Following the decision to expand the European Championship finals to 24 teams, Sky Sports takes a look at five teams who share Wales and Northern Irelands hopes of qualifying for the tournament for the first time. A Gareth Bale-inspired Wales have soared to the top of the Group B standings of the European Qualifiers, while Michael ONeills Northern Ireland remain just one point behind Group F leaders Romania. The two sides are agonisingly close to reaching their first Euro finals - alongside five other hopefuls.With Iceland, Israel, Cyprus, Slovakia and Albania all vying for a spot in next summers tournament in France, David Bowers examines the quintets campaigns ahead of this weeks crucial qualifiers. ICELAND Iceland top Group A after winning five of their six European Qualifiers so far The story so farDespite being drawn in Group A alongside 1988 champions Netherlands and former semi-finalists Turkey (2008) and Czech Republic (2004), Iceland are in pole position to secure automatic qualification for next summers tournament in France.Following comfortable 3-0 wins over Turkey and Latvia, the Scandinavian side secured a sensational 2-0 victory over the Netherlands in Reykjavik in October 2014 to further boost their hopes of qualification - although those hopes were slightly dented after their 2-1 defeat to the Czechs a month later.However, Iceland bounced back in March to claim a 3-0 win over bottom-side Kazakhstan, before a hugely important 2-1 victory over their Czech counterparts sent them two points clear at the top of the standings. A tricky fixture in Amsterdam awaits on Thursday, September 3, before they play host to Kazakhstan and Latvia, with a trip to Turkey finishing off proceedings in October. Despite two tough away trips, the snappily-nicknamed Strakarnir okkar (Our boys) will be in high spirits having accumulated 15 points over six games, while conceding just three goals in the process.Star player - Gylfi Sigurdsson Watch Gylfi Sigurdsson score his and Icelands second goal in their impressive 2-0 win over the Netherlands in Reykjavik in October Fans of the Premier League will need no introduction to the talented Sigurdsson; a wonderfully effortless playmaker who possesses supreme technical ability.The Swansea midfielders four goals - which includes a brace against the Netherlands - have been crucial in Icelands surge towards the top of the standings. The 25-year-old tops Group As goalscoring charts alongside Klaas-Jan Huntelaar of the Netherlands and Czech Republics Borek Dockal.Coaches - Lars Lagerback and Heimir Hallgrimsson Lars Lagerback (left) will give co-manager Heimir Hallgrimsson full control after Euro 2016 Unusually, Iceland are co-managed by former Sweden coach Lagerback and ex-IBV boss Hallgrimsson.Lagerback led Sweden to qualification for every European Championship finals during his spell from 2000 to 2009, which includes a spot in the 2004 quarter-finals, where they were cruelly knocked out on penalties by Group A rivals Netherlands.Meanwhile, 48-year-old Hallgrimsson took charge of Icelandic side IBV in 2006 and, despite suffering relegation in 2007, managed to secure two third-place finishes in a row in 2010 and 2011. Following next summers tournament, Lagerback will retire, with his co-boss set to take over the reins.The duo have opted to deploy a rigid 4-4-2 system so far, with Sigurdsson occasionally operating as a striker alongside Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, who has just moved to French side Nantes following spells at Dutch clubs AZ Alkmaar and Ajax.UK-based playersCardiff City midfielder Aron Gunnarsson captains Iceland and has 51 caps for the country, alongside Charlton Athletics 24-year-old winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson and the aforementioned Sigurdsson.Interesting statistic Eidur Gudjohnsen came on as a substitute for his father in an Iceland fixture in 1996 Former Chelsea striker Eidur Gudjohnsen - who was called-up for the game with Czech Republic in June - made his international debut in 1996 by replacing his father Arnor, which was the first time a father and son had played in the same international match.Experts view - Icelandic football analyst @johanno12Whats been the key to Icelands success in qualifying thus far?The stability in the starting lineup has been a big factor. It has been the same through most games while there have been no injuries to key players. That, coupled with how highly organised the team is under Lagerback and Hallgrimsson, has made Iceland into a well-drilled machine.Can they finish the job and reach the finals?Two wins out of the last four should see them through, as the Netherlands and the Czech Republic