The push for a place at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar continues among UEFA’s residents this weekend, with some hoping to continue as they’ve started while others seek improvement. Germany, Portugal, England and Italy each opened their qualifying accounts in successful fashion. and carry momentum into Matchday 2.
However, titleholders France failed to follow suit after drawing against Ukraine in Paris, with Spain also disappointing as they shared the spoils at home to Greece. The Netherlands also failed to impress as they fell 4-2 in Turkey, leaving Frank de Boer with just two wins from his first seven games in charge. The continental elite will resume their shuffle towards the next World Cup on Saturday. A few of this weekend’s qualifiers demand a bit more attention after the opening round of fixtures.
What TV Channel are UEFA Qualifiers on?
ESPN2 and TUDN will cover almost every one of this weekend’s UEFA World Cup qualifiers, featuring all the biggest matchups comprising the key contenders. You can live stream World Cup qualifiers on fuboTV.
World Cup 2022 - UEFA Qualifying Matchday 2
Saturday, March 27
Montenegro vs. Gibraltar (Group G), 10 a.m. ET - TUDNxtra 1
Russia vs. Slovenia (Group H), 10 a.m. ET - TUDN
Belarus vs. Estonia (Group A), 1 p.m. ET - TUDNxtra 2
Croatia vs. Cyprus (Group H), 1 p.m. ET - TUDNxtra 5
Norway vs. Turkey (Group G), 1 p.m. ET - ESPN2
Netherlands vs. Latvia (Group G), 1 p.m. ET - TUDNxtra 3
Slovakia vs. Malta (Group H), 3:45 p.m. ET - TUDNxtra 6
Republic of Ireland vs. Luxembourg (Group A), 3:45 p.m. ET - TUDNxtra 4
Czech Republic vs. Belgium (Group E), 3:45 p.m. ET - ESPN2
Serbia vs. Portugal (Group A),3:45 p.m. ET - TUDNxtra 1
Sunday, March 28
Kazakhstan vs. France (Group D), 10 a.m. ET - TUDN
Armenia vs. Iceland (Group J), 1 p.m. ET - TUDNxtra 5
Denmark vs. Moldova (Group F), 1 p.m. ET - TUDNxtra 3
Albania vs. England (Group I), 1 p.m. ET - TUDN
Georgia vs. Spain (Group B), 1 p.m. ET - TUDNxtra 2
Austria vs. Faroe Islands (Group F), 3:45 p.m. ET - TUDNxtra 8
Bulgaria vs. Italy (Group C), 3:45 p.m. ET - TUDNxtra 3
Israel vs. Scotland (Group F), 3:45 p.m. ET - TUDNxtra 7
Kosovo vs. Sweden (Group B), 3:45 p.m. ET - TUDNxtra 5
Poland vs. Andorra (Group I), 3:45 p.m. ET - TUDNxtra 10
San Marino vs. Hungary (Group I), 3:45 p.m. ET - TUDNxtra 9
Switzerland vs. Lithuania (Group C), 3:45 p.m. ET - TUDNxtra 4
Ukraine vs. Finland (Group D), 3:45 p.m. ET - TUDNxtra 6
Romania vs. Germany (Group J), 3:45 p.m. ET - TUDN
Visit UEFA to view the group standings in full
Ronaldo & Co. Under Serbian Scrutiny
Serbia and Portugal are forming a habit of meeting one another having been drawn against one another in qualification for both Euro 2016 and Euro 2020. Portugal advanced to the tournament finals ahead of Serbia on both those occasions, but the Eastern Europeans have a prime shot at revenge on Saturday.
The pair are joint-leaders at the top of Group A after each winning their opening games, with Serbia edging the Republic of Ireland 3-2 in Belgrade. Fulham forward Aleksandar Mitrovic continued his trend of hitting top form in national-team colors, bagging a brace to tie level with Stjepan Bobek as the top scorer for Serbia (and the former Yugoslavia) on 38 goals:
Portugal’s own frontman failed to impress as hoped, meanwhile, and the 2016 champions of Europe had to rely on a Maksim Medvedev own goal for a slim 1-0 win over lowly Azerbaijan. Cristiano Ronaldo has gone missing on occasion for Juventus this season and received some scorn, but Tom Kundert argued the pros outweigh the cons when he’s playing:
Serbia have failed to beat Portugal in six meetings (3L, 3D), and the last two meetings in their own capital have gone in favor of Fernando Santos’ side. Dragan Stojković looks to improve that record after winning his debut coaching the Eagles, who hope to stretch a seven-game unbeaten streak (excluding penalties).
Belgium Can’t Afford to Waffle in Czech Republic
Two more teams currently residing at the top of their pool, Group E pace-setters Belgium and the Czech Republic will meet under competitive conditions for the first time in 20 years on Saturday.
Roberto Martinez’s Red Devils entered qualifying as the top-ranked team in the world, backing up that standing with a 3-1 comeback victory over Wales. Aside from securing an early three points, right-back Thomas Meunier highlighted the result as revenge for their own 3-1 loss suffered against the same opponent in the Euro 2016 quarter-finals:
The Czech Republic managed to double that scoreline in a 6-2 tanking of Estonia, but Jaroslav Silhavy would be wise to ward his players off overconfidence despite the fact they now sit top of the pile.
West Ham United midfielder Tomas Soucek was at his towering best in Lublin, Poland, where the match against Estonia was held, and sits as joint-top scorer in UEFA qualifying after netting a perfect hat-trick in 16 minutes:
Haaland Hoping to Hit Stride Against Turkish Talent
Another of the prolific scorers expected to do well for his side in qualifying, Erling Haaland failed to hit the mark as many might have expected in Norway’s 3-0 opening win over Gibraltar.
Instead, Burak Yilmaz comes into this matchup as the in-form frontman, having scored three times as Turkey secured back-to-back wins over the Netherlands for the first time in their history:
This will be the first time in 14 years that Norway and Turkey will meet but the third time they’ve been matched up in World Cup qualifying. The Crescent Stars have emerged as victor in three of those four encounters and boast the only away win under qualifying conditions, but Norway have lost just one of their last six World Cup qualifiers when playing at home (vs. Germany in 2016).
Haaland has six goals in just eight appearances for his national team but hasn’t managed to hit the back of the net in either of his last two international outings. Still, he’ll hold out hope for breaking down a Turkish defense that’s failed to keep a clean sheet in seven games.