Rivals collide on Matchday 9

With uncertainty running wild in European, South American and African qualifying, FIFA.com looks at five of the most anticipated matches on Matchday 9 of the McDonald's FIFA World Cup Predictor.

Too close to call: Bulgaria-Republic of Ireland
Giovanni Trapattoni's boys will be taking nothing for granted when they visit Sofia to face a Bulgarian team clinging to the hope of reaching the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. Will Dimitar Berbatov and Stilian Petrov shine or will Robbie Keane and company be smiling again? The odds are almost identical across the three possible outcomes.

Last FIFA World Cup qualifying meeting: Republic of Ireland 1-1 Bulgaria (Dublin, 28 March 2009)
FIFA World Cup qualifying head-to-head record: Played (3), Bulgaria (1 win), Republic of Ireland (0), Draws (2)

The long shots
With only one win in their last four matches, Brazil are not displaying the dominance expected of the five-time world champions. In contrast, Uruguay proved too strong at home for South American group leaders Paraguay in their most recent qualifier. Brazil carry a 55 per cent chance of victory into the game, while there is a 19 per cent chance of a Uruguayan upset (81 points).

Last FIFA World Cup qualifying meeting: Brazil 2-1 Uruguay (Sao Paulo, 21 November 2007)
FIFA World Cup qualifying head-to-head record: Played (7), Brazil (2), Uruguay (1), Draws (4)

El Salvador-Mexico
It's been over a decade since they last met in FIFA World Cup qualification, a night on which El Tri stormed to a 5-0 win. However, El Salvador are playing with renewed flair under the Mexican Carlos de los Cobos. Javier Aguirre, the recently-appointed coach of the visitors, will be well aware of how strong the competition is.

Last FIFA World Cup qualifying meeting: (Mexico City, October 1997)
FIFA World Cup qualifying head-to-head record: Played (6), Mexico (4), El Salvador (2), Draws (0)

Scandinavian showdown: Sweden-Denmark
Group 1's two undefeated teams will meet in Solna on 6 June. A Danish victory would propel them into first place, while Sweden must win to stay in contention for South Africa 2010 qualification. Sweden are strong favourites at home (61 per cent), despite having won only one of their four last qualifiers.

Last meeting: Denmark 0-1 Sweden (Copenhagen, 26 April 2000)
Head-to-head record: Played 98, Denmark (36), Sweden (44), Draws (18)

The African derby: Algeria-Egypt
Boasting impressive home form (6 matches without defeat), Algeria will attempt to overthrow the Pharaohs in their upcoming derby. With all four teams in Africa's Group C locked on one point, this result could play a pivotal role in determining the group winner. Statistically, Algeria carry a 16 per cent chance of success into the fixture; a result that would earn their backers 84 points.

Last FIFA World Cup qualifying meeting: Algeria 1-1 Egypt (Annaba, 21 July 2001)
FIFA World Cup qualifying head-to-head record: Played (4), Egypt (2), Algeria (0), Draws (2)

Matchday 9 Fixtures (6 & 7 June)
Bulgaria-Republic of Ireland
Korea DPR-Iran
El Salvador-Mexico

Matchday 9 deadline: 00:00 GMT, 06 June 2009
Matchday 10 deadline: 00:00 GMT, 10 June 2009