Three Big Nations Struggling to Qualify for World Cup 2014

Written by Sebastien on 29 March 2013. Posted in World Cup Blog

With just six months to go until qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil is completed there are some famous names currently in danger of missing out. Here we profile three big nations who are struggling to qualify.

Mexico - Fifth in CONCACAF; One Point Shy of Automatic Qualification Place

Mexico came into the final stage of CONCACAF qualifying in high spirits following the Olympic Gold Medal success of their U-23 side, but have found the going tough so far, having drawn all three of their qualifiers to date.

The CONCACAF hexagonal is incredibly tight, with top and bottom currently separated by just three points, but Mexico will nevertheless be concerned by the fact that they have failed to score in both of their home matches to date, recording 0-0 draws against Jamaica and the United States.

El Tri have toiled and ultimately failed to break down teams whose primary objective has been to sit back and defend. With tough away trips to Jamaica and surprise group-leaders Panama coming up in their next two qualifiers they could find themselves in desperate need of three points when they next play at home, against Costa Rica in mid-June.

Portugal - Third in UEFA Group F; One Point Shy of Automatic Qualification Place

Portugal were 3-1 down and staring qualification failure squarely in the face with twenty minutes to go in their recent match away to Israel, but two late goals, including an injury-time equaliser from Fabio Coentrão, kept them in the fight for a playoff spot.

Russia have two games in hand over the Seleção and look odds on to win Group F, leaving Portugal and Israel to scrap it out over a playoff place. Three of Portugal’s remaining four matches are at home, but their next, against the Russians, will have to be negotiated without star central defender Pepe, who is suspended after picking up a yellow against Azerbaijan.

Israel have a tougher run-in, but Portugal have been far from convincing thus far and will need to improve greatly if they want to have a chance of qualifying through the playoffs - the method by which they qualified for both the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.

Uruguay - Sixth in CONMEBOL; Two Points Shy of Automatic Qualification Place

Uruguay finished fourth at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and followed that success by winning the 2011 Copa America. At that stage they were considered a good outside bet for Brazil 2014, but they are currently in the midst of an alarming run of form that has seen them fail to win any of their last six qualifiers.

Despite possessing the likes of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez up front, Uruguay have scored just three times during their recent poor run, while at the other end of the pitch a mistake-riddled defence have conceded 15 times in the same period.

Uruguay have dropped out of the four automatic and one playoff-dependent qualifying slots and with three away trips and two tough home matches - against Argentina and Colombia - to come, are in serious danger of missing out on the first South American World Cup in 36 years.

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