UEFA World Cup Qualifying: Spain Debut, Italy Should Rebound

Steven Gerrard of England looks on during the FIFA 2014 World Cup qualifier match between Moldova and England. England takes on Ukraine on September 11, 2012. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

UEFA qualifying features some interesting matches on Tuesday. Ukraine travel to England, while Croatia and Belgium fight for the top spot in Group A.

Besides Italy's poor performance in Bulgaria, Friday's UEFA World Cup qualifiers weren't terribly interesting. There still isn't much in the way of truly marquee matchups on Tuesday, but the slate of games is a bit more interesting.

As will be the case throughout qualifying, Group A features three watchable matches. The group isn't loaded with heavy hitters, but is arguably the deepest group in UEFA. Serbia is in need of a win against Wales to keep pace with Belgium and Croatia, who both won their openers and play each other on Tuesday.

Following their draw in Bulgaria, Italy should bounce back at home against Malta. There is one other match in Group B, with Armenia going away to Bulgaria. While no one expects Armenia to qualify for the World Cup, they have enough quality players to keep things annoying for Italy, Denmark and the Czech Republic. They made things tough on Russia and Ireland in Euro 2012 qualifying and will sit on six points if they can do what Italy couldn't and win in Sofia.

After rolling over the Faroe Islands on Friday, Germany faces a slightly tougher test in an away match against Austria. England will also face a big step-up in competition on Tuesday when they host Ukraine. Portugal have their second straight weak opponent in Azerbaijan, while France and the Netherlands each face easier games and should take three points comfortably. Spain opens qualifying away to Georgia, where they should also win comfortably.

Schedule (all times ET)

Cyprus vs. Iceland - 1 p.m.
Israel vs. Russia - 1 p.m.
Romania vs. Andorra - 1:30 p.m.
Georgia vs. Spain - 1:30 p.m.
Bulgaria vs. Armenia - 2 p.m.
Turkey vs. Estonia - 2 p.m.
Norway vs. Slovenia - 2 p.m.
Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Latvia - 2 p.m.
Slovakia vs. Liechtenstein - 2:15 p.m.
Serbia vs. Wales - 2:30 p.m.
Sweden vs. Kazakhstan - 2:30 p.m.
Hungary vs. Netherlands - 2:30 p.m.
Switzerland vs. Albania - 2:30 p.m.
Austria vs. Germany - 2:35 p.m.
Belgium vs. Croatia - 2:45 p.m.
Italy vs. Malta - 2:45 p.m.
Northern Ireland vs. Luxembourg - 2:45 p.m.
Greece vs. Lithuania - 2:45 p.m.
Poland vs. Moldova - 2:45 p.m.
Scotland vs. Macedonia - 3 p.m.
England vs. Ukraine - 3 p.m.
France vs. Belarus - 3 p.m.
Portugal vs. Azerbaijan - 3:15 p.m.

We'll have live coverage of every qualifier in our UEFA 2014 World Cup Qualifying StoryStream. For more on the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter.

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