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Top 5 European teams at risk of failing to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup

These five sides are at the risk of failing to qualify for next year's showpiece
These five sides are at the risk of failing to qualify for next year's showpiece
Sachin Bhat

We're almost through with the second round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in the UEFA zone.

The sides are left with just one or two more games to play before their fate is sealed. Germany and Denmark have become the first two European sides to book their tickets to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup.

For the rest, it's going to be an intense and grueling final month of their respective campaigns, with World Cup dreams hanging by the balance.

After the latest round of qualifiers, here are the top five teams in danger of missing their flight:


#5 Armenia

Henrikh Mkhitaryan and co. have bottled it spectacularly
Henrikh Mkhitaryan and co. have bottled it spectacularly

Armenia have never qualified for any international tournament before. But back in March, that drought looked set to end at last as they were on a tear.

With three wins from their opening three games, the Mountaineers made their best-ever start to any qualifier in history. They even led the group as Germany fell to North Macedonia.

They seemed like early contenders for the top two places in the group. But it's all gone downhill ever since as the side have failed to win any of their next five games.

As a result, Armenia are now down in fourth place, behind Romania and North Macedonia in the race for the playoffs. They only have two games remaining, the last of which is against the mighty Germans.

With no Nations League success to bank on either, they're left to pull off a miracle.


#4 Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia's hopes of making a second World Cup appearance could be over
Bosnia's hopes of making a second World Cup appearance could be over

Bosnia and Herzegovina's 'golden generation' made history by participating at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the side's first-ever appearance at a major tournament.

What should've been a harbinger of more success in the coming years has instead turned into an anomaly, with the Dragons witnessing a steep decline.

Now, in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers too, they've flattered to deceive, well, besides that 1-1 draw against world champions France.

🔥 Kvalifikacije za Svjetsko prvenstvo 2022.🏟 Lviv Arena, Lviv🇺🇦 Ukrajina 1️⃣🇧🇦 Bosna i Hercegovina 1️⃣⚽ 1:0 Andriy Yarmolenko 15', 1:1 Anel Ahmedhodžić 77' https://t.co/oTCv9r7dZO

With only seven points in the bag from six games, the Balkan outfit are trailing second-placed Ukraine by two points. Meanwhile Finland are a point ahead of them as well.

While it looks like they still a have a chance, Bosnia face both these sides next month in what's their last pair of qualifying games.

Should they beat Finland, then a draw would be enough against Ukraine to finish second provided Finland lose to France on the final day. But failure to win would require them to beat Ukraine on the final day and hope the 2018 World Cup winners beat their Nordic rivals.

#3 Austria

Austria are a quality side but still haven't done enough
Austria are a quality side but still haven't done enough

Austria haven't qualified for the World Cup since 1998. But having been drawn into a relatively open group, this was their best chance.

With just 10 points in eight games, Das Team are fourth in Group F. The opportunity is slipping away as the side are left with a mountain to climb ahead of their final two fixtures.

Denmark, who boast a perfect record, have booked their place in Qatar. Meanwhile, the competition is intense between Scotland and Israel for a playoff spot.

🇩🇰 1-0 🇦🇹🇫🇴 0-1 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🇮🇱 2-1 🇲🇩😎 Denmark through in style as Scotland leave it late to strengthen their grip on second 🥈#WCQ | #WorldCup https://t.co/1vWIc7H9pQ

The only realistic way for them now is based on their Nations League rankings, having won their group last year and secured promotion to League A.

It is currently serving them well, as Franco Foda's side are one of the two best Nations League group winners poised to advance into the next round.

However, it's also imperative for them to collect the maximum available points from their last two games for it to remain like that in the end.


#2 Turkey

Turkey are looking to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 2002
Turkey are looking to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 2002

Turkey were a big disappointment at Euro 2020. Despite an impressive qualifying campaign and possessing a talented squad, the Crescent Stars finished bottom of their group at the tournament proper after losing all three games.

Their World Cup hopes are now quickly diminishing too.

Starting out with a stunning 4-2 win over the Netherlands, they've collected only 12 more points from their next seven games. They sit third in Group G ahead of the final qualifying month.

2022 FIFA Dünya Kupası Avrupa Elemeleri G Grubu’nda sekizinci maçlar sonrasında oluşan puan durumu. 🇹🇷 #BizimÇocuklar #WCQ https://t.co/qR1czVtAId

Norway are two points clear in second place and face Latvia and the Netherlands in their final two games. Meanwhile, Turkey have easy fixtures against Gibraltar and Montenegro.

There's a chance that both sides could end up with the same points, in which case the goal-difference would come into play. As things stand, the Nordic outfit will be going into the playoffs at their expense.

Next year marks 20 years since Turkey's last appearance at the World Cup. If their results don't improve, then the wait is set to go on longer.


#1 Wales

Wales' first and only World Cup appearance came in 1958
Wales' first and only World Cup appearance came in 1958

Wales ended their long wait to participate in an international competition by qualifying for Euro 2016, a feat they later repeated earlier this year.

But it looks like we will have to wait a little longer before seeing the Dragons at the World Cup.

Third in Group E with only 11 points from six games, Rob Page's side face a difficult home stretch of the qualifying campaign next month.

They face the mighty Belgium on the final day, wherein a defeat would end their hopes.

It wasn't pretty, but it's three points for Wales.🇪🇪 Estonia 0-1 Wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿Two huge games await next month...#ESTWAL | #WCQ https://t.co/qMpCKfusSR

The Czech Republic, who're second and above Wales on goal-difference, take on lowly Estonia in their last game. Barring an implosion, the side is expected to seal all three points comfortably.

That would make it 14 for them, leaving the Dragons to finish with one more point to come second and secure a place in the playoffs. It seems like a tough ask but Wales will have to play their best to hold out the Red Devils.

Edited by Aditya Singh

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