still have to play each other. Iceland has home games against Kazahkstan and Latvia that, with all due respect, they should win. Icelands games away to the Netherlands on Thursday September 3 (7.40pm) and at home to Kazakhstan on Sunday September 6 (7.45pm, Red Button) are both live on Sky Sports 1 HD.ISRAEL Israel are just two points behind second-placed Belgium in Group B The story so farWales heroics have undoubtedly dominated the Group B headlines, but the impressive Israel have silenced many critics during their qualifying campaign.The Middle Eastern side got off to the perfect start following successive wins over Cyprus, Andorra and Bosnia and Herzegovina, scoring nine goals in the process to send them to the top of the standings.However, defeats to Wales, Belgium and Bosnia have moved them down into third place; leaving them two points behind Belgium and four adrift of Chris Colemans Wales.Israels next home games are against relatively comfortable opposition in Andorra (September 3) and Cyprus (October 10), but difficult trips to Wales (September 6) and Belgium (October 13) await. Any results other than victories in Haifa on Thursday and Jerusalem next month are likely to end Israels dreams of qualification, but a glimmer of hope remains.Star player - Omer Damari Omer Damaris goals have helped Israel keep the pressure on Group B leaders Wales and Belgium Damaris five goals during Israels first three games - including a hat-trick against Andorra - have made him the joint-top scorer in Group B alongside Welshman Bale and Bosnias Edin Dzeko.The Red Bull Salzburg striker is one of nine players to have scored five goals during qualifying, with Polands Robert Lewandowski (seven) and Englands Danny Welbeck (six) the only strikers to have managed more.Having scored half of his sides goal tally in the group, an injury to Damari has dealt a huge blow to Israels chances of qualification - with the 26-year-old expected to miss the double-header with Andorra and Wales due to a broken foot.Coach - Eli Guttman Eli Guttman took charge of the Israeli national side in 2011 Guttman has been in charge of Israel since 2011 and has won eight games during a 26-game spell, leaving the 57-year-old with a 30.77% win percentage. During a 23-year career as a coach, Guttman has managed 11 different clubs across Israel and Cyprus, and helped lead Hapoel Tel Aviv to their first Champions League group stage qualification in the 2010/11 season.Guttman has opted to use various formations throughout Israels tournament so far, with a 4-5-1 tactic helping his side to a comfortable 4-1 win over Andorra and a hugely impressive 3-0 victory over Bosnia.However, having played a different 4-3-3 formation during the defeats to Wales, Belgium and Bosnia, Guttman could revert to his trusty 4-5-1 for the next round of fixtures.UK-based players Brighton midfielder Beram Kayal has made 26 appearances for Israel since 2008 Brighton duo Beram Kayal and Tomer Hemed were both included in Guttmans squad for their match with Bosnia and Herzegovina on June 12, alongside Kayals former Celtic teammate Nir Bitton.Interesting statisticIsrael remained unbeaten throughout their World Cup 2006 qualifying campaign (W4 D6), yet failed to progress through to the tournament after losing out to Switzerland on goal difference.Experts view - Israeli football journalist @Raphael_GellarWhats been the key to Israels success in qualifying thus far?The group is very tight and even a tiny country like Cyprus (estimated population 1.1m, compared to Israels 8.2m) is in the hunt for a top-three finish. Because of this, every match is incredibly important and you essentially have five teams competing for three spots. When Israel was able to beat Bosnia 3-0 in November, many believed this would finally be the campaign that would see Israel qualify. Can they finish the job and reach the finals?Israel should be able to get six points from Andorra and Cyprus. It all comes down to the match-up against Wales in Cardiff on Sunday, September 6. If Israel can get three points or, more realistically, one point, we will be set to secure at least the third spot. Israels games at home to Andorra on Thursday September 3 (7.45pm, Red Button) and away to Wales on Sunday September 6 (4.30pm) are both live on Sky Sports 1 HD.CYPRUS Cyprus are level on points with Israel in an enthralling Group B battle The story so farDespite a mixed campaign for Cyprus, they remain firmly in the race to qualify for their first-ever major tournament.Its been a tale of three 2-1s for the Cypriots, having secured a shock victory in Bosnia and Herzegovina, before losing narrowly to Israel and Wales in October 2014. However, their quest for