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Who will qualify for Poland/Ukraine in 2012? And who will be left to reflect on what might have been over the summer?
Last Updated: September 7, 2011 11:17am
With a maximum of two fixtures remaining for each country in the quest for Euro 2012 qualification, England, Scotland, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Wales have had differing fortunes. Here, skysports.com looks at the best each can hope for and the worst they should fear.
Young: The United man's goal at Wembley keeps England on course for Euro 2012
Friday's impressive 3-0 win in Bulgaria was followed by a disappointing 1-0 win over Wales last night. England were far from at their best but, amid all the criticism of their performance, it should not be lost that they are almost over the qualification line.
With 17 points from their seven games so far, they lead Group G by six points and only Montenegro can catch them. They are six points adrift with two games left - one more than England - and need two wins to top the group.
The two sides face each other next month and, if England can continue their impressive away form and pick up at least a point, they will be there. A defeat would leave Fabio Capello's side hoping Montenegro fail to beat Switzerland in their final game.
Naismith: On target for Scotland to keep alive their dream of qualification
Craig Levein's men cast aside the disappointment of their near miss against the Czech Republic to beat Lithuania 1-0 last night, but their task to get into the play-offs as Group I runners-up remains a stiff one.
They have eight points, 10 shy of runaway leaders Spain, but only two adrift of the Czechs with two games remaining.
Their next fixture takes them to bottom side Liechtenstein and, with the Czechs hosting Spain, Scotland could leapfrog them back into second.
But, a final-round trip to Alicante looms for the Tartan Army and, with the Czechs in Lithuania, Levein and his charges may well have to come away from the home of the world and European champions with a win.
A miserable night in Estonia was sorely felt in Northern Ireland
A once promising campaign in now in tatters for Nigel Worthington and his men, with last night's 4-1 loss in Estonia one of their worst results in recent times.
With two games remaining - at home to Estonia and away to Italy - six points are a must to even give them the slimmest chance of reaching the play-offs.
They are five points adrift of second-placed Serbia and would need them to lose to Italy and Slovenia while winning their own tricky-looking fixtures to progress.
There were more than a few reasons to be cheerful in defeat for Wales
Friday's win over Montenegro and last night's impressive performance at Wembley suggests Wales are at last heading in the right direction under Gary Speed, but unfortunately for them the journey will not be passing through Poland and Ukraine.
They are bottom of Group G with three points from their six games, and even closing wins at home to Switzerland and in Bulgaria will not be enough to take them into second.
Recent performances suggest a brighter future, though, so Speed is likely to use the fixtures as a chance to develop his side further.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
Dunne: A herculean effort from the Villa man kept Russia at bay
Things could barely be tighter in Group B with the Irish second on 15 points, two behind Russia with whom they earned a battling 0-0 draw last night.
That backs-to-the-wall result could well prove to be vital, with fixtures away to Andorra and at home to Armenia to come for Giovanni Trappatoni's men.
Russia's trip to Slovakia could well be the most pivotal remaining game, as any slip could open the door for the Irish to steal top spot.
Two wins will ensure a second-placed finish at least, with a play-off guaranteed and a best runner-up spot a possibility.
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