Three Teams for Two Places in Russia
We are at the midway point of World Cup qualifying and three teams, Greece, Belgium, and Bosnia-Herzegovina will fight for the top two places in Group H.
With the current standings, Belgium have a small advantage atop Group H, which leads to an automatic spot to the 2018 World Cup. Greece sit second in the standings, which leads to a playoff spot, two points behind Belgium and 1 point ahead of Bosnia.
Five matches remain in qualifying with Greece’s most important test scheduled next in an away fixture to Bosnia on June 9th. The match will be of high importance as to who will have the upper hand for second place in the group.
For Greece, second place is the goal while Belgium remain the clear favorites to top the group and earn the automatic ticket to Russia. A point in Bosnia will give our National Team a huge advantage for second place while a loss will see Bosnia surpass the Greek team in the standings. A win for Greece in Bosnia will not only put them four points clear in second place, but will also keep them alive in the fight for first place.
It is important to note that goal differential is the first tiebreaker in FIFA competitions and NOT head-to-head results as it is in UEFA competitions. This benefits Belgium, who have a +20 goal differential, while Greece are at +7 and Bosnia at +8.
In the final five fixtures, Belgium will have two big away tests to Bosnia and Greece while three points will be expected when they travel to Estonia as well as when they host Cyprus and Gibraltar.
Greece will most certainly need to defeat Estonia (home) and Cyprus (away) while a big victory on the final matchday against Gibraltar (home) could be decisive in a possible tiebreaker scenario (goal differential). Anything but a loss in Bosnia in their upcoming fixture will be a successful result while their home fixture against Belgium could be a do or die for first or second place based on the standings at that point.
Bosnia will host both of their main opponents, Greece and Belgium, while still having to play two tricky away tests in Cyprus and Estonia. Their easiest future will be away to Gibraltar.
For full Group H standings and fixtures click here...