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Weekend Boxset: UEFA and CAF World Cup qualifiers

Seven great matches to take you from Friday to Sunday. It’s the Sound of Football Weekend Boxset.

All times are BST (GMT +1)


World Cup Qualification, CAF Group B: Nigeria v Cameroon
17.00 on BT Sport 2
Match days 3 and 4 in the last stage of African qualifiers sees all the remaining teams involved in double headers. With two wins from two, Nigeria are set fair to take top spot in Group B and the only qualification place for next summer’s World Cup. While Cameroon have had a slow start - drawing their first two games against the other teams in the group, Zambia and Algeria - a win here and another in the return fixture in Yaoundé on Monday (also on BT Sport 2, 18.00) will see them go top of what was always going to be a fiercely competitive group. Over the international break BT Sport will also be showing the Group D match Senegal v Burkina Faso on Saturday, 21.00 and the Group C match Ivory Coast v Gabon on Tuesday 18.30.

World Cup Qualification, UEFA Group F: Lithuania v Scotland
19.45 on Sky Sports Football
James McArthur’s last minute equaliser at Hampden Park against Lithuania back in October spared at least some blushes for Gordon Strachan’s side but dropping two vital points there has given them a stiff challenge if they are to get to the play off position of Group F. The win they need here shouldn’t be beyond their powers and with Slovakia and Slovenia facing each other at the same time (a match you can see on the Sky Sports Red Button) this is the perfect opportunity for Scotland to get their qualification campaign back on track. Unbeaten for their first three games in the group, Lithuania went on to lose their next three but can draw level with the Scots with a win here. Hearts fans will remember the Lithuanian head coach, Edgaras Jankaukas, as a loan signing in 2006 and as assistant manager for the 2012/13 season. Oh yeah, and England are playing in Malta on ITV.


League One: Portsmouth v Rotherham
14.30 on Sky Sports Football
There is some domestic action to found this weekend with a full list of League One and League Two fixtures. Last season Portsmouth won 26 games on their way to the League Two title while Rotherham won just five on their way to finishing 19 points adrift at the bottom of the Championship. Both sides are adjusting to life at a new level, with both teams winning just one of their first four games. Kenny Jackett is the man in charge of Portsmouth these days, he spent just 39 days in charge of Rotherham last autumn before resigning. If the Millers do get a result here it will be their first away win since April 2016.

World Cup Qualification, UEFA Group D: Georgia v Ireland
17.00 on Sky Sports Football
Given their successful campaign so far, this should be a straightforward win for the Irish, and with Serbia playing bottom of the table Moldova, they will need the win if they want to remain joint top of Group D when they face the Serbians in Dublin next week. Martin O’Neill’s side may be short of star names but it certainly isn’t short of regular Premier League starters or international experience: should he be selected, Jonathan Walters will be the latest player to earn his 50th cap. For Georgia, San Jose Earthquake’s new designated player Valeri Qazaishvili is their leading scorer in qualifying and has made the near 7000 mile trip to start. Back in October, the Irish ground out a 1-0 win against the Georgians at the Aviva but conceded the majority of possession - expect more of the same here.

World Cup Qualification, UEFA Group D: Wales v Austria
19.45 on Sky Sports Football & S4C
Although still unbeaten, five draws from their six games has left Wales four points behind the leading sides in Group D. Austria would also have fancied their chances to get through from this group but are level with Wales on points albeit with less consistent results. With just three games remaining after this one, it’s make or break for both teams. The reverse fixture in Vienna finished 2-2 with West Ham’s Marko Arnautovic equalising twice. Wales will need to win this and their next two if they are to have anything to go for when they face the Irish in Cardiff in the final match of qualification. Alternative viewing: Spain host Italy on ITV 4 to effectively decide who win will Group G and who will go into the play offs.


World Cup Qualification, UEFA Group A: Netherlands v Bulgaria
17.00 on Sky Sports Football
The 4-0 defeat to France on Thursday has seen the Netherlands slip to fourth in Group A while leaving the French, with home games against Belarus and Luxembourg to come, clear to take the automatic qualification spot. Bulgaria’s 3-2 victory over Sweden on the same night was their fourth home win from four in qualification - including a 2-0 win over the Dutch. Unfortunately for them they’ve lost all three of their away games, otherwise they’d be in the play off spot. The play offs will only be a realistic ambition if they win here but while the Dutch are bad, they’re not that bad. On second thoughts, maybe they are.

World Cup Qualification, UEFA Group H: Greece v Belgium
19.45 on Sky Sports Football
Following their 9-0 win over Gibraltar, victory for Belgium in this game will confirm their qualification as winners of Group H with two games still to play. For Greece their goalless draw with Estonia on Thursday was their fourth in a row in qualifying and has kept Bosnia in the race for the play off spot despite them losing away to Cyprus (who might also think they have a chance of snatching it). Though to be honest, I just can’t shake the feeling that this group is just here to provide Italy with a beatable play off opponent.

Whatever you watch, have a great weekend


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