got on this past week:
Finland 1:0 Belarus
With Spain and France clearly the superior teams of the group, this match wasn’t met with much enthusiasm from the neutrals.
But even with the chances of going through being next to nothing, it’s always a good feeling to win with your country. In a somewhat dull affair, with only a few decent goal attempts between the two teams, Finland claimed the win.
The goal separating the two teams was an own-goal scored by Shitov just before the hour mark. Nekhaychik was sent-off in injury time.
Belarus 1:1 Finland
In the return fixture four days later, Finland took the lead in the first-half, as Pukki provided the goal. After both teams wasted solid chances in the second-half, it seemed as though the Finns were going to pull-off a double victory over Belarus. However, Verkhovtsov was determined to not let this happen, scoring a late equaliser five minutes from time.
Here are the standings for group I:
Spain and France occupy the top two spots. Finland still have a theoretical chance of going through, however, they would need a miracle. Spain are in poll position to qualify directly for the World Cup finals next summer. All they need is to make sure they don’t drop any points and they’re golden, while France will be hoping for a slip-up in order to top the group.
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