UEFA World Cup play-offs: Fixtures, dates, draw & everything you need to know

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The likes of the Republic of Ireland, Croatia and Italy are looking to qualify for next summer's finals in Russia through a one-off, do-or-die tie

Sweden will take on Italy and the Republic of Ireland are set to clash with Denmark in the European second-place World Cup play-offs.

Northern Ireland's meet Switzerland and Croatia play against Greece in the other two ties to finalise the UEFA representatives at next summer's tournament.

The eight clubs competing finished second in their groups in the first round of qualifying and will now play over two legs for a place at the finals.

Goal has your complete guide to UEFA's upcoming final qualification fixtures.


Team Agg. Team Leg 1 Leg 2
Northern Ireland - Switzerland Nov 9-11 Nov 12-14
Croatia - Greece Nov 9-11 Nov 12-14
Denmark - Republic of Ireland Nov 9-11 Nov 12-14
Sweden - Italy Nov 9-11 Nov 12-14

The draw for the European play-offs took place on October 17.

It was a seeded draw, with Switzerland, Croatia, Denmark and Italy placed in one pot based on their position in the FIFA world rankings and Northern Ireland, Greece, the Republic of Ireland and Sweden going in the other.

Northern Ireland, Croatia, Denmark and Sweden will play at home first, with the exact dates of the matches to be confirmed soon.


James McClean Republic of Ireland celebrates 12112016

The second-place play-offs - known officially as UEFA's second round of World Cup qualifying - are used to allocate the last four of Europe's 13 places at the finals.

Nine European teams qualify directly as the winners of their first-round qualification groups.

European WCQ odds here

The runners up in those groups are then ranked by points and, if needed, a number of tiebreakers, with their results against the last-placed team in their group discarded.

This was due to the fact that two groups were originally going to have only five teams instead of six. In the end, Kosovo and Gibraltar joined UEFA to round out the groups, but the rules were not changed.

The top-eight runners up qualify for the play-offs - with the ninth missing out - where they are drawn against another team and will play home and away over two legs for a place at the World Cup finals.

This year's draw was seeded, with the teams split into two pots according to their position in FIFA's world rankings.

This year, UEFA will also have a 14th team at the finals because Russia have already qualified as hosts.


Christian Eriksen Denmark

The play-offs will take place during the November 2017 international window.

The first legs will be played between November 9 and 11 and the second legs will be played between November 12 and 14.

Exact dates for each match will be confirmed soon now the draw has been made.


Luka Modric Croatia European Qualifiers

Television coverage of the play-offs is yet to be confirmed but World Cup qualifiers are given to the federation hosting each game to distribute, so you're likely to be able to watch on the same networks that broadcast the group stage.

That means most, if not all, of the play-off ties are likely to be available on Sky Sports in the UK.


Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Switzerland 8 7 0 1 18 6 +12 21
2 Italy 8 5 2 1 12 8 +4 17
3 Denmark 8 4 2 2 13 6 +7 14
4 Croatia 8 4 2 2 8 4 +4 14
5 Sweden 8 4 1 3 18 9 +9 13
6 Northern Ireland 8 4 1 3 10 6 +4 13
7 Greece 8 3 4 1 9 5 +4 13
8 Republic of Ireland 8 3 4 1 7 5 +2 13
9 Slovakia (E) 8 4 0 4 11 6 +5 12

Above is the final ranking of second-placed teams from the first round.

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Slovakia finished as the worst runners-up, and were therefore eliminated. The other eight teams enter the play-offs.

As mentioned, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark and Croatia are the seeded teams based on the latest (October 16) FIFA world rankings.

That means those four teams went into one pot to be drawn against Sweden, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Greece.

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