As some of you may or may not know the World Cup 2018 Qualifying draw is on the 25th July, I will be in North Korea when it is on so I will find out who we get when I get back into China a week later. As I doubt it will be streamed anywhere on North Korean television. Though the way these draws work, the ceremony may not be finished until I am back in the UK.
Unbelievable Wales, for the first time ever, are in Pot 1. Yes that’s right. POT ONE! For the last World Cup draw we were in Pot 6, below the Faroe Islands. Great credit has to go to the late Gary Speed and currently Chris Coleman and the current Wales team for our meteoric rise. Personally though, I still think the rankings system is a load of rubbish (I said this when we were 114th in the World Rankings). Teams are punished by playing friendlies but I won’t complain too much, as it will hopefully help us in future tournaments. But Wales are not the 10th best team in the World.
Anyway, the Pots for the draw next month are as follows:
Pot 1: Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Romania, England, WALES, Portugal, Spain, Croatia
Pot 2: Italy, Slovakia, Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic, France, Iceland, Denmark, Bosnia-Herzegovnia
Pot 3: Poland, Ukraine, Scotland, Hungary, Sweden, Albania, Northern Ireland, Serbia, Greece
Pot 4: Turkey, Slovenia, Israel, Republic of Ireland, Norway, Bulgaria, Faroe Islands, Montenegro, Estonia
Pot 5: Cyprus, Latvia, Armenia, Finland, Belarus, Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Lithuania, Moldova
Pot 6: * Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Georgia, San Marino, Andorra
*Gibraltar are not FIFA affiliated, so are not allowed to enter the World Cup Qualifiers
Now usually, as you all know, Wales never qualify for anything and I only look forward to visiting the different countries across Europe. Macedonia has to be my favourite place so far, closely followed by Andorra. I’ve said before, when else would I get to travel to these type of places if it wasn’t for football?
But as Wales now look like qualifying for the Euros in France I am obviously hoping we continue this trend and make it to Russia too, so I will look at two preferred draws. One of places I’d like to visit and the other of what teams would be ‘easier’ to beat. Here goes:
The ‘Places I’d like to visit’ Group
- Faroe Islands
For years and years I have gone on about the Faroe Islands, I’d love to visit there as I like going to obscure places. I think I may just have to go there on one of my random trips, as it never looks like it’s going to happen and the Euro 2020 qualifying system looks quite confusing.
Wales’s ‘Easiest’ Group *
*I realise that no game is easy
- Faroe Islands
- San Marino
I’ve seen other media outlets suggest Iceland in with Wales’s preferred group, but they are a very good team and look like qualifying themselves for the Euros next year. Denmark aren’t as good as they used to be and San Marino have never won a competitive game.
Hopefully Wales can avoid Italy and France (and England get one of them instead) from Pot 2. But you just know with Wales’s luck in this type of thing, that will probably happen (plus getting both Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan). I know some would argue that Wales shouldn’t fear anyone and I agree to an extent, but I’d still rather avoid playing them.
I look forward to hearing about who we get in the draw a week after everybody else and see you all in France!