qualification got back on track in explosive style following a 5-0 win over Andorra - matching their biggest-ever international win, which came against the same opponents in 2000.They recovered from a thumping 5-0 defeat to Belgium by claiming a 3-1 win over Andorra in June, leaving them level on points with Israel in third with home games against Wales (September 3) and Bosnia (October 13) sandwiching a tricky trip to Israel on October 10.Star player - Demetris Christofi Demetris Christofi became Cyprus most expensive player following a move to AC Omonia Christofi claimed a brace in Cyprus unlikely opening win over Bosnia and Herzegovina, while chipping in with a goal during the 5-0 demolition of Andorra. His form earned him an £600,000 move to AC Omonia; the most expensive transfer in Cypriot football history.The 26-year-old forward has also laid on three goals for his team-mates during the campaign, leaving him just one behind Switzerlands Xherdan Shaqiri and Polands Arkadiusz Milik in the assist charts.Coach - Pambos Christodoulou Pambos Christodoulou took charge of Cyprus in 2014 after a short spell at Anorthorsis Famagusta Following spells at Doxa Katokopias and Olympiakos Nicosia, Christodoulou made the switch to AEL Limassol in 2011 and helped the club to their first league title since 1968. After a short six-game spell at Anorthosis Famagusta, the 47-year-old was appointed as the national team coach in January 2014 and has secured five wins in his first nine matches.In five of Cyprus six qualifying games so far, Christodoulou has used a 4-5-1 formation and has looked to pack the midfield - which worked in the away wins at Andorra and Bosnia. However, during the 5-0 home win against Andorra, the Cypriot coach deployed a more attacking 4-4-2 formation with key player Christofi moving into a more central role up top.UK-based playersDespite being born in Newham, Walsall defender Jason Demetriou is the only British-based player in the Cypriot squad. After coming through the ranks at Leyton Orient, the 27-year-old right-back spent five years in Cyprus at AEK Larnaca and Anorthosis Famagusta before making a move to the Saddlers in July.Interesting statistic Ex-Arsenal academy player Georgios Efrem claimed a hat-trick for Cyprus in their 5-0 win over Andorra in Nicosia last October. Here, Demetris Christofi sets up his second goal Georgios Efrem, who scored a hat-trick against Andorra, spent three years in Arsenals academy as a youngster before moving to Rangers in 2007, where he failed to make an appearance. The winger had a brief loan spell at Dundee in 2009, where he scored two goals in eight games.Experts view - @cyprusfootyWhats been the key to the success of Cyprus in qualifying thus far?A new manager who knows the talent and potential in this team - Pambos Christodoulou is not afraid to take risks to get results. At 47 years old, he is the youngest manager weve ever had to manage the national side.Can they finish the job and reach the finals?If they get results at home and everyone stays fit, then I really think second or third place in Group B is not too far to reach. One young player to watch out for is Constantinos Laifis of Anorthosis Famagusta - although hes a defensive player at heart, he played in six different positions last season for club and country, and was named the best young player in Cyprus. Cypruss games at home to Wales on Thursday September 3 (7pm) and Belgium on Sunday September 6 (7.15pm) are both live on Sky Sports 1 HD.SLOVAKIA Slovakia have won all six of their Group C qualifiers - including a victory over Spain The story so farDespite being drawn alongside three-time champions Spain, Slovakia remain on course to finish at the top of Group C following their 100% record so far.After securing a shock win away to Ukraine on the opening weekend, Slovakia claimed a sensational 2-1 victory over Spain in Zilina a month later - the Spaniards first qualifying defeat in eight years. Repre continued their excellent start with wins over Belarus and Luxembourg, alongside two victories against Macedonia, to leave them three points clear of Spain having conceded just three goals.A difficult game in Spain awaits on Saturday, September 5, before they host Ukraine in Zilina three days later. Regardless of their final four results, the Slovaks are guaranteed a spot in the play-offs at least, but a victory in Oviedo will turn their automatic qualification hopes into a very real possibility.Star player - Marek Hamsik Napoli playmaker Marek Hamsik has been instrumental in Slovakias success so far Hamsiks brace in Belarus and his strike against Macedonia have made him the groups joint-top scorer alongside Ukraines Andriy