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World Cup Qualifiers Europe preview: Group E-I

(Andrew Cowie/Colorsport/Icon Sportswire)

The international break and another round of World Cup qualifiers is upon us. In Europe, the race in on to get a spot at the festivities in Russia in 2018. Some nations are setting pretty, like reigning champions Germany, while others are already up against the ropes. We continue our preview with looking at Group E to I.

Group E: Montenegro 7pts, Poland 7pts, Romania 5pts, Denmark 3pts, Kazakhstan 2pts, Armenia 0pts.

Montenegro tops Group E after a draw against Romania in the opening match, followed by wins over Kazakhstan and Denmark. They defeated the Kazakhs 5-0 with five different players getting on the scoresheet. In the latest win over the Danes, it was Fatos Beciraj that managed to score the lone goal of the game. They will now travel to Yerevan to take on bottom of the group Armenia.

Poland are tied at the top with Montenegro after getting a 2-2 draw against Kazakhstan followed by wins over Denmark and Armenia. The Polacks will travel to the National Arena in Bucharest to take on Romania.

Denmark hopes to make up some ground on the nations above them in the standings as the Danes host Kazakhstan. After beating Armenia in the opening game, they have suffered losses to Poland (3-2) and Montenegro (1-0).

Group F: England 7pts, Lithuania 5pts, Slovenia 5pts, Scotland 4pts, Slovakia 3pts, Malta 0pts.

England tops Group F after wins over Slovakia and Malta followed by a scoreless draw against Slovenia in their latest match. They will welcome rivals Scotland to Wembley Stadium on Friday. Interim manager Gareth Southgate has opted to recall Harry Kane, as the Tottenham striker is back from injury and deemed fit for fight. The Scots have four points after picking a win over Malta, along with a draw against Lithuania.

Lithuania started off the campaign with draws against Slovenia and Scotland before grabbing a 2-0 win over Malta in their latest game. The Lithuanians will travel to Slovakia, while Malta hosts Slovenia.

Group G: Spain 7pts, Italy 7pts, Albania 6pts, Israel 6pts, Macedonia 0pts, Liechtenstein 0pts.

Spain and Italy are tied at the top of the group, and both nations are still undefeated. The Spaniards will take on Macedonia in Granada. Spain started off the qualifiers by defeating Liechtenstein 8-0, followed be a draw against Italy and a win over Albania.

Italy has wins over Israel and Macedonia in addition to the draw against Spain. The Italians will now travel to the Rheinpark Stadion to take on Liechtenstein. Despite his dominance in MLS, Sebastian Giovinco was once again left off the squad, as national team manager Giampiero Ventura doesn’t rate the league.

After losing to Italy in their opener, Israel picked up wins over Macedonia and Liechtenstein, and they will travel to Elbasan to take on Albania on Saturday.

Group H: Belgium 9pts, Greece 9pts, Bosnia and Herzegovina 6pts, Estonia 3pts, Cyprus 0pts, Gibraltar 0pts.

Belgium and Greece have both enjoyed great starts to the qualification campaign, as they have picked up three straight wins each. The Belgians will take on Estonia at home in their next game on Sunday at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels.

The Greeks kicked things off with wins over Gibraltar, Cyprus and Estonia. They will now welcome Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in Athens. Cyprus are looking to grab their first points of the qualifiers when they take on Gibraltar on Sunday.

Group I: Croatia 7pts, Iceland 7pts, Ukraine 5pts, Turkey 2pts, Finland 1pts, Kosovo 1pts.

Croatia and Iceland sits at the top of Group I after picking up two wins and a draw each to start the campaign. The two nations will now go up against each other in a battle for the group lead at the Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb.

Third-placed Ukraine will host Finland, and will be looking to get a positive result and be ready to jump up in the standings. The Finns are still looking for their first win, as they have a draw and two losses.

Kosovo grabbed a point in their opening game against Finland, followed by losses to Croatia and the Ukraine. They will now travel to Istanbul to take on Turkey, who are hoping to get their first win of the qualifiers.

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