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World Cup qualifying resumes around the globe

Spain Team (AP)

by GIANFRANCO PANIZO

No matter what your favorite style of soccer is, this international fixture weekend will have something for you.

Whether you enjoy the South American flavor of a Peru-Chile match or want see a good European clash like that of Spain-Turkey, or even if you just want to root for the United States, then this weekend full of World Cup qualifiers will satisfy your cravings.

With a full list to choose from, how could you not be excited about this weekend? . Here are some of the top World Cup qualifying match-ups you will see in Europe this weekend (along with a full schedule of qualifiers):

Netherlands v. Scotland

In a battle of the top two teams in Group Nine of European qualifying, the potent Dutch offense, which will have key players like Arjen Robben, Robin Van Persie and Ryan Babel to choose from, will look to continue the team's dominance in the group as they host second place Scotland on Saturday.

Scotland needs at least a draw in Amsterdam Arena or they will be at risk of losing their second place position to Macedonia or Norway, who are each a win away from climbing past them in the standings. And while injuries have begun to mount for them, the Scottish remain optimistic in finding a positive result.

Lithuania v. France

France is in a world of trouble. After only four points through three games, the French are in dire need of a victory when they host Lithuania on Saturday. Fourth-place France has called in its plethora of talented players, including Franck Ribery, Patrice Evra and Thierry Henry, but the team will need a much more collective group effort if they are to get themselves back in contention for a World Cup beth.

Lithuania shockingly sits in second place of Group 7, five points ahead of France, and with a victory at home, they would be one step closer to South Africa. Livorno striker Tomas Danilevicious will look to power Lithuania's attack as he looks to build on his team-leading three goals in qualifying.

Serbia v. Romania

This game is significant for a variety of reasons. Not only is it key in the tight race for qualifying out of the loaded Group 2, but also because it will mark the Serbian debut of defender Neven Subotic.

Romania has a game in hand on the group and can pull within two points of co-leaders Serbia with a victory. Meanwhile, the Serbians can pull into the driver's seat in the group, especially if France and Lithuania tie.

Portugal v. Sweden

Ibrahimovic vs. Ronaldo.

We have all seen the YouTube videos but now we get to witness which of the two superstars can carry their team to victory in this crucial World Cup qualifier.

While both teams boast a plethora of talented players, Sweden and Portugal have only mustered five points thus far in qualifying. Each team stands in the bottom half of Group One's qualifying table, and with three crucial points up for grabs, both teams will be desperate for a victory in fear of falling further behind in the standings.

Spain v. Turkey

In one of the weekend's most prolific matches, Turkey will look to upset the Spaniards in their home turf. The reigning European champions are unsurprisingly at the top of Group Five with 12 points, but Turkey is in hot pursuit as they currently sit in second place with 8 points.

Turkey will need its best performances from attackers like Nihat Kaveci and Tuncay Sanli in order to break down a stingy Spaniard defense that is led by defender Carles Puyol and goalkeeper Iker Casillas. Spain's defense has allowed only one goal in its first four games. And if you factor in the fact that Spain will have David Villa, who has netted five times in qualifying, and Fernando Torres at their disposal then it is no surprise as to why Spain looks like the easy favorite.

Here is the full myriad of World Cup qualifiers scheduled for this weekend:

FRIDAY

  • Korea DPR v. United Arab Emirates

SATURDAY

  • Mexico v. Costa Rica
  • El Salvador v. United States
  • Trinidad & Tobago v. Honduras
  • ————————————-
  • Malta v. Denmark
  • Portugal v. Sweden
  • Albania v. Hungary
  • Luxembourg v. Latvia
  • Israel v. Greece
  • Moldova v. Switzerland
  • Northern Ireland v. Poland
  • Slovenia v. Czech Republic
  • Russia v. Azerbaijan
  • Germany v. Liechtenstein
  • Wales v. Finland
  • Armenia v. Estonia
  • Spain v. Turkey
  • Belgium v. Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Romania v. Serbia
  • Lithuania v. France
  • Cyprus v. Georgia
  • Montenegro v. Italy
  • Ireland v. Bulgaria
  • Netherlands v. Scotland

    ————————————-

  • Uruguay v. Paraguay
  • Colombia v. Bolivia
  • Argentina v. Venezuela
  • ————————————-
  • Japan v. Bahrain
  • Uzbekistan v. Qatar
  • Iran v. Saudi Arabia 
  • ————————————- 
  • Togo v. Cameroon
  • Morocco v. Gabon
  • Kenya v. Tunisia
  • Rwanda v. Algeria
  • Sudan v. Mali
  • Burkina Faso v. Guinea

SUNDAY

  • Ecuador v. Brazil
  • Peru v. Chile
  • Mozambique v. Nigeria
  • Ghana v. Benin
  • Ivory Coast v. Malawi

———————————-

Which matches are you most looking forward to? Think Sweden or Portugal will come out victorious? Do you see Spain sputtering against Turkey? Hoping Neven Subotic scores an own goal for Serbia? Will France's woes continue?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. Come on haterz, where are you, Serbia and Subotic wins in Romania and are still first of the group. Hope Serbia and usa will be in the same groupe the next world cup, easy win 3-0 for Serbia

    Reply
  2. Ibrahimovic isn’t even going to play against Portugal today…He picked up a yellow card in their last game…Anyways this is a must win game for Portugal…It’s time to get our WC campagin going

    Reply
  3. Time to be annoyed with FSC yet again. Great World Cup qualifiers all weekend and the best they can do is Saudi Arabia/Iran, Russia/Azerbaijan, Slovenia/Czech Rep, Japan/Bahrain?

