MATCHDAY: England visits Andorra; Denmark on winning run

October 8, 2021 GMT

A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Saturday:



Serbia visits Luxembourg looking to put pressure on group leader Portugal. A win by the Serbs would lift them into the group lead, with one more game played than the Portuguese. Luxembourg is a surprising third after two wins in four games. Ireland makes the long trip to face last-place Azerbaijan looking for its first victory. Portugal will try to keep finely tuned with a friendly against Qatar at Algarve Stadium. Coach Fernando Santos says Cristiano Ronaldo will play.


With group leader Spain busy preparing for Sunday’s Nations League final, the focus is on second-place Sweden. Hosting Kosovo offers the Swedes a chance to cut the four-point gap to Spain and strengthen their hold on second place, which offers another chance to qualify via the playoffs. If Sweden slips up, Greece is third and could boost its own qualifying hopes with a win over Georgia.


Another group missing its leader because Italy is involved in the Nations League. Instead, it’s second against third as Switzerland hosts Northern Ireland. Whatever the result, the Italians will stay comfortable with a six-point lead over Switzerland. Bulgaria visits Lithuania and could close in on Switzerland with a win.


The battle for first place already looks over — France leads by seven points and is on Nations League duty — but the fight for second is close. Ukraine heads to Finland with both teams level on five points. Kazakhstan and Bosnia-Herzegovina have three points apiece before they play in the early game.


Denmark has won all of its six games to date — the only team in Europe to do so — and that means two more victories on Saturday and Tuesday will secure a place at the World Cup. The Danes head to Moldova expecting all three points after demolishing Moldova 8-0 at home in March. Scotland hosts Israel in the seventh game between the teams in the last three years. Austria is fourth and needs a win away at the Faeroe Islands to avoid falling further off the pace in the fight for second place.


England visits Andorra closing in on qualifying after collecting 16 points from a possible 18 — including a 4-0 win over the 156th-ranked team at Wembley last month. The Andorran Football Association says the match is going ahead despite a fire on Friday near the touchline of the plastic pitch. With Kieran Trippier captaining England, regular skipper Harry Kane will be on the bench in the heart of the Pyrenees. It will be the first time a senior England men’s match will be refereed by a woman when Kateryna Monzul of Ukraine takes charge. England’s next opponent on Tuesday is Hungary, which hosts Albania in an empty stadium on Saturday following the racist abuse hurled at Gareth Southgate’s players in Budapest last month. England has a four-point lead over Albania. Poland is a further point behind going into the game against San Marino.


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