Yarmolenko and Spain duo Paco Alcacer and David Silva.The Napoli playmaker, who is a four-time winner of the Slovak Footballer of the Year award, has often been recognised as Slovakias greatest-ever player having scored 15 goals in 78 appearances for his country.Coach - Jan Kozak Slovakia boss Jan Kozak played for Czechoslovakia at the 1980 European Championship finals The 61-year-old Kozak has been in charge of Slovakia since 2013, and has lost just three times in the 20 games hes managed. A former Czechoslovakia international, Kozak picked up 55 caps as a midfielder and made an appearance at Euro 1980 in Italy where he helped guide his country to a third-place finish following a 9-8 penalty shootout win over the hosts.Kozak has opted to use a 4-5-1 formation throughout the campaign so far with Hamsik supporting lone striker Adam Nemec, while defensive midfielders Viktor Pecovsky and Juraj Kucka have been given the task of protecting a defence that includes Liverpools Martin Skrtel.UK-based playersThe aformentioned Skrtel is currently the captain of Slovakia, while ex-Manchester City winger Vladimir Weiss, now of Qatari club Lekhwiya, is in the squad. Goalkeeper Jan Mucha, formerly of Everton, is also in the side along with ex-Leeds defender Lubomir Michalik and former Chelsea winger Miroslav Stoch.Interesting statistic Ex-Chelsea winger Miroslav Stochs late winner saw Slovakia trump Spain in their Group C clash in Zilina last October No team has ever won a qualifying game with fewer possession than Slovakia had during their win over Spain, with Kozaks men having just 28.3% of the ball.Experts view - Slovakian football journalist @LukasVrablikWhats been the key to Slovakias success in qualifying thus far?Jan Kozak has totally changed the attitude of players and the playing style, which became more courageous and fluid. Players respect him and believe in his decisions. He also managed to find the best position on the pitch for Hamsik. While being a star in Serie A, he was criticised for his performances in the national team. Kozak gave him freedom and it works - Hamsik is the most important player in Slovakias attack.Can they finish the job and reach the finals?I think they will qualify from one of the two places. Almost nobody expected victory in Ukraine, and fewer still against Spain. They managed it - they have won all six matches that have been played so far. There is a big mental strength in the squad and the players believe in themselves; that had not been obvious at all before. Slovakias game away to Spain on Saturday September 5 is live on Sky Sports 5 HD from 7.40pm.ALBANIA Albania have failed to lose a match so far in Group I The story so farIn a group that contains Cristiano Ronaldos Portugal and Christian Eriksens Denmark, its Albania who remain the only unbeaten side so far.Group I got off to a wonderful start for the Albanians, who claimed a famous 1-0 win over Portugal in Aveiro thanks to Bekim Balajs goal. They almost claimed another win in Elbasan when the Danes came to town, but Lasse Vibes late equaliser cancelled out Ermir Lenjanis first-half goal. Bekim Balaj scored a stunning volley for Albania to secure a 1-0 win over Portugal in the Group I opener in Aveiro last September However, the most memorable game of their campaign was unfortunately for the wrong reasons, with their match in Serbia being abandoned due to fighting between players and fans after a political banner was flown into the Partizan Stadium. A 3-0 win was awarded to Albania, which moved them to the top of the group.A dramatic victory in their next game against Armenia preserved Albanias unbeaten record, with Mergim Mavraj and Shkelzen Gashi scoring in the final 13 minutes to secure a 2-1 win at the Elbasan Arena.Due to Group I having just five teams, Albania have a crucial game in hand over Portugal and Denmark, who sit just two points ahead of the Balkan side. A trip to Copenhagen awaits on Friday, September 4, with home games against Portugal (September 7) and Serbia (October 8) coming before their final fixture in Armenia on October 11.Star player - Lorik Cana Ex-Sunderland player Lorik Cana captained Albania to a 1-0 win away to Portugal Sunderland fans may not have fond memories of Lorik Cana, but the current Albania captain has been pivotal in his countrys success so far.The 32-year-old is Albanias most capped player of all time having made 84 appearances, and has been playing in central defence throughout their campaign - with his side conceding just two goals in their opening four games.With Cana nearing the end of his international career, the Nantes man will be keen to guide Albania to their first-ever major tournament, with his side finishing