Historical chance for Azerbaijan: Kazakhstan, Greece or Luxembourg? - ANALYSIS

14 November 2023 14:11
Historical chance for Azerbaijan: Kazakhstan, Greece or Luxembourg? - ANALYSIS

The matches of the last two rounds of the EURO-2024 qualifying round will start this week.

Idman.biz reports that the Azerbaijani national team will play its last matches during the week. The athletes will face Sweden on November 16 and Belgium on November 19. Gianni de Biasi's team will host the Scandinavians at home, followed by the "red devils".

A formal finish

The last two rounds in group F are formal. Belgium and Austria won two tickets to EURO-2024. The qualifying round for Sweden, Azerbaijan and Estonia ended unsuccessfully again.

Azerbaijan’s not leaving the group is not unexpected. It was predictable even after the draw. Even though Belgium's "golden generation" is in its “twilight”, it is still among the favorites in any group. Austria, which is developing, continues the fight for the first place with the "red devils" until the end. Other teams will compete for the less important FIFA ranking, third place in the group and prestige. All three teams will not refuse to "slam the door" at the end of the cycle.

There's always hope

The end of the qualifying stage does not mean the end everything. It is already the third time that, in parallel with the qualifying stage in Europe, the League of Nations also offers a chance for playoffs for qualification to major tournaments. If the 20 teams of the qualifying round get a ticket to Germany, another 12 teams qualify for the playoffs for 3 places. This time, even after the qualifying stage, Azerbaijan may be among those who have a chance for a historic chance.

In League C of the League of Nations, the Azerbaijani national team finished second in the group where Kazakhstan took first place. De Biasi’s team have the 2nd record among runners-up, i.e. 6th overall in the C league. 4 teams that did not succeed in the qualifying round must advance to the playoffs. This means that if at least two of the group winners (Georgia, Greece, Turkiye, Kazakhstan) and the second-placed team from Luxembourg qualify for EURO-2024 from the qualifying stage, the Azerbaijan national team will be in the play-offs.

He himself advanced and paved the way for our nation

The end of the stage is formal for two out of 5 teams on which the fate of the Azerbaijan national team depends. It is clear as black and white that the place of the Turkish national team, which is quite popular in Azerbaijan, is not in the C league. The "moon-stars" proved this once again, as they were prematurely eliminated from the same qualifying group as rivals such as Croatia and Wales. The qualification of Turkiye to the EURO-2024 was a very glad news for Azerbaijan. "Moon-stars" both booked tickets to Germany and created a chance for us.

Possible competitor

The destiny of Georgia, like Turkiye, has become clear. They have already lost their chance to directly qualify for EURO 2024. Therefore, the neighbors of Azerbaijan, who are sure to participate in the playoffs, secured one of the 4 places here.

Georgia is considered the 1st team of the C league. Therefore, they will face the 4th place in the league in the semi-finals at home. If Azerbaijan is the 4th team to qualify for the playoffs, it will visit Georgia. However, in theory there is still the possibility of entering the playoffs as not only the 4th or 3rd, but even the 2nd team and playing the semi-final at home. It depends on the other three teams - Kazakhstan, Greece and Luxembourg.

The Greeks are still seeking a miracle

If the Greek team, which plays in Group B, had not lost to the Netherlands in the last round, the chance of direct qualification to EURO-2024 would have been more realistic. But now the fate of the representative of Hellas depends on a wonder. Collecting 12 points in 7 games, the Greeks lag behind the "Land of Lilies" only in individual games. But the "Oranges" have not one, but two matches left. Even if the Greeks beats France, who progressed unbeaten and secured the first place in the group, they must hope that the Netherlands do not win in November. It can be hoped that Ireland will at least get a point on the road. However, it does not seem realistic that Gibraltar, who is longing for a score, will "wither" the "Lilies" at home. It is true that the Greeks did a miracle in EURO-2004. But now there are no Otto Rehhagel, nor can they seal the fate. Group B matches will be held on November 18 and 21.

A difficult task for Kazakhstan

In Group H, Kazakhstan has 15 points, leaders Slovenia and Denmark have 19 points each. The Kazakhs, who will meet San Marino first, will be guests of Slovenia in the last round. Until then, if the Balkans, who will face Denmark on the trip, lose in the 9th round, Kazakhstan will go to Germany, and Azerbaijan will go to the playoffs after defeating the outsider first, then its main rival. If Slovenia draws with Denmark, Kazakhstan must beat them by at least two goals. In order for the minimum victory to be sufficient, it is necessary to beat the outsider by at least 7 goals.

A draw with Liechtenstein may not prevent Kazakhstan. For this reason, Slovenia must lose both matches, and the Kazakhs must beat their opponent by at least 2 goals.

If Slovenia wins the trip to Denmark, then we should expect the latter to return from Northern Ireland without a win. Of course, the Kazakhs must win both matches. The games in this group will take place on the 17th and 20th of the month.

"Dwarfs" hope for a sensation

Like Greece, the chances of the Luxembourg national team to make their way to our team are very low. In Group J, Portugal keeps the 1st place without losing any points. Luxembourg, which is 3rd, has 11 points. "Dwarfs" are 5 points behind Slovakia both as a result of individual games. It is not impossible that the Slovaks, who will meet Iceland at home and Bosnia and Herzegovina on the road, will lose in both matches, but it seems very unlikely. If that happens, Luxembourg itself will have to defeat the Bosnians at home and away to underdogs Liechtenstein. These meetings will be held on November 16 and 19.

It should be noted that the semi-final matches of the A, B and C playoffs will be held on March 21, 2024, and the final on March 26.

Hussein Vagif