Ireland vs Wales is just one of several major World Cup qualifiers this week

Looking ahead to an action packed week of World Cup qualifiers

BY Rob Fanning 17:50 Monday 20 March 2017, 17:50 20 Mar 2017

There are no club matches this weekend as players set their sights on World Cup qualification for Russia 2018. Here are the big games this week:

European qualifiers:

Ireland host Wales on Friday night at the Aviva Stadium. Ireland are top of group D on 10 points having won three out of their four opening games. Wales are sitting in third, four points off the top. If Ireland can take something from their next home and away games, they will be in great shape to qualify for the World Cup.

Group I sees a big game between leaders Croatia and second place Ukraine. A win for Ukraine would see them at the top of the group, one point ahead of their rivals.

Saturday's matches include a Group B encounter between Portugal and Hungary. This was also a fixture in last summer's Euro 2016 group stages. It was an incredible game that finished three each, so there is reason to believe there will be more goals in this one.

Another cracker on Saturday night sees Group H leaders Belgium host Greece. Belgium have four wins from four but a win for Greece will put them one point ahead, it’s all to play for!

Sunday sees England host Lithuania. The English are top of Group F on 10 points.

South American qualifiers:

Luis Suarez will face his team mate Neymar, when Uruguay host Brazil on Thursday evening. A win for Uruguay will put them only one point behind the leaders Brazil.

Another notable clash that night will involve Argentina and Chile (Messi vs Sanchez). Chile sit in fourth place, only one point ahead of Argentina. Both teams will be desperate for a win.

North and Central American qualifiers:

Mexico will face Costa Rica this Friday. The visitors are top of the group, two points ahead of Mexico. The home side will be desperate to pick up a win, which would put them at the top.

USA have lost their opening two matches and sit bottom of the group. They will face Honduras who have one win from two. 

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