By Paul Saffer
The UEFA EURO 2004™ qualifiers come to a conclusion on Saturday - but there are still eleven places in Portugal up for grabs, and only two of the eight play-off berths are filled. Twenty of the 40 sides in action - plus one whose fixtures are already completed - will have their fates decided.
This group is settled, with France qualifying for the finals as group winners and Slovenia entering Monday's play-off draw as runners-up.
Denmark's last-minute equaliser against Romania on 10 September kept them top on head-to-head results - with the Romanians, who have completed their fixtures, second. Bosnia-Herzegovina are two points behind and will win the group if they win at home against Denmark, who would enter the play-offs. Any other result would mean qualification for Denmark and a play-off for Norway if they beat Luxembourg to climb above Romania, also on head-to-head results. If Norway and the Bosnians fail to win, Romania will finish second.
The Czech Republic's win against the Netherlands ensured their place in Portugal, with the Dutch in the play-offs.
Sweden have won the group, but three teams can still finish second. Latvia have 13 points, Hungary eleven and Poland ten, so the Latvians will make the play-offs if they win in Sweden. If Latvia draw, Hungary would overtake them if they beat Poland at home, while if Sweden win, the winner of the Budapest tie will make the play-offs. If Hungary and Poland's game finishes level, Latvia would enter the play-off draw in Frankfurt.
Germany lead Iceland by two points ahead of their meeting in Hamburg. Iceland must win, otherwise Germany will qualify. However, if Iceland do not gain three points, Scotland could pip them to second place by beating Lithuania.
Greece and Spain are confirmed as the top two. Spain trail by one point, so Greece will finish top if they win at home against Northern Ireland. If Greece drop points, Spain would overtake them with a victory in Armenia. Spain would also finish top on head-to-head results if they draw and Greece lose.
England lead second-placed Turkey by one point ahead of their match in Istanbul. Turkey must win if they are to edge England into the play-off place.
Bulgaria have qualified for Portugal, but Croatia and Belgium are still competing for a play-off berth and are level on 13 points. Croatia have the better head-to-head record, so Belgium must get a better result at home against Estonia than Croatia achieve at home against Bulgaria. A Croatian win would guarantee them a play-off place.
Italy and Wales are the confirmed top two with Giovanni Trapattoni's team a single point ahead. They will win the group with a home victory against Azerbaijan. Wales must beat Serbia and Montenegro in Cardiff and hope Italy do not win to qualify automatically and send their rivals into the play-offs.
Three teams can still win - Switzerland are currently one point ahead of Russia and the Republic of Ireland. Switzerland meet Ireland in Basel, and will qualify with a home win, with Russia second on head-to-head results regardless of their result against Georgia. Should there be a draw in Basel, Russia would win the group with victory against Georgia, while a home defeat in Moscow would allow Ireland into the play-offs. If Ireland win, Russia would still finish top with victory, and would still make the play-offs behind Ireland with a draw.
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