10 things to watch as international football returns


The scramble for Euro 2020 places comes to its conclusion this week as the final international fixtures of the year are played out across the continent.

Six countries have already secured their spot at next summer’s finals and several others stand on the brink. For some, however, it’s going to be a nervous few days.

We pick out  10 things to keep a close eye on during this decisive round of internationals.

Harry Kane celebrates his goal in England's 6-0 rout of Bulgaria last time out in qualifying

Harry Kane celebrates his goal in England’s 6-0 rout of Bulgaria last time out in qualifying

CAN WORLD CHAMPIONS FRANCE SECURE TOP SEED STATUS?

The seedings for next summer’s finals draw will be determined by group position and, as it stands, there are a few big fish lurking in pot two for when the draw takes place in Bucharest on November 30.

Reigning world champions France are currently second in qualifying Group H and if that were to remain the same, they could be paired with the likes of England, Spain or Holland in a Euro 2020 group.

Paul Pogba, Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann look dejected as France lose to Turkey

Paul Pogba, Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann look dejected as France lose to Turkey

Turkey then secured a 1-1 draw at the Stade de France last month to move to take top spot

Turkey then secured a 1-1 draw at the Stade de France last month to move to take top spot

France are currently tied on 19 points with group leaders Turkey and sit second by virtue of an inferior head-to-head record against the Turks.

In order to clinch top spot, Les Bleus may have to win both their remaining games, at home to Moldova on Thursday and away to Albania on Sunday, and hope Turkey drop points in their games with Iceland and Andorra.

A win over Moldova in Paris on Thursday will secure France’s automatic qualification in any case, while Turkey need only a draw against Iceland to book their place at the finals.

France have work to do if they are to secure top spot in Group H and top seed status

France have work to do if they are to secure top spot in Group H and top seed status 

COULD HOLDERS PORTUGAL REALLY MISS OUT?

Portugal are the reigning European champions after their win over France back in 2016 and they also won the inaugural UEFA Nations League on home turf back in the summer.

But there is a possibility that Cristiano Ronaldo and Co may be absent from next summer’s finals as they face a nervy could of games this week.

Ukraine’s win over Portugal last time out took them through as Group B winners, leaving Portugal second on 11 points and Serbia third on 10.

Cristiano Ronaldo cuts a frustrated figure as Portugal are defeated by Ukraine last month

Cristiano Ronaldo cuts a frustrated figure as Portugal are defeated by Ukraine last month 

Fulham forward Aleksandar Mitrovic celebrates as Serbia beat Lithuania to remain in the hunt

Fulham forward Aleksandar Mitrovic celebrates as Serbia beat Lithuania to remain in the hunt

It means Portugal need to take maximum points from their home game against Lithuania on Thursday and Sunday’s trip to Luxembourg to settle automatic qualification.

Any slips and it could be the play-offs in March to earn the right to defend their crown.

Portugal are the reigning champions of the European Championship but could miss out

Portugal are the reigning champions of the European Championship but could miss out

HOLLAND AND GERMANY SLUG IT OUT FOR TOP SPOT

It’s been nip and tuck between old rivals Holland and Germany for first place in Group C, with the Dutch currently top by virtue of a better…



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