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With the final two UEFA Nations League matchdays upon us, we wanted to take a look at where each team stands ahead of the 2022 World Cup Qualifying draw in UEFA. The 55 teams will be placed into 6 pots. Each of the first 5 pots will have 10 teams, and Pot 6 will have 5 teams. These teams will be drawn into groups of 5 or 6. The pots will be determined based on the November 2020 FIFA rankings, which will be published following the conclusion of the UEFA Nations League group stage. We are able to calculate the rankings based on projected results to gain some insight on where each team stands.
There are also a number of draw procedures, which can be viewed here: draw procedures
Here’s how things stand as of today, November 13, 2020:
Teams shaded in green are locked into their pots. They cannot move up or down. We’re not going to focus on these teams, as their fate is known.
Also, if you’d like to run simulations of the draw, calculate projected pots, or run every scenario possible, we’ve made this available at your fingertips. Download the spreadsheet here. You can also follow us on Twitter @We_Global where we provide multiple updates daily.
Denmark – Max Points: 1629 – Min Points: 1599 – Projected Pot: 1
Denmark is in pretty decent shape. They only need a point from two matches to remain in Pot 1. Getting something at Belgium may be tough, but a draw at home to Iceland ensures Switzerland cannot pass them. That will be enough to ensure Denmark is in Pot 1 for the draw.
Italy – Max Points: 1625 – Min Points: 1595 – Projected Pot: 1
Italy is also in pretty good shape. One draw will also be enough to solidify their spot in Pot 1. They host Poland before finishing at Bosnia-Herzegovina. No reason this team should not finish in the top pot.
Germany – Max Points: 1625 – Min Points: 1595 – Projected Pot: 1
Germany and Italy are in just about the exact same spot. 1 point from 2 matches will be enough to clinch a spot in Pot 1. Can still wind up in Pot 1 with 2 losses if Switzerland does not win both matches. Germany should be fine in their bid for Pot 1.
Netherlands – Max Points: 1609 – Min Points: 1579 – Projected Pot: 1
The Dutch are not in as solid a position as the teams above them. If Switzerland or Poland do sneak into Pot 1, it will likely be at the expense of the Netherlands. But it’s always better to be in the lead. If Switzerland wins both, the Dutch will need a win and a draw to reach pot 1. If they lose to Poland, it’s wide open. A win against Bosnia would be massive.
Switzerland – Max Points: 1600 – Min Points: 1570 – Projected Pot: 2
Switzerland does have the benefit of playing both matches at home, although seeing Spain is not what you’d like. The Swiss don’t NEED both wins, but it’ll be extremely difficult without it. One loss would seriously damage the chances of reaching Pot 1. But there are some scenarios where they can still make it with a draw at home to Spain and a win over Ukraine. With 1 and 1, a Poland win over Netherlands could open the door for Switzerland if the Dutch also draw Bosnia. Still a lot to play for here.
Poland – Max Points: 1589 – Min Points: 1559 – Projected Pot: 2
Poland cannot pass Denmark, Italy, or Germany. However, they play the Netherlands at home, and can help themselves while hurting a competitor. That’s a luxury Switzerland does not have. Poland actually does not have to win both matches. A win over Netherlands and a draw at Italy works if the Dutch lose to Bosnia. A win over Italy and a Netherlands-Bosnia draw also works. But the win over the Netherlands is a must. Then must at least draw and get some help. Not 100% done yet.
Sweden, Wales, Ukraine, and Austria are all locked into Pot 2.
Here’s where things get interesting. 11 teams are in play for the final 4 spots in Pot 2. Serbia and Turkey appear to be in the best shape, but any number of teams can make a run from Pot 3 to Pot 2 with two wins.
Serbia – Max Points: 1502 – Min Points: 1472 – Projected Pot: 2
Serbia is in an interesting spot. They’ve got a leg up on the rest of the field, but their group is going to drive a lot of what happens for other teams. Serbia, Turkey, Russia, and Hungary in the same group means things are wide open. 4 matches in the group create 81 possible outcomes. As long as Serbia doesn’t lose both matches, they should be fine in Pot 2.
Turkey – Max Points: 1502 – Min Points: 1472 – Projected Pot: 2
Turkey and Serbia are on level footing. They have the same number of points right now, have the same opponents, and the same range of outcomes. Doesn’t get more even than that. Turkey is in the same boat. Don’t lose both matches and you should be fine to stay in Pot 2.
Slovakia – Max Points: 1493 – Min Points: 1463 – Projected Pot: 2
Slovakia is a bit more at risk, particularly because they play Scotland directly. If they win that match, they could be alright. Slovakia needs to not lose ground. 4 points is enough to stay up. 3 points or 2 points also could be close with Ireland. Anything less than that and Slovakia is in serious danger.
Russia – Max Points: 1491 – Min Points: 1461 – Projected Pot: 2
Russia is in the unfortunate position that they play both Serbia and Turkey, who are also fighting to stay in Pot 2. Not only that, both games are on the road. Russia needs to avoid a defeat. Two draws may be enough to fight off Ireland, but if they do lose a game to either Serbia or Turkey, Russia could be headed to Pot 3. Russia is the team to watch for anyone in Pot 3 looking to move up. You should be hoping Russia drops two matches, as their minimum points, 1461, is less than the maximum of each team below.
*** Again, if you’d like to run simulations of the draw, calculate projected pots, or run every scenario possible, we’ve made this available at your fingertips. Download the spreadsheet here. ***
The Czech Republic is the only team currently locked into Pot 3.
