If Holland’s shock home defeat to Iceland last night taught us anything, it’s that no matter how many nations UEFA allow to enter next summer’s Euro 2016 tournament, there is still the chance that one of the continent’s heavyweights might yet miss out.
Danny Blind’s side now lie in third, six points off an automatic spot with only three games to play. More worryingly for Oranje fans, is that fourth-placed Turkey lie only a point behind.
Even UEFA’s play-off safety net might not be enough to save Holland from the ignominy of failing to quality for the first European Championships to feature a hearty 24 teams.
And with a handful of tentatively poised encounters tonight offering similar chances for upsets, it’ll take a brave punter to predict their outcomes.
Georgia v Scotland
The Scots know that a trip to Tblisi has proven problematic in the past – losing 2-0 here in 2007 in a game that pretty much ended all chances of making it to Euro 2008 – and the worry for Gordon Strachan is that if they fail to claim three points in this game, their next two matches are against the group leaders Poland and world champions Germany.
Add to that the fact that the Republic of Ireland, who lie just two points behind the Tartan Army in fourth, are playing bottom side Gibraltar and there’s no question just how key this match is for Scotland.
Fortunately for Strachan, the Georgians have proven generous to visiting sides so far, conceding eight goals in three home games, while the Scots have had no problem finding the net, scoring in all six of their qualifying games.
Germany v Poland
Any game between these nations brings with it some bite, but with both duking it out at the top of Group D and Germany seeking revenge for a shock 2-0 loss in Poland in October, it’s arguably the tie of the round.
Between the sides they’ve scored 36 goals already, with Robert Lewandowski (seven) and Thomas Muller (five) leading the group’s scoring charts.
Both sides are brimming with attacking talent but with Poland leading the group by a point, don’t expect them to be to arrive with too much attacking intent from the off.
But should the home side take an early lead – they’ve opened the scoring inside half an hour on three occasions in qualifying – then an open encounter should be both entertaining and goal-laden.
Gibraltar v Republic of Ireland
For all the fanfare and joy of Gibraltar finally qualifying for UEFA status and competing in their first Euro qualifier, the brutal reality has been far from fairytale, having shipped a whopping 33 goals in six games so far.
They have at least made their historic mark with their first competitive goal (Lee Casciaro taking the honours against Scotland) and getting their second is probably the best they can hope for, as attempting to keep the Republic of Ireland at bay is not likely to reap much reward.
The Irish haven’t exactly thrilled in the qualifiers so far but at least they haven’t struggled to find the back of the net, their only blank coming away to Scotland.
Most tellingly, the last encounter between the sides saw a Robbie Keane hat-trick feature in a 7-0 win. Expect similar one-way traffic this time round.