Day 5 of the European October qualifiers is upon us. On Monday night we will find out which two teams will join Spain in Russia next summer. The 2010 world champions will play away in Israel and they have already booked their place for the biggest football tournament.
However, the spots in groups D and I are still open. After Poland’s qualification on Sunday night, it remains to be seen which two sides will be the best in their respective groups. Serbia, Wales and Republic of Ireland are fighting it in Group D, while Iceland, Croatia and Ukraine are solving their matters in Group I.
Manchester United fans will have three players to watch for on Monday night – Nemanja Matic, David De Gea and Matteo Darmian
Serbia v Georgia: The Final For The Hosts
We have been talking about Serbia on Friday when they had the first of the two chances to reach the World Cup. They played in Austria, but played poorly throughout. Marko Arnautovic was spirited against the team he could have played for. Him playing well mixed with Serbia’s poor defending meant a 3-2 win for the hosts.
With Wales and Republic of Ireland winning their respective matches, it all led to Serbia having a point and points lead in front of the two sides. This means Serbia must win in Belgrade against Georgia if they want to be sure of direct qualification. The opponent has nothing to play for, but that was the case with Austria as well.
Nemanja Matic was one of the rare bright spots in Serbia’s loss to Austria, managing to score a late equaliser. However, that was not enough for Slavoljub Muslin’s team and now they will have to try again. Matic has been playing more offensively than he usually does at Manchester United. His set of skills will be much needed for his team-mates and they will need to show improvements too.
Albania v Italy: Play-off Preparations
Everything is solved in Group G. Italy will play in Albania in their final match of the group stage knowing the play-offs await them. The 4-0 loss to Spain in Madrid was always going to be enough for Julen Lopetegui’s side and Italy’s 1-1 draw against Macedonia on Friday just confirmed that officially.
Matteo Darmian played whole 90 minutes in that match and he might again against Albania. Italy will have to prepare for the November matches as they wait to find out their opponents. The Azzurri will probably be amongst the seeded sides. They will have to find way to overcome the obstacles in front of them.
Israel v Spain: World Cup-Bound And Resting Key Players
The final match on Monday with a Manchester United player in their team will be played in Israel. Spain has already qualified for the World Cup and will probably use this match to try out some younger players.
That could mean David De Gea will stay on the bench this time, giving a chance to other quality goalkeepers Spain has. Manchester United goalkeeper has been immense for them in recent years and these qualifiers proved to be easy as well. Resting De Gea in this unimportant match could mean a lot to the Red Devils. Especially as their next match is the derby clash against Liverpool next weekend.