World Cup Qualifying Enters Final StagesPublished October 12, 2009 by OCR Editor
Medium-sized powers Croatia and Sweden face the prospect of being knocked out of qualifying on Wednesday.
As the qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup enter their final stages, there are still many spots up for grabs for the trip to South Africa, and a lot of betting options.
In Europe, several big teams are on the verge of being eliminated from the competition.
Portugal, currently sitting second in group one, are an unbackable 1/50 favorite at Bet365 to beat Malta and go through to a playoff against another second-placed team for a spot in the World Cup. The odds of a draw, which would give Sweden the chance to leapfrog their rivals into second place, are 9/1.
A similar situation presents itself in group six, where Croatia will be relying on Ukraine to slip up against a minnow in order to finish in second place. Ukraine, a point ahead of their more highly regarded rivals in the standings, travel to Andorra, and are a staggering 1/33 to take home the points and a spot in the playoffs for the World Cup. Croatia is 1/4 to win at Kazakhstan in the event Ukraine does not win.
In group three, Slovakia has a do-or-die battle with Poland to hold on to first place in the group and automatic qualification. The Slovaks have 19 points, two ahead of Slovenia, who beat them 2-0 in Bratislava on Saturday, while Poland is set to miss out on the World Cup for the first time since 1998.
In South America, all eyes will be on the Uruguay-Argentina battle, where the Argentines need at least a draw to gain automatic qualification to the tournament and avoid a humiliating exit from a competition they have won twice.
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