World Cup Group I Qualification
Qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Group I has taken a somewhat predictable route so far, but the dust does look far from settled. This is the smallest of the groups in the UEFA qualification zone and two of the five spots in the group are occupied by two of the stronger European sides, France and the current European and World Champions, Spain. The Spaniards are looking to retain their world title which they won back at South Africa 2010 and following the drawing of the UEFA qualification groups, there were installed as firm favourites to win the group.
That went without saying really, as France were their only main challenges in the battle for top spot. With Spain beating France comfortably at Euro 2012 in the quarter finals, things were expected to be straightforward for the Spaniards. However, France had different ideas and held the Spanish to a 1-1 draw in the first of the two group meetings. That will keep France in with a good shot of taking top spot from Spain, if Les Bleus score a victory back on home soil against the best side in the world.
So there could be plenty of interest in this group until that France v Spain clash, which will be the game which decides the outcome of the group. So with France and Spain on equal points after their opening three matches each, things fortunately have been kept interesting instead of being all one-sided from the Spaniards. The rest of the quality in the group doesn’t look capable of coming anywhere near to the class of not of Spain, but France as well.
Georgia and Belarus found themselves trailing well behind the top two having each played a game more than the two powerhouses in Brazil 2014 qualification Group I. So it is going to be nothing more than a straight duel between France and Spain for top spot. The second placed team will have to go through a qualification knockout round in order to progress and it would be a surprise to see Spain in that situation. France of course went the play off route in controversial fashion against the Republic of Ireland to make it to the 2010 World Cup.