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Scotland close in on the World Cup; Argentina in big trouble

Date Added: October 08, 2017 06:12:16 AM
Author: David
Category: Competitions: Soccer World Cup
There's plenty of issues still to be decided this weekend as the race to reach the 2018 World Cup in Russia reaches the finish line.

Harry Kane's late goal against Slovenia guaranteed England's progression from Group F, but three teams are still in the running to secure a play-off spot.

Scotland visit Slovenia on Sunday knowing that a victory would could secure their spot in the play-offs, but their opponents and Slovakia are also still in the running.

The Scots are currently sixth in the play-off table and are 8/5 at to secure the three points they crave and hopefully seal a chance to progress to the finals.

Slovakia host Malta and a victory there coupled with a draw in the Slovenia versus Scotland game would see them pinch second place in the group.

Poland have qualified from Group E, leaving Denmark and Montenegro to fight out second place. The Danes require just a draw at home to Romania, while Montenegro need to win in Poland and hope Age Hareide's side are defeated.

Germany have clinched top spot in Group C and runners-up Northern Ireland will contest the play-offs after collecting more points than some group leaders.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal face two important games in Group B as they bid to book their place in Russia.

Portugal visit Andorra on Saturday, before returning to home soil to face group leaders Switzerland on Tuesday.

The Swiss have a three point lead over Portugal, but goal difference favours the Euro 2016 champions and they are priced at 4/5 to finish top of the group.

Ronaldo bagged four goals during his side's 6-0 victory over Andorra earlier in the campaign and he can be backed at 2/1 to grab a hat-trick in Saturday's game.

Portugal are available at 25/1 to win the World Cup and those odds will be cut if they reach the finals.

France are currently 6/1 second favourites to win the tournament outright, although their participation isn't guaranteed just yet.

Les Bleus are a point in front of Sweden at the top of Group A, but Saturday's game could be difficult with Bulgaria unbeaten on home soil during the qualifying campaign.

However, forwards Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe and Thomas Lemar are class acts, so the odds of 6/4 on offer for a France victory and over 3.5 goals during the game looks a solid wager.

Sweden should secure second place in the group at the expense of Netherlands.

Belgium have already claimed first place in Group H place, leaving Bosnia-Herzegovina, Greece and Cyprus to contest second spot.

Bosnia-Herzegovina still have to play Belgium and Estonia, while Greece meet Cyprus and Gibraltar. The Greeks are available at odds of 7/4 to finish second and that bet could pay dividends.

In South America, Argentina are in big danger of missing out on the World Cup for the first time since 1970.

The two-time champions are out of the qualifying spots after a 0-0 draw with Peru on Thursday.

Only the top four in South American qualifying are guaranteed a place in Russia, and Argentina are currently sixth with one game to play.

Argentina must win their final match in Ecuador to claim at least fifth spot, which sets up a two-leg play-off against New Zealand.

Lionel Messi's side are still as low as 10/1 to win the World Cup, but if Peru and Colombia draw their game Argentina would be eliminated if they did not win.

Syria remain in contention for an unlikely World Cup appearance after a 1-1 draw with Australia in the first leg of their play-off tie.

The bookies believe Syria's luck will run out in the second leg, with Australia priced at around 2/7 to win the game.
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