bottom of their group on five separate occasions during their Euro qualifying history.Coach - Gianni De Biasi Former Udinese coach Gianni De Biasi has been commended by the Albanian government Former Udinese manager Gianni De Biasi has been in charge of the Shqiponjat since 2011, and has an impressive win percentage of 46.67% following 30 games in charge.De Biasi has used a 4-5-1 formation so far, with Swiss-born defender Taulant Xhaka, brother of Monchengladbachs Switzerland international Granit, being moved into a more unfamiliar defensive midfield role alongside Burim Kukeli and Amir Abrashi. Despite De Biasis willingness to play just one striker in the form of Balaj, Albania have scored seven goals from their opening four games, with only Denmark (eight in five matches) managing more.The Italian coach told FIFA.com earlier this month: My role is to find a tactical system that brings the best out of them. Im always looking for the right balance between imagination and collective discipline, and my players can now pick each other out with their eyes closed.Interesting statisticDespite fielding a weakened side, Albania claimed their first-ever win over France following Junes 1-0 friendly victory in Elbasan. Ergis Kaces stunning free kick was enough to secure the win over a team that included Hugo Lloris, Raphael Varane, Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud.The win moved Albania up to their highest-ever FIFA ranking of 22 - one place ahead of their French counterparts.Experts view - Ilir Muja of @Albanian_SoccerWhats been the key to Albanias success in qualifying thus far?Its a very well organised team with great leadership, and a combination of both experienced and young talented players. De Biasi has turned this tiny Balkan nation into a squad full of belief, playing attractive football. The Albanian government have even rewarded De Biasi with Albanian citizenship for his great work ethic - hes nicknamed Gani Abazi.Can they finish the job and reach the finals?This is a very tight group. Albanias fate rests on the next two qualifiers against Denmark and Portugal. That being said, they have been making history with results - but the work is not done yet. De Biasi has stated that the upcoming game with Denmark is the match of his life.Albanias games away to Denmark on Friday September 4 and at home to Portugal on Monday September 7 are both available on the Red Button live on Sky Sports 1 HD at 7.45pm. Also See: European Qualifiers Live on Sky Latest video Tables Get Sky Sports Ryan Ellis Jersey . Perez, 35, posted a 1-2 record with a 3.69 earned-run average in 19 relief appearances last season. His season ended Aug. 9 due to a torn ligament in his left elbow. Perez joins infielder Andy LaRoche and catcher Mike Nickeas with minor-league agreements for 2014 that include invitations to attend spring training. Juuse Saros Jersey . Now tied for second in the league in shootout goals, the 24-year-old likes to see what the opposing goaltender has in store before he ultimately lands on a move. http://www.cheappredatorsjerseyschina.com/ .5 seconds to play in the game, Kevin Love never stopped believing that they would come out of there with a win. Alexei Emelin Jersey . Laudrup revealed Thursday he was notified of his dismissal in "the briefest of letters which gave no reasons why such hasty and final action was deemed necessary. Kevin Fiala Jersey . Siddikur, whose previous win on the circuit came in Brunei three years ago, finished his bogey-free round with a birdie on the 18th for a total of 17-under 199. Indias Shiv Chowrasia, who has finished runner-up in this tournament twice, was in second place after a 66. CLEVELAND -- There is a chance of rain in the late innings of World Series Game 7 at Clevelands Progressive Field.Unseasonably warm temperatures in the upper 60s or low 70s are forecast for Wednesday night. The chance of rain increases from 19 percent at 8 p.m. to 49 to 55 percent at 11 p.m., according to AccuWeather.AccuWeather senior meteorologist Brian Wimer says in a statement: While a brief shower cannot be ruled out during Wednesday evening, if Game 7 runs late or goes innto extra innings, then the chance of drenching rain will increase.ddddddddddddMajor League Baseball announced late Tuesday it was moving up the start time by 8 minutes to 8 p.m.Last week, the start of Game 2 was moved up by 1 hour to 7:08 p.m. Light rain started in the eighth inning, and heavy rain hit shortly after the final out at about 11:15 p.m. Discount NFL Jerseys Discount NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale Jerseys 2019 NFL Jerseys Cheap Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys Wholesale ' ' '