It is going to be an important couple of weeks for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as all four teams seek enhance their prospects of qualifying for the World Cup in Qatar in December 2022.

All of the teams face at least two or even three crucial World Cup Qualifiers over the next 10 days or so and the results of these games could have a massive impact on the chances of any of the home nations reaching the finals, either as a group winner, or perhaps earning a chance to qualify as a runner up via the playoffs.

After a good summer for England, Scotland and Wales at the Euros, these three teams, as well as the Northern Irish, will be hoping that they can improve their situation in their respective groups over the next couple of weeks.

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All the home nations are in action over the three separate matchdays and by the end of this two-week period, we should know what the chances are of any of the four teams making it through to Qatar as a group winner, who stands a chance of a playoff spot and who is likely to be watching at home in December 2022.

Let’s now take a look at the four home nations and the games that they have coming up over the coming 10 days or so.

World Cup Qualifiers – Home Nations

Any friendly games teams have during this period are shown in italics. All odds shown were correct with bet365 Sport as of Monday 30th August 2021.

England

  • Matchday 4 – V Hungary (A)
  • Matchday 5 – V Andorra (H)
  • Matchday 6 – V Poland (A)

England currently sit at the top of Group I with maximum points from their three games. However, this set of fixtures is likely to be the pivotal one in terms of their chances of winning the group with the two most difficult away fixtures taking place within a week of each other.

The Three Lions start in Budapest, where a talented Hungary side performed well in the European Championships, pushing Germany, France and Portugal hard in Group F. England will know that the Hungarians, who lie second in the group two points behind England, will be no pushovers, especially with a win giving them top spot after four games.

England then face a straightforward home game against Andorra at Wembley, which they should win comfortably, before they head out to Warsaw to take on a Poland side who have just four points from their three games so far. England have beaten the Poles 2-1 in their last game of the qualifiers back in March.

So, with two crucial away games to come, this could be a pivotal time for Gareth Southgate’s team. Three wins will all but ensure they top this group. Anything less than that could leave the Three Lions needing to pick up key wins in their final four games.

Predictions:

  • Hungary 1-2 England (15/2)
  • England 4-0 Andorra
  • Poland 1-1 England

Scotland

  • Matchday 4 – V Denmark (A)
  • Matchday 5 – V Moldova (H)
  • Matchday 6 – V Austria (A)

Scotland lie second in Group F behind Denmark, but with Israel and Austria hot on their heels. Like England, this is a pivotal set of games for the Scots, with tough away games against Denmark and Austria either side of a must-win home game against Moldova.

Steve Clarke’s team are unbeaten so far in the tournament and that keeps them second in the group behind the Danes who have been the star performers so far. That trip to Copenhagen therefore looks very tricky for the Scots and if they can get anything from that game, it would be a massive result.

Scotland have slipped up before at home to lesser opponents, but they should do enough to beat Moldova which sets up arguably the key game for the Scots this week, a trip to Austria where they will be hoping they can snatch at least a point against a side which is difficult to score against, but who don’t offer too much of a goalscoring threat the other way.

Clarke would love five or six points from these games, but it could be very tricky for the Scots to land that, even despite their improved form in this competition earlier this year.

Predictions:

  • Denmark 2-0 Scotland (5/1)
  • Scotland 2-0 Moldova
  • Austria 1-1 Scotland

Wales

  • Matchday 4 – V Finland (A) (Friendly)
  • Matchday 5 – V Belarus (A)
  • Matchday 6 – V Estonia (H)

The Welsh begin their break with a friendly away to Finland in preparation for a key game for them away to Belarus. The Welsh lie third in a difficult Group E behind Belgium and the Czech Republic, however they have a game in hand on both those teams and if they can win both their qualifier games in this break that will really put the pressure on the top two.

However, Belarus also have three points from their two games and a win for them would unexpectedly catapult them into the equation too. So this really is a pivotal game for the Welsh and a win is a must.

They then finish off with a very winnable home game against Estonia, who have been the whipping boys of the group so far, conceding ten goals in the two games they have played and as such, Wales should be confident of landing the win here.

Predictions:

  • Finland 1-1 Wales
  • Belarus 0-1 Wales
  • Wales 3-0 Estonia

Northern Ireland

  • Matchday 4 – V Lithuania (A)
  • Matchday 5 – V Estonia (A) (Friendly)
  • Matchday 6 – V Switzerland (H)

Drawn into a group that also contained Euro 2020 winners Italy as well as a very talented Switzerland side, qualifying for the World Cup Finals always looked a long shot for Northern Ireland and after picking up just one point from their opening two games, and now five points behind the Swiss in second place in the group, that dream does look even further away.

However, they should be able to get their first win in the group away to Lithuania, who have lost both their opening games in the tournament.

They then stay in the Baltics for a friendly against Estonia, which will serve as the warm up to their next game, which is a much more difficult task against the talented Swiss. Windsor Park is a tough place to go and get a result though and the Irish will enjoy great support there.

However, I still feel that this is a very strong Swiss team and that they will be fired up to get a positive result here to keep themselves hot on the heels of the Italians.

Predictions:

  • Lithuania 0-1 Northern Ireland (9/2)
  • Estonia 0-0 Northern Ireland
  • Northern Ireland 0-2 Switzerland

It promises to be a pivotal set of games over the next couple of weeks that will have a considerable impact on which teams eventually make it through to the finals in Qatar in December 2022.