Europe's long World Cup qualifying slog is coming to an end, and while the majority of the groups have been decided, there are still a few tickets up for grabs to Russia.

By Avi Creditor
October 09, 2017

Europe's long World Cup qualifying slog is coming to an end, and while the majority of the groups have been decided, there are still a few tickets up for grabs to Russia.

Seven group winners have already secured their places at next summer's spectacle, with Germany, Spain, England, Belgium and Poland qualifying with time to spare and Iceland and Serbia punching their tickets in Monday's finales. Two more groups will be decided during Tuesday's matches.

There's also the matter of the playoff round, with the top eight second-place finishers from the nine groups securing their spots in home-and-away showdowns next month to determine the continent's final four participants next summer.

Here's how the groups are shaping up entering the final two days of the qualifying round:

GROUP A

It's France's bid to lose, with Les Bleus hosting Belarus knowing a win will punch their ticket. Any surprise slip would let Sweden pip France to first with a win over the Netherlands

The Oranje, meanwhile, are clinging to hope, needing a win over Sweden by seven goals just to reach the playoff round. It's looking likely that the Netherlands will miss out on another major tournament after sitting out the 24-team Euro 2016. This is the same nation that was a runner-up at South Africa 2010 and third place in Brazil 2014.

GROUP B

It's down to a final clash between Switzerland and Portugal Tuesday in Lisbon. The Swiss hold a three-point lead and need just a draw, but Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal has a better goal differential, so a win would clinch an automatic berth. Either way, the team that misses out is headed to the playoff round.

GROUP C

This group is all settled. Reigning World Cup champion Germany is through as the group winner, while Northern Ireland is headed to the playoff round.

GROUP D

Serbia secured its berth Monday with a 1-0 win over Georgia, while Ireland pipped Wales to a place in the knockout round, meaning there will be no Gareth Bale on the World Cup stage next summer. 

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GROUP E

This group is all settled. Poland, behind Robert Lewandowski's 16 goals in qualifying, has won the group, while Denmark finished second and will be in the playoff round.

GROUP F

England is through as the group winner, while Slovakia finished in second and awaits its fate, hoping that is one of the top eight runner-up sides that goes to the playoffs.

GROUP G

This group is all settled. Spain, unbeaten in nine qualifying games (8-0-1) with a +33 goal differential, is headed to Russia, while Italy has clinched a second-place finish and playoff berth.

GROUP H 

Belgium has already won the group, and it's down to Greece and Bosnia/Herzegovina as to which one will finish second. Greece, which holds a two-point lead over B/H, hosts Gibraltar and should win easily. B/H is hoping for a Greece draw or loss and must win at Estonia. B/H holds a three-goal edge in differential, should it come down to a tiebreaker.

GROUP I

Iceland clinched its first World Cup berth ever with a win over Kosovo at home on Monday. Croatia edged Ukraine for second place and a spot in the playoff round.

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