Thursday's World Cup Qualifiers preview: Scotland, England and Northern Ireland in action
Last Updated: 05/10/17 9:48pm
The penultimate round of World Cup Qualifiers kicks off live on Sky Sports on Thursday as Scotland and Northern Ireland look to take a step closer to Russia 2018.
Gordon Strachan's Scotland can theoretically still finish top of Group F - currently led by England - but they are likely jostling for a play-off place with Slovakia and Slovenia.
For Strachan's men it's simple; win the two remaining qualifiers at home to Slovakia on Thursday - live on Sky Sports Main Event from 6.55pm - and away to Slovenia on Sunday and the Scots are guaranteed second spot.
But they will also be hoping England do them a favour when Gareth Southgate's side take on third-place Slovenia at Wembley, looking for the victory they need to book their place at next year's World Cup.
Northern Ireland feature live on Sky Sports Football from 7.30pm as they host Germany, who need two points to qualify, and Michael O'Neill's side are well placed to reach the play-offs should Germany seal top spot in Group C.
It's a huge test for Northern Ireland but they have won their last five internationals, their longest ever winning run.
The two remaining fixtures in that group on Thursday - Azerbaijan hosting Czech Republic and Norway's visit to San Marino - involve four nations already eliminated from contention.
Group E leaders Poland need four more points from two fixtures to qualify, with a visit to Armenia up first on Thursday, live on Sky Sports Football from 4.55pm.
In the same group, second-place Montenegro and third-place Denmark face off in a crunch qualifier in Podgorica. The two nations are battling for second and are currently separated by their head-to-head record - Montenegro won the reverse fixture 1-0.
Should Poland slip up then top spot could be in play on the final matchday but even if not the result in Podgorica could dictate who gets the play-off place.
The final fixture in Group E sees Kazakhstan visit Romania with both nations unable to qualify.
There's also a dead rubber in Group F - England and Scotland's group - where bottom of the group Malta host fifth-place Lithuania.
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