    Reply
  4. Lithuania shockingly sits in second place

    How does one sit shockingly?

    I think you meant “Shockingly, Lithuania sits in second place.”

    Reply
  5. Hope Scotland somehow wins. Turkey showed some grit and endurance during the Euro so it should be a good one against Spain.

    Even though it’s not a WCQ, I’ll be following the England match. Interested in seeing how Gerrard, Lampard, and Rooney get along. I like to imagine Gerrard talkin smack to Rooney on the pitch. 🙂

    Reply
  6. I would love to see Spain win. Don’t know why I have this fantasy of them winning the world cup. perhaps cause i’m a barca fan, and Xavi and Iniesta are just fantastic with their chemistry.

    Reply
  7. “Im pretty sure Ibrahimovic is suspended for this game is he not?”

    He sure is. He got his second yellow card of the qualification process in Sweden’s last qualifier, a tie at home to Portugal in a game that Sweden absolutely dominated, but just couldn’t score. So, Sweden is without Zlatan for this game. Basically, whoever loses this game can kiss their World Cup hopes goodbye.

    “Also, isn’t Lithuania hosting France and not vice versa?”

    Both. Lithuania hosts France on Saturday and France hosts Lithuania on Wednesday.

    “Is the Netherlands-Scotland match only available on espn 360?”

    It’s on GOLTV, which is also airing Spain vs. Turkey. They always seem to get better WCQs than FSC.

    Reply
  8. Being German I’m looking forward to a German victory. It’s been a while. Too bad I have to watch MLS soccer instead. Great scheduling.

    Reply
  9. I wish GOL or FSC would pick up just one of the African qualifiers.

    Looking forward to a VERY unproductive Saturday on the couch, before heading to the local pub for US and El Sal.

    Reply
  10. U.S.A. v El Salvador, duh.

    I don’t care about Neven. Good luck to him. I’ve always cheered for Portugal unless they are playing the U.S., don’t ask me why! I hope all the big European powerhouses like France get it in gear and qualify. I always think it is a shame when a team like Germany, Britain, or France fail to make it to the World Cup because they deserve to be there…especially when a team like Mexico and Honduras are there. Blah

    Reply
  11. Im pretty sure Ibrahimovic is suspended for this game is he not?

    Also, isn’t Lithuania hosting France and not vice versa?

    Reply
  12. USA!!!

    DRAW IN AZTECA!!!

    For those interested in cheering against Serbia…Here’s how thier group breaks down right now;

    9pts Serbia

    9pts Lithuania

    4pts Austria

    4pts France (game in hand)

    4pts Romania (game in hand)

    1pts Faroe Islands

    I’m going to be a huge France fan this cycle. They need to finish first and force Serbia into the playoff round with the other runner-ups. I just don’t see them droping to 3rd (as much as I’d like to see that).

    I know I need to let it go but……

    Reply
  13. FRIDAY

    Korea DPR v. United Arab Emirates— KOREA

    SATURDAY

    Mexico v. Costa Rica ——MEXICO

    El Salvador v. United States—-USA

    Trinidad & Tobago v. Honduras—HONDURAS

    ————————————-

    Malta v. Denmark—DENMARK

    Portugal v. Sweden—PORTUGAL

    Albania v. Hungary—-HUNGARY

    Luxembourg v. Latvia—DRAW

    Israel v. Greece—-GREECE

    Moldova v. Switzerland —-SWITZERLAND

    Northern Ireland v. Poland —N. IRELAND

    Slovenia v. Czech Republic—CZECH REP

    Russia v. Azerbaijan—-RUSSIA

    Germany v. Liechtenstein—GERMANY

    Wales v. Finland—WALES

    Armenia v. Estonia —ARMENIA

    Spain v. Turkey—-TURKEY

    Belgium v. Bosnia-Herzegovina—BELGIUM

    Romania v. Serbia—SERBIA

    Lithuania v. France0—FRANCE

    Cyprus v. Georgia—GEORGIA

    Montenegro v. Italy—ITALY

    Ireland v. Bulgaria—IRELAND

    Netherlands v. Scotland—NETHERLANDS

    ————————————-

    Uruguay v. Paraguay—DRAW

    Colombia v. Bolivia—COLOMBIA

    Argentina v. Venezuela—DRAW

    ————————————-

    Japan v. Bahrain—JAPAN

    Uzbekistan v. Qatar—QATAR

    Iran v. Saudi Arabia—IRAN

    ————————————-

    Togo v. Cameroon —CAMEROON

    Morocco v. Gabon —MOROCCO

    Kenya v. Tunisia—TUNISIA

    Rwanda v. Algeria—ALGERIA

    Sudan v. Mali—MALI

    Burkina Faso v. Guinea—GUINEA

    SUNDAY

    Ecuador v. Brazil—BRAZIL

    Peru v. Chile —CHILE

    Mozambique v. Nigeria—NIGERIA

    Ghana v. Benin—GHANA

    Ivory Coast v. Malawi—IVORY COAST

    Reply
  14. Holland vs Scotland will be a nice game to watch. Wish I was back in Amsterdam. There is great chemistry between the Dutch and Scottish fan groups. The Dutch news reports there are eight thousand scottish fans going to the game and thousands more watching it in pubs in Amsterdam. Was in Amsterdam last time they played there and it was fantastic!!

    Reply
  15. I just hope Mexico loses. Everything else comes second.

    But I see Spain winning, France winning, Sweden and Portugal drawing (Ronnie nor Zlatan are big-game players, and tend to sulk around and not do anything when the game actually matters). If that punk Subotic scores an own-goal, I’ll be happy as well.

    Reply

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