|1||B||Portugal (X)||7||6||0||1||22||4||+18||18||Advance to second round (play-offs)|
|5||C||Northern Ireland (A)||8||4||1||3||10||6||+4||13|
|7||F||Slovakia (Y, Z)||8||4||0||4||11||6||+5||12|
After three groups concluded their business last night the runners up table landscape is slightly clearer but the waters are still muddy for a handful of nations as we go into the action this evening as it has now come down to the possibility of not just winning but winning the biggest in order to qualify.
This is because the situation is as follows, Slovakia have entered the table after finishing runners up of Group F thanks to their 3-0 win over Malta and Scotland’s failure to beat Slovenia after a 2-2 draw. That said Slovakia cannot celebrate just yet.
They will be keeping a keen eye on the goings on in both Cardiff and Kiev as Wales and Croatia currently occupy eighth and ninth in this table but have the chance to lift themselves above the Slovaks later tonight. Quite simply a win for Wales and Croatia would see them through on 14 points.
You can in this scenario also replace Wales with the Republic Of Ireland and Croatia with Ukraine – these two matches tonight almost take on the guise of Cup Finals. A draw for Wales if Croatia win would see them dumped out on goal difference.
If they were to both draw then it would be Croatia who miss out on goal difference. A draw for Wales would not be enough if Croatia lose as then the Ukraine would overtake them instead so quite simply a win would guarantee qualification a draw and it could be a very tense few minutes as everyone does the sums.
If there is a winner in the game between Ukraine and Croatia then there has to be a winner in the game between Wales and the Republic Of Ireland, quite simply the draw has been negated to a certain degree these two fixtures are very nearly winner takes all.
Wales could still top the group if they draw with the Republic Of Ireland and Serbia lose 2-0 to Georgia, if the Republic Of Ireland win 3-0 and Serbia lose 2-0 to Georgia then they would top the group and push Serbia into the play-off section.
Sweden just need to avoid a 7-0 defeat to the Netherlands to secure their place in the play-offs although they still have a chance of topping their group if France also slip up. But whoever finishes runner up in that group will be one of the top eight in this table.
Greece are safe because they cannot be overtaken by Slovakia, so they no longer need to worry while Italy confirmed their slot last week. Portgual currently have the number one position but if they can beat Switzerland tomorrow then it would be the Swiss who drop down. Switzerland just need a draw to top their group.