A cracking Euro 2016 qualifying campaign still holds the prospect of all five Home Nations making it to France next summer, all though some are in better shape than others.
England are already through and will likely top Group E, but Wayne Rooney and co will have being headed in FIFA’s rankings by Wales for the first time ever on their minds when they step onto the pitch in San Marino.
After Gareth Bale’s sixth Group B goal (unbeaten Wales have nine in total) ensured a 1-0 win away to Cyprus, @BBCSporf paid a begrudging homage to the Real Madrid striker and his country.
FIFA World Rankings: 1. Argentina 2. Belgium 3. Germany 4. Colombia 5. Brazil 6. Portugal 7. Romania 8. Chile 9. Gareth Bale 10. England
— BBC Sporf (@BBCSporf) September 3, 2015
For a thorough analysis of just how close Wales are to qualifying, head straight to the source.
Northern Ireland’s Kyle Lafferty continued his uncanny impression of fellow countryman David Healey with his sixth of the campaign, despite not getting a minute for Norwich so far in 2015/16.
Kyle Lafferty scoring goals for fun on the international stage. Deserves a chance playing as a forward for us surely, def not a winger #ncfc
— Aspin (@Henners_92) September 5, 2015
A 6ft4 winger, he surely is not.
Michael O’Neill’s side laboured somewhat in the Faroe Islands, leaving it till the 71st minute to break a 1-1 deadlock, before Gareth McAuley’s second and Lafferty’s effort. Incredibly, Northern Ireland can seal automatic qualification with a 13/10 win at home to Hungary.
Things aren’t so straightforward for the Republic of Ireland and Scotland, who swapped places in Group D after the former won and the latter lost against Gibraltar and Georgia respectively.
A place in the play-offs at worst is still in reach for Gordon Strachan’s men, with Ireland one point ahead in third and Poland only two further clear, but the fact that both countries must face the top two in their last three games keeps Martin O’Neill’s side at an advantage.
The Wee Man’s keeping faith though.
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