Liverpool and Ajax have both already equalified for the knockout stage of the Champions League with two group games to spare. They join Juventus and Bayern Munich in the last 16 of the competition, while the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Paris St-Germain also look well-placed to qualify.
However, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United are among a number of clubs with work still to do.
Here is the state of play going into the last two rounds of group matches.
Who is through to the knockout stage?
Qualifiers: Liverpool, Ajax, Bayern Munich, Juventus
Out: Besiktas, RB Leipzig, Malmo Read more... (958 words, estimated 3:50 mins reading time)
With one year to go until the 2022 World Cup gets under way in Qatar, several nations have now booked their place – while others must face a nervous wait.
A dramatic final round of fixtures in European qualifying drew to a close on Tuesday, with reigning world champions France and Gareth Southgate’s England among those to secure their spots.
However, there will be some big names in Europe’s play-off deciders in March – plus there’s plenty still yet to be decided around the rest of the world, with 13 of the 32 spots now taken. Read more... (622 words, estimated 2:29 mins reading time)
Steve Clarke admits Scotland are feeling the love of the Tartan Army again after they clinched their place as World Cup play-off seeds.
The biggest and best win of his time in charge saw the Scots beat Euro 2020 semi-finalists Denmark 2-0 – wrecking the runaway group winners’ perfect record – and securing a one-off semi-final at Hampden in March.
John Souttar capped a stunning comeback from his injury hell by claiming his first international goal before half-time.
Man of the match Che Adams sent Hampden into raptures with a clinical finish for the killer second goal four minutes from time against the team rated 10th in the world rankings. Read more... (522 words, estimated 2:05 mins reading time)
Roberto Mancini bullishly claimed that Italy are ‘still a great team’ despite missing out on automatic qualification to next year’s World Cup this past week.
The Azzurri were held to a 0-0 draw by Northern Ireland on Monday night which meant the Euro 2020 winners failed to top a group involving the British side, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Lithuania.
Italy, who finished behind Switzerland who won their crucial qualifier against Bulgaria 4-0, now need to qualify for the Qatar World Cup via the play-offs in March – with Mancini rueing the missed opportunities his side failed to take. Read more... (327 words, estimated 1:18 mins reading time)
Alvaro Morata’s late goal helped Spain qualify for the 2022 World Cup and consigned Sweden to the play-offs. Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen tipped Dani Olmo’s shot on to the crossbar with Morata on hand to tap the ball in after 86 minutes. The result means Spain have qualified for a 12th consecutive World Cup finals.
Luis Enrique’s side needed just a point to top Group B while Sweden needed to win to finish above their opponents.
Spain started the brighter with winger Pablo Sarabia curling an effort narrowly wide from 20 yards in the opening exchanges. Read more... (495 words, estimated 1:59 mins reading time)
A strong Belgium side were hardly at their best in Brussels but did enough against Estonia to ensure they will in Qatar.
In Brussels, Belgium created a first chance after five minutes when Benteke cut inside and fired a left-footed shot that took a deflection over the crossbar. Belgium took the lead six minutes later after Estonia goalkeeper Matvei Igonen failed to clear a low cross from Carrasco, releasing the ball into Benteke’s path. The Crystal Palace striker collected the ball and scored with a simple tap-in from close range. Read more... (506 words, estimated 2:01 mins reading time)
The Netherlands threw their chances of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar into doubt after conceding two goals late to Montenegro on Saturday/
With eight minutes left in Montenegro the situation in Group G seemed clear. Memphis Depay had seemingly carried the Netherlands to the top spot while Norway were to pay the price for their dropped points in Latvia. However a stunning late brace from Montenegro forced a draw, leaving everything up for grabs going into the final round of games. Read more... (603 words, estimated 2:25 mins reading time)
Kylian Mbappe scored his first hat-trick for France as the reigning world champions secured their place at next year’s World Cup in Qatar in style by thrashing Kazakhstan.
Mbappe got four of the eight goals, with the striker’s first three coming in the opening 30 minutes. He completed the rout with a late fourth. Mbappe’s hat-trick was the first by a France player in a competitive international since Dominique Rocheteau in 1985.
Karim Benzema got two after the break. Adrien Rabiot and Antoine Griezmann, with a penalty, were the other scorers. Read more... (386 words, estimated 1:33 mins reading time)
The domination continued. The United States men’s national team earned its third win over rival Mexico in 2021, taking down El Tri 2-0 on Friday night in a crucial World Cup qualifier.
Substitute Christian Pulisic, who just came back from a long injury layoff at club Chelsea, was the hero yet again against the neighbors to the south, scoring in the 74th minute. He was only on the pitch for five minutes before delivering with his second touch of the game, heading home from in front of goal off a lovely assist from Tim Weah down the right. Pulisic scored the winner against Mexico in the Concacaf Nations League final in June, as well. Read more... (460 words, estimated 1:50 mins reading time)
Barcelona has announced the appointment of club legend Xavi Hernández as the club’s new coach on a deal that includes the remainder of the current season plus two additional seasons.
He replaces Ronald Koeman, who was sacked last month following a dismal start to the season.
Xavi made a record 767 appearances for Barcelona, winning eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues during his time at the Catalan club.
He also played a key role during Spain’s dominant run from 2008 to 2012 when the country won the World Cup and two European Championships. Read more... (612 words, estimated 2:27 mins reading time)