There are only 3 teams in Group D who have not yet had their fate determined. The Dutch claimed 1st in the group and a spot in Brazil. Estonia and Andorra have been eliminated from qualification. This leaves just Hungary, Turkey, and Romania, and all 3 teams are within a single point of each other. Despite a recent home defeat to Turkey, we give Romania a 2/3 chance of finishing second. Turkey and Hungary have virtually identical chances at 1/6. The Group D 2nd place side is also in danger of missing the play-off due to low point total.
Hungary currently sits a single point ahead of both Turkey and Romania.
Andorra v. Romania – Andorra la Vella, Andorra
Romania would be in much better shape if they had collected even a point against Turkey. They failed to do that, and now they are playing catch up. Andorra shouldn’t pose much of a threat to Romania. Netherlands was only able to pot 2 against Andorra, which is almost a victory itself. They don’t break down to easily at home, but Romania should be able to secure all 3 points. If not, they’re not worthy of Brazil.
Prediction: Romania by 4
Estonia v. Turkey – Tallinn, Estonia
Estonia has shown flashes of potential, but they haven’t been able to string it all together. Turkey looked like they were brined, stuffed, and cooked, but they have come back to life. This is going to be a close match, and knowing they must face the Dutch in their final match, Turkey can’t avoid any missteps. I’d like to see some fight out of Estonia. While they haven’t fared all that well against quality opponents, they are a tough out at home. They’ll put up a fight but ultimately fall short.
Prediction: Turkey by 1
Netherlands v. Hungary – Amsterdam, Netherlands
I wouldn’t be surprised if some supporters blow this one off and head to the Red Light District for a different kind of… nevermind. Hungary is in trouble here. The Dutch have proved time and time again that they don’t care whether they’ve already qualified or not. Their shock draw to Estonia surely proved that they can’t take any time off if they want to keep their record impeccable. A single point here probably doesn’t help Hungary all that much, but I guess it would be better than nothing.
Prediction: Netherlands by 2
Things shouldn’t look any clearer after Friday’s games. This one is going to come down to the wire.
Hungary v. Andorra – Budapest, Hungary
This one is going to be pretty ugly. With Hungary presumed to be behind in both the standings and goal differential, they’ll want to net as many goals as possible. From the start, they’ll be relentless with pressure. This is a surefire 3 points for the Hungarians. The only question is how many goals will they win by?
Prediction: Hungary by 5
Romania v. Estonia – Bucharest, Romania
The reason we favor Romania to advance is simply due to their schedule. Their final two matches are at Andorra and home to Estonia, so there’s really not too much standing in their way. Again, if they hadn’t blown the home match to Turkey, they’d be in the driver’s seat. The best thing they can do here is take all 3 points and hope for the best. They’re certainly capable of the first part. If Hungary doesn’t gain 3 points at Netherlands, 2 Romania wins eliminate them from qualifying.
Prediction: Romania by 4
Turkey v. Netherlands – Istanbul, Turkey
This is the matchup that probably will determine who finishes 2nd in Group D. There’s a distinct possibility that the Dutch could lose their first World Cup Qualifying match in 8 years. Dangle that carrot in front of Turkey, and they may pounce. Just knowing they have the potential to advance with a win will have Istanbul ablaze. In the end, we think the Netherlands is just too tough. Turkey won’t be able to get the 3 points they need.
We expect Romania to advance, and the more goals they score against Estonia the better. It will go a long way to ensuring they progress to the 2nd place play-off. When Group D concludes, we expect the standings to look like this:
Our other UEFA group previews can be seen below. Thanks for reading!
Group A Preview (Belgium, Croatia, Serbia, FYR Macedonia, Scotland, Wales)
Group B Preview (Italy, Bulgaria, Denmark, Czech Republic, Armenia, Malta)
Group C Preview (Germany, Sweden, Austria, Republic of Ireland, Kazakhstan, Faroe Islands)
Group E Preview (Switzerland, Iceland, Slovenia, Norway, Albania, Cyprus)
Group F Preview (Russia, Portugal, Israel, Azerbaijan, Northern Ireland, Luxembourg)
Group G Preview (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Greece, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, Liechtenstein)
Group H Preview (England, Ukraine, Montenegro, Poland, Moldova, San Marino)
Group I Preview (Spain, France, Finland, Georgia, Belarus)