What to watch out for in Sunday's EURO qualifiers

Poland, the Republic of Ireland and Germany are battling for two UEFA EURO 2016 finals slots, Romania have Hungary breathing down their necks, and Albania's nerves are jangling.

Robert Lewandowski after scoring his late equaliser in Scotland
Robert Lewandowski after scoring his late equaliser in Scotland ©Getty Images

Group D
Judgement night in Warsaw
"We have reached the play-offs now so we can go for it on Sunday," said Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill after Thursday's 1-0 triumph over world champions Germany – a result which set up a massive match in Warsaw between two sides who need a win to be certain of qualifying directly for the final tournament. The Irish will be without goalkeeper Shay Given, but Darren Randolph proved a more than adequate replacement when the 39-year-old Given picked up an injury late in the first half against Germany.

Poland come into the game on something of a high too, Robert Lewandowski's second goal, deep in added time, having earned a 2-2 draw in Glasgow which removed Scotland from the qualifying picture. "I had a lot of faith in my team," said coach Adam Nawalka after the Scotland trip. "Sometimes in games like that, a point feels like a win."
Poland v Republic of Ireland: 20.45CET

Germany's doomsday scenario
"Suddenly we have to fear not qualifying a bit," wrote Bild after the world champions' unexpected 1-0 loss in Dublin. It is an unlikely scenario, but not impossible – if a German defeat by Georgia coincides with a draw between Poland and Ireland, Joachim Löw's men will finish third in the group.

Attacking midfielder Mario Götze has been ruled out of this fixture, and Löw said Bastian Schweinsteiger's prospects of playing were "rather slim" due to a groin problem. If not necessarily a crisis for Germany, it is still slightly discomforting ahead of a match that will demand more focus than expected. "We know it can get very tight in the last game," said defender Mats Hummels. "We have to be dominant against Georgia and not let anything happen."
Germany v Georgia: 20.45CET

Highlights: Romania 1-0 Faroe Islands
Highlights: Romania 1-0 Faroe Islands

Group F
Romania's Torshavn torment
Anghel Iordănescu will at least have positive memories as he takes his team to Torshavn, requiring a victory to shake off Hungary in the race for the second automatic qualifying place in Group F. It was in the Faroe Islands that he led Romania for the first time, in a 4-0 success in their opening 1994 FIFA World Cup qualifier.

Ovidiu Hoban ended a record 428-minute wait for a Romania goal when he struck in added time to force a draw against Finland on Thursday, and he can only hope there are more to come now the log-jam has been removed. "We have to win in the Faroe Islands," the defensive midfielder said, with fans at home not impressed by the sequence of four draws that have put the side's qualifying hopes on hold. "If we don't win, we don't deserve to qualify."
Faroe Islands v Romania, 18.00CET

Hungary live in hope
The intensity of Hungary's celebrations following Thursday's game might have seemed a bit disproportionate given they had only won 2-1 against a Faroe Islands team cast as also-rans in Group F. However, having staved off what would have been a humiliating 1-0 home reverse and kept their qualifying bid afloat, Bernd Storck's troops had reason to rejoice.

Midfielder Ádám Nagy, who made his full debut against the Faroes, knows that a play-off spot is in the bag, but an away victory over dispirited Greece – combined with a slip-up for Romania in Torshavn – would take them straight to France. "We know it will be tough on Sunday but we will go to Athens with the aim of moving into second place," he said. "For that to happen, we need to come up with three points against a Greece team who have been a big surprise in terms of the position they're in."
Greece v Hungary, 18.00CET

Highlights: Albania 2-1 Armenia
Highlights: Albania 2-1 Armenia

Group I
Danes hope to watch Albania squirm

Portugal qualified on Thursday with a 1-0 scalp of Denmark, taking the sting out of their final fixture against Serbia, who scored two goals at the death on the same night to leave Albania with a slippery last-day task. Giovanni de Biasi's charges trail second-placed Denmark – who have completed their fixtures – by one point and will only be certain of making a major tournament debut at UEFA EURO 2016 if they can win in Armenia.

"I hope we can be the next side to reach the finals," said Danish coach Morten Olsen. The looks on the Albania players' faces after they buckled in front of a significant crowd in Elbasan will give him hope. "We knew we could qualify but we are young and wanted to do it on home soil, in front of our people," said despairing captain Lorik Cana. Getting that prize in Yerevan may not be so easy.
Armenia v Albania, 18.00CET

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