2014 World Cup Update: 16 Playing for 8

Today and Wednesday are the last days of qualification for the World Cup finals. After that, all that remains is the draw on December 6th at 1:00 PM Eastern.
As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.
Two games remain in the 3rd Round.

  • Ghana @ Egypt (11:00 AM): Bob Bradley and the Pharaohs face incredibly long odds down 6-1 on aggregate to Ghana.
  • Burkina Faso @ Algeria (3:15 PM): This one is close, as Burkina Faso is up 3-2 at the moment. However, the 1 goal margin means all sorts of crazy away goals rules are in play, so keep an eye out on this one.

Four games remain in the 2nd Round.

  • Greece @ Romania (2:00 PM, espn3.com): The Greeks got an important late goal to go up 3-1 at home, but a 2-0 win at home for the Romanians will put them through thanks to away goals.
  • Iceland @ Croatia (2:15 PM, espn3.com): Iceland can properly be described as “plucky” as they attempt to become the smallest nation to ever qualify for a World Cup. They held Croatia to a 0-0 draw at home, which makes their task on the return leg that much harder, but even a 1-1 draw would do thanks to away goals.
  • Portugal @ Sweden (2:45 PM, espn3.com): Ronaldo beat Zlatan with an 82nd minute header last week. More importantly, Portugal was the side that looked like more of a team with a superstar and just a one-man show.
  • Ukraine @ France (3:00 PM, espn3.com): The Ukrainians mostly outclassed the French last week on their way to a 2-0 home win. The French have a lot of work to do to avoid missing their first World Cup since 1994.

Inter-confederation Playoffs
Both these games take place on Wednesday.

  • Mexico @ New Zealand (1:00 AM, ESPN): Mexico finally looked like Mexico last week and soundly defeated an inferior opponent at the Azteca for the first time in away. That 5-1 drubbing makes it nearly impossible for the All Whites to make consecutive trips to the World Cup for the first time ever.
  • Jordan @ Uruguay (6:00 PM, espn3.com): Uruguay also took care of business last week, winning 5-0 in Amman. The return leg should be a victory lap for La Celeste.

That’s about it.