7 September, 2012 - 10:40

2014 FIFA World Cup clashes kick off

2014 FIFA World Cup clashes kick off

The first round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers kicks off this Friday and Saturday.

The 53 European member associations will struggle for victory in 9 groups. The nine group winners qualify automatically and the eight best runners-up will encounter in Round 2.

Group A
Wales-Belgium
Croatia-Macedonia
 Scotland-Serbia

In follow-up of the draw, the two nations from Foggy Albion and three countries of former Yugoslavia will encounter a type of reunion. With its muster of most crafty and talented players, Belgium is an odds-on favourite in the pool. Still, it can be a hasty conclusion.

Group B
Malta-Armenia
Bulgaria-Italy
Denmark-Czech Republic

Italian squad will make its journey to Bulgaria without their Euro 2012 hero Balotelli who undergoes the eye surgery these days. The Czech squad is also short of their starlets Vaclav Pilar, Tomas Rosicky and Daniel Kolar who are enchained by injuries.

Group C
Germany-Faroe Islands
Kazakhstan-Republic of Ireland

Germany is the only side in the pool which sparks interest of European fans. The Germans, as it seems, feel secure enough, and Joachim Low even decided to sideline Bastian Schweinsteiger from the game with inoffensive Faroes to let his midfield pillar come back to full fitness.

Group D
Netherlands-Turkey
Andorra-Hungary
 Estonia-Romania

The Dutch, who went sour during their Euro 2012 group fixtures, bestirred themselves fightingly to recover the glory. Hungary is expected to be a runner-up.

Group E
Iceland-Norway
Albania-Cyprus
 Slovenia-Switzerland

This group is not so popular among European fans. Still, Norway, who has not shown its head in World Cups since 1998, together with Switzerland both have equal odds to advance.

Group F
Russia-Northern Ireland
Luxembourg-Portugal
 Azerbaijan-Israel

Russia will get a first taste of the action against Northern Ireland without its Euro 2012 captain Andrei Arshavin. With a new coach Fabio Capello at the helm, the Russians aim to be crowned with success. Portuguese rooters, meanwhile, hold out hope that their idol Cristiano Ronaldo will overcome his asperities at Real Madrid and perform to his full capacity.

Group G
Liechtenstein-Bosnia-Herzegovina
Lithuania-Slovakia
 Latvia-Greece

Three teams - Bosnia-Herzegovina, Greece and Slovakia – have equal bite at the cherry to finish top. That remains to be seen who will be the strongest.

Group H
Montenegro-Poland
 Moldova-England

It is odds-on that England has an unassailable lead in the group. With best playmakers from Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United, the Three Lions champ at the bit to perform in the 2014 World Cup finals.

Group I
Georgia-Belarus
 Finland-France

The current champion title holders, Spain placed in Group I but will opt out the first weekend of clashes. France is intended to beat Finland in Helsinki.

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Author: Kate Kozz

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