The fixtures for the final phase of European qualifying has been decided, with Northern Ireland taking on Switzerland and Ireland playing Denmark

Italy have been drawn with Sweden and Republic of Ireland will face Denmark in UEFA’s World Cup qualifying play-off matches in November.

The eight teams learned their fate in the final qualfying phase in Tuesday’s draw, which also paired Northern Ireland against Switzerland, while Croatia take on Greece.

Italy 20/1 to win World Cup

Sweden are looking to book a place in Russia 2018 after missing out on the last two editions of the tournament and host four-time winners Italy for the first leg of their tie.

World Cup UEFA play-offs draw GFX

The first team out of the pot, Northern Ireland, will have to navigate two legs against the Swiss to travel to a first World Cup finals since 1986. It could have been an easier tie as Michael O’Neill’s side suffered a blow on Monday as the new FIFA world rankings confirmed that they had dropped below Denmark – meaning the latter team would be seeded in the draw at their expense. 

The Danes, then, will take on Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland at home in their opening game, while Greece travel to Croatia.

The matches will take the form of a two-legged play-off, and the first legs will take place between November 9 and November 11, while the second legs will be played between November 12 and November 14.

With eight teams heading into the play-offs, spare a thought for Slovakia, who finished second in England’s group, but had the worst record against the teams ranked first, third, fourth and fifth within the pool and subsequently missed out on the play-offs.


WHO HAS QUALIFIED FOR WORLD CUP SO FAR?


Several teams, both in Europe and across the world, have already punched their ticket to Russia.

The hosts will obviously attempt to win their very first World Cup, while they will be joined by European cohorts France, Portugal, Germany, Serbia, Poland, England, Spain, Belgium and, amazingly, Iceland.

Iceland, who beat the Three Lions at Euro 2016, boasts a population of just 330,000 people, making them the smallest nation ever to qualify for the World Cup.

From the AFC confederation, Iran, South Korea, Japan and Saudi Arabia will head to Russia. From the CONCACAF region, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, – who pipped the USA to a qualifying spot – Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia and Argentina will be a part of the tournament, along with Nigeria and Egypt from the CAF.

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A play-off between Honduras and Australia is still to come, along with a two-legged tie between New Zealand and Peru.

Below is a list of the teams that have qualified for the World Cup in 2018 and the qualification spots still to be filled.

Country Qualification place
Russia Hosts
Iran AFC Third Round Group A winners
South Korea AFC Third Round Group A runners up
Japan AFC Third Round Group B winners
Saudi Arabia AFC Third Round Group B runners up
TBC AFC fifth place vs CONCACAF fourth place play-off
TBC CAF Group A winners
Nigeria CAF Group B winners
TBC CAF Group C winners
TBC CAF Group D winners
Egypt CAF Group E winners
Mexico CONCACAF Fifth Round first place
Costa Rica CONCACAF Fifth Round second place
Panama CONCACAF Fifth Round third place
Brazil CONMEBOL first place
Uruguay CONMEBOL second place
Argentina CONMEBOL third place
Colombia CONMEBOL fourth place
TBC CONMEBOL fifth place vs OFC first place play-off
France UEFA Group A winners
Portugal UEFA Group B winners
Germany UEFA Group C winners
Serbia UEFA Group D winners
Poland UEFA Group E winners
England UEFA Group F winners
Spain UEFA Group G winners
Belgium UEFA Group H winners
Iceland UEFA Group I winners
TBC UEFA second-place play-off winners
TBC UEFA second-place play-off winners
TBC UEFA second-place play-off winners
TBC UEFA second-place play-off winners



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