9 October, 2013 - 15:32

World Cup qualification play-off seeding rules and possible draw

World Cup qualification play-off seeding rules and possible draw

The national teams competing in European qualification groups for a chance to go to Brazil next summer are two matches away from joy or desperation. Come next Tuesday and Italy and Netherlands will be joined by seven other lucky squads in booking their flights to South America. But there will be eight other teams to fight for the remaining four places and jump in the pool. All they have to do is finish second in the group getting more points than just one of the nine runners-up and win the play-off.

Doesn’t look too difficult at first glance. But for one tiny thing - FIFA decided to keep on with the seeding system for November play-off draw. Which means being seeded before the actual qualification campaign was not enough and the nations are set to be diversified again! There is only one sensible reason for that. Blatter & Co. are trying hard to get the historical powerhouses to the World Cup for better marketing deals and yet more profit. According to FIFA statement, “the eight teams will be seeded in two pots with the four highest-ranked teams placed in one pot.” Who do you think will attract more audience to the Global Forum next summer, Cristiano Ronaldo or Yevhen Konoplyanka? Luka Modric or Kolbeinn Sigthorsson? Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Ciprian Marica? That is the point! All those players are highly rated to take part in play-off ties and Blatter would absolutely love to minimize the chance of some of the superstars’ missing the big fest. Except for Gareth Bale, of course, whose nation are by far not good enough to make it to the second place in the group.

Still, we are not sure who is going to hit the European autumn and finish second to the top.
But we will try to give you highly possible draws for play-off ties.

Pot 1
Croatia. Even if they win against Belgium, it is strongly unlikely that Marc Wilmots and his wonder boys do not qualify from the first spot.
Sweden. Austria is still in the race but we’d bet on experienced northern nation to claim the second place.
Portugal. Unless something extraordinary happens, like Russia losing points against outsiders, Cristiano Ronaldo will get another chance to impress.
Greece. Same story, Greece need to win both matches and hope for Bosnia and Herzegovina stumble against minnows to finish top of the group. Realistically, they are second.

Pot 2
Romania. With Hungary and Turkey still having fixtures against Netherlands, all Romania need to do is take six points from the matches against Andorra and Estonia, which is not the hardest fate, to be fair.
Iceland. Few people could predict what Group E will look like come Tuesday, but FootballTop has faith in the ambitious Iceland side.
Ukraine. With all the pressure on Roy Hodgson and The Three Lions, they will likely top the group at the end of the campaign and leave Ukraine second. However, the post-Soviet country still need to beat Poland to keep chances of qualifying.
France. What are the odds of Spain losing to Belarus and Georgia at home? That’s right, hardly any. Which takes Didier Deschamps and his selection to play-off games.
Whoever finishes second in group B will be the poorest runner-up of all nine teams and will not get a chance to continue the competition in our opinion. Sorry, Bulgaria and Denmark.

Hence, according to FootballTop prediction, France could face Portugal or Croatia in play-off, while Iceland could make a historic appearance in the World Cup after a clash with Greece or Sweden.

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Author: Leon Smolski

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9 October 2013, 15:37

I agree, Blatter is only interested in profit, not football, and if the "minor" team like Ireland are close to beating favorites, like France, they let goals stand after handballs...

Would love to see Iceland in Brazil! Epic :)

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