England Will Lead the Way in World Cup 2018 UEFA Qualifying Group F
The England national football team may have had their worst-ever World Cup performance in 2014, but that fact likely won’t matter at all when it comes time for the squad to start a qualifying campaign for the 2018 tournament. The Three Lions are the clear frontrunner in World Cup 2018 UEFA Qualifying Group F, and should have no problem outpacing the likes of Slovakia, Scotland, Slovenia, Lithuania, and Malta for the top spot and the WC qualification.
A Rise from the Ashes
Granted, England have made something of a 180 since last summer’s World Cup in Brazil. After losing two of their three group stage matches—and drawing the third—the English side bowed out of the cup in 26th place (out of 32 teams). It was easily the worst FIFA finish in history for the Three Lions—who had previously bottomed out at 13th place, in the 2010 World Cup—and it left British soccer fans wondering whether or not their country would ever again be able to compete with the likes of Spain, Germany, Brazil, and Argentina on the world stage.
The strong performance has not just made the wearers of the England away shirt 2014 – 2015 clear front-runners for Euro 2016, but it has also boosted their FIFA ranking to eighth in the world (and sixth among European teams). For good reason, the Three Lions are expected to be the frontrunner in the UEFA’s World Cup Qualifying Group E—even if play won’t commence for the qualifiers until September 4th, 2016.
The Potential Spoiler
If there’s a team in Group E that could spoil England’s World Cup hopes, it’s Slovakia. While the English side has certainly seen a markedly larger number of FIFA cups (14) than Slovakia (just one, since breaking off from Czechoslovakia), the latter soccer squad could still pose a threat, if only based on Euro qualification round stats.
Slovakia’s run in the qualifiers has resulted in 6 wins and 1 draw and 1 loss, these statistics even include a 2-1 win last October over Spain—who have won the last two European Championships, not to mention the 2010 World Cup.
In other words, the Slovakian national football team could be a major dark horse contender to watch not just in the World Cup qualifiers, but also in the tournament itself. In their one WC appearance, in 2010, Slovakia managed to reach the round of 16. Since Slovakia could be looking at their first-ever European Championship berth next year, it stands to reason that their growth could lead to another WC appearance as well.
The Rest of the Field
Slovenia have qualified twice (in 2002 and 2010), but are in England’s group for the Euro 2016 qualifiers and are clearly not on the same level. Lithuania and Malta, finally, have zero WC appearances between them.
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