The end of the UEFA World Cup qualifying phase is almost upon us.
While some groups already look sewn up others are still in the balance.
One nation that has already secured their place in Russia next year is Belgium.
But for 37 other countries an automatic World Cup berth and potential play-off places are mathematically still up for grabs.
Here we look at some of the closest groups going into next month’s final round of matches…
What better place to start than at the top.
In a real who’s who of international football heavyweights France, Sweden and the Netherlands are all still vying for top spot.
France hold the advantage but were pegged back last night following a shock 0-0 draw at home to Luxembourg.
The French face a tricky trip to Bulgaria next before ending their campaign at home to Belarus.
If Didier Deschamps’ side slip up in either of those games Sweden could be set to pounce.
A victory at home to Luxembourg will be expected for the Swedes.
And that will be followed up by a potential winner-takes-all clash away to the Dutch in their final home game.
Top spot: Sweden
Four teams still hold hope of making it through to Russia in Group D.
But it’s the top three of Serbia, Republic of Ireland and Wales who are the most likely candidates.
Given their remaining fixtures we’re backing Wales to come out on top.
Six points will be expected from trips to Moldova and Georgia ahead of a crucial final group game against the Republic of Ireland.
The Welsh still have it all to do after clocking up too many draws early on.
However, they’re still unbeaten and have the momentum behind them following Ben Woodburn’s dramatic late winner against Austria at the weekend.
Top Spot: Wales
It couldn’t be more dramatic in Group I.
Five points separate four teams in the race for World Cup qualification.
What makes it even more interesting is that Croatia, Ukraine, Iceland and Turkey all still need to play each other in varying combinations.
Group minnows Kosovo and Finland feature only twice against the top four in the remaining games making it an almost head-to-head style knockout competition.
It’s going to be tight but we think Croatia should hold on to top spot with the remaining trio fighting it out for second place.
Top Spot: Croatia
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