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Last Updated: Wednesday September 09 2009 08:54 GMT

England one win from World Cup

Hayley previews World Cup qualifiers

England will book their place at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa if they beat Croatia on Wednesday.

The teams meet at Wembley with England at the top in Group Six after seven wins in seven qualifying games.

The big selection question for England seems to be up front, and whether to pick Emile Heskey or in-form Jermain Defoe alongside Wayne Rooney.

The other home nations are also in action, with Scotland and Northern Ireland both playing key games.

Kyle Lafferty
Kyle Lafferty will be missing for Northern Ireland with an injury

Northern Ireland could still win Group Three and qualify automatically for the tournament, and play second-placed Slovakia on Wednesday.

The match is being played at Windsor Park in Belfast, and if the home team win they will overtake Slovakia in the table.

Even if that happens Northern Ireland will still have a lot to do, but it would give them confidence they can reach South Africa.

Scotland can't top Group Nine, as the Netherlands have already won it to qualify.

Chasing second spot

But if Scotland can finish the qualifying campaign in second place they could earn a spot in one of four play-off matches.

Alan Hutton, Darren Fletcher and Kenny Miller
Scotland need a win against the Netherlands

Scotland play the Netherlands at Hampden Park, and need a win to be sure of finishing second.

Even if the Scots do win, and finish second in the group, they still may not qualify for the World Cup.

There are nine European qualifying groups and only the eight best-placed runner up teams will earn play-off spots.

Tough ask for Wales

Wales are also playing and while mathematically they could still finish second it's very, very unlikely.

To keep those faint hopes alive they will have to beat Russia in Group Four, and hope other results go their way.

The Republic of Ireland don't have a qualifying game to play on Wednesday, so played a friendly on Tuesday night.

The match ended 1-0 to the Republic, with Liam Lawrence's free-kick separating the teams.