2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™

2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™

14 June - 15 July

2018 FIFA World Cup™ 

All you need to know about Tuesday's European play-off draw

Ivan Perisic of Croatia
© Getty Images
  • Eight European teams competing for four Russia 2018 places
  • Draw takes place in Zurich at 14:00 CET on Tuesday 17 October
  • Matches to be played between 9 and 14 November

When qualification kicked off on 4 September 2016, there were 13 European places up for grabs at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. So far, the nine group winners, France, Portugal, Germany, Serbia, Poland, England, Spain, Belgium and Iceland have qualified directly, while the eight best second-placed teams will now fight it out for the four remaining spots.

Who’s in the draw?The eight teams to make it through to the play-offs are Sweden, Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Denmark, Italy, Greece and Croatia. Slovakia, as the worst-ranked second-placed team, miss out.

Draw procedureThe eight teams qualified for the play-offs are will be divided into two pots. The first will contain the four seeded teams, with the remaining countries going in the second pot. The seeded teams have been decided by October’s FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, published today*. *Based on these rankings, Switzerland, Italy, Croatia and Denmark will be in Pot 1, while Northern Ireland, Sweden, Republic of Ireland and Greece will be in Pot 2.

The order of the home and away legs will also be decided by the draw. This is determined as follows:

  1. One ball is taken from Pot 1 and one from Pot 2 and are placed in a central pot.
  2. The balls are then mixed and drawn one-by-one.
  3. The first ball drawn determines which team plays the first leg at home, and the second one decides who’ll host the return leg.

When and where does the draw take place?The draw will take place at the Home of FIFA in Zurich on Tuesday 17 October at 14:00 (local time) and will be live streamed on FIFA.com and FIFA's YouTube channel. The coaches of the eight teams are expected to be in attendance, while Mexican presenter Vanessa Huppenkothen will host the event, with Fernando Hierro carrying out the draw itself.

How are the play-offs decided?Four two-legged ties will be played, with the first leg taking place between 9 and 11 November and the return between 12 and 14 of the same month.

The team that scores the greater number of goals in both matches qualifies for Russia 2018. In the event of the teams being level on aggregate, the away goals rule will come into play. If the winner is still not decided at the end of normal time in the second leg, the match will go to extra time with two periods of 15 minutes and the away goals rule still applied. If the scores are still level at the end of extra time, the tie will go to penalties.

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