Republic of Ireland – Max Points: 1479 – Min Points: 1449 – Projected Pot: 3
First man up. Playing at England was not wise, but not a deal breaker. Ireland could even get into Pot 2 if Russia loses both by simply drawing both of their matches. However, there’s a lot to watch out for below, and simply standing pat at 1464 is not wise. Ireland dropped 3.16 points in the loss to England. May not seem like much, but when it’s this close, every point matters. Ireland is at Wales before hosting Bulgaria. They’d be best suited to at least get a draw at Wales, and they almost certainly must beat Bulgaria. Two wins will almost certainly be enough as the teams above them eat each others’ faces.
Romania – Max Points: 1473 – Min Points: 1443 – Projected Pot: 3
Another team that’s directly competing with teams still with a chance to reach Pot 2. Romania hosts Norway before heading to Northern Ireland. That will not be easy. Two wins are not mandatory, but it will take at least 4 points to move up. Anything less than 4 points and Romania cannot pass the Pot 2 teams. If Romania gets 4 points, Russia must lose both games.
Norway – Max Points: 1472 – Min Points: 1442 – Projected Pot: 3
Almost the exact same situation as Romania. These two teams play each other. If a team does lose, that team will be locked into Pot 3. Norway unfortunately plays both matches on the road. At Romania before a game at Austria. Norway could sneak into Pot 2 with 4 points if things go their way, but the teams behind could also pass. 2 wins and some help could get Norway through.
Scotland – Max Points: 1466 – Min Points: 1436 – Projected Pot: 3
Now you start getting to the point where you have to worry not only about the Pot 2 teams, but also the Pot 3 teams. Scotland must win both matches. Absolutely mandatory to get into Pot 2. Then, you’re rooting against everyone else. Slovakia, Russia, Ireland, Romania, Norway, Hungary, Iceland. Slovakia, Russia need to lose both to pass. Ireland cannot pickup more than 3 points. Romania and Norway are passable with 4 points. And Hungary and Iceland have to not win both. While this may sound like a lot, it’s definitely not impossible.
Hungary – Max Points: 1468 – Min Points: 1438 – Projected Pot: 3
Hungary has a bit of a leg up in that it plays teams higher in the rankings. That means more opportunity for points. They can finish with more points than Scotland with 2 wins. Again, they must win both to have a chance. Both matches are at home, which helps. They get Serbia and Turkey, however, which is going to be tough. Most of the same stipulations as Scotland apply.
Iceland – Max Points: 1468 – Min Points: 1438 – Projected Pot: 3
Being in League A sure is fun. Iceland, while still alive for Pot 2, has by far the lowest chance of getting there. They must win at Denmark and win at England to even be in the discussion. Then they need help, just like Scotland and Hungary. Are they mathematically still alive? Yes. Are they going to get to Pot 2? Probably not.
Northern Ireland – Max Points: 1462 – Min Points: 1432 – Projected Pot: 3
You may think Northern Ireland is too far gone, but that’s not the case. They can still pass Russia. They need A LOT of help. They must win both matches. Russia must lose both matches. Ireland cannot get more than 1 point. Romania, Norway, Scotland, Hungary, and Iceland cannot get more than 4 points. A path to Pot 2 exists, but it is highly unlikely. If they did make it, it would be by a single point.
Bosnia-Herzegovina – Max Points: 1440 – Min Points: 1410 – Projected Pot: 4
Unfortunately for Bosnia, like Iceland, they have the (mis)fortune of playing in League A. That means matches against Netherlands and Italy to try to stay alive in Pot 3. We don’t like their chances. They need at least something. One point. That will put the pressure on Finland to win both. Ultimately, we think Bosnia misses out. We think Bosnia loses both, Finland grabs a draw in Bulgaria, and pips Bosnia for the final spot in Pot 3.
Greece – Max Points: 1420 – Min Points: 1390 – Projected Pot: 3
Unlike every other team listed thus far, Greece is in League C and has the fortune of playing Moldova. It doesn’t mean much in terms of points, but not losing ground is the key here. If Bosnia loses both, Greece would only need a win over Moldova and a draw against Slovenia at home to stay in Pot 3.
Finland – Max Points: 1426 – Min Points: 1397 – Projected Pot: 3
All things considered, Finland is not in a bad spot. They’re currently a point behind Greece and 10 points behind Bosnia-Herzegovina. They do have two road games, however, at Bulgaria and Wales. If their performance against France told you anything, they’re not concerned about playing away from home. A win at Bulgaria could even be enough if Bosnia loses both games. They need to win at least one and get some help, likely from Bosnia.
Slovenia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Georgia, Israel, and Belarus are all locked into Pot 4.
Luxembourg – Max Points: 1258 – Min Points: 1228 – Projected Pot: 4
Luxembourg can clinch a spot in Pot 4 with a draw against Cyprus. That’s it. If they do lose, they can still get in with a win against Azerbaijan. Or, as long as their result matches Cyprus, they’ll be in. Armenia is lurking, however. Luxembourg is best off just getting the job done against Cyprus.
Cyprus – Max Points: 1239 – Min Points: 1209 – Projected Pot: 5
Cyprus absolutely must beat Luxembourg at home to get into Pot 4. Then, their result must be better than Luxembourg. A win and Luxembourg draw works. A draw and Luxembourg loss works in their final fixture. That’s the path for Cyprus.
Armenia – Max Points: 1233 – Min Points: 1203 – Projected Pot: 5
Armenia has one, and only one path to Pot 4. They must win both matches, Cyprus must beat Luxembourg, and Cyprus/Luxembourg must lose their other match. That’s the only path to Pot 4 for Armenia.
Faroe Islands, Estonia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Lithuania, Latvia, and Andorra are all locked into Pot 5.
Pot 6 will be comprised of Moldova, Malta, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar and San Marino.
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