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What You Need To Know About World Cup 2018 Playoffs

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With 10 European spots already filled by group winners and Russia, the remaining 8 teams with best second place scores from groups will face off for the remaining spots in the World Qualifiers. The teams that have already booked their spots are: Belgium, England, France, Germany, Iceland, Poland, Portugal, Russia (as hosts), Serbia, and Spain. In this article, we’ll take a look at the remaining eight teams and their chances at qualifying for World Cup 2018 in Russia.

Matches

Denmark vs Republic of Ireland


Northern Ireland vs Switzerland

Croatia vs Greece

Sweden vs Italy

Draw Expectations

While it’s clear that Switzerland, Italy, and Croatia are a cut above the rest out of these eight teams, all of the teams have their qualities of course. Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland were very pleased to avoid Italy, according to their managers Michael O’Neil and Martin O’Neil. This isn’t to say that they’ll have an easy job vs Switzerland and Denmark, however, as these two teams have shown just how tough they can be in the groups. Switzerland especially, as they are currently the highest ranked team out of the eight according to FIFA World Rankings.

Denmark vs Republic of Ireland

The Republic of Ireland managed to qualify due to their last match against Wales, thanks to a goal from James McClean, which was enough to secure the win and a place in the draw. However, they are going against Denmark who had a much better performance in a tougher group. Denmark qualified with W6 D2 L2 score, while the Republic of Ireland managed to pull off with W5 D4 L1.

Northern Ireland vs Switzerland

It was a shame that Switzerland didn’t manage to qualify as the first place from group B, but considering they were fighting until the last match for it with European champions Portugal – it goes to tell you just how clean of a favorite they are in this matchup against Northern Ireland. Their staggering score of W9 D0 L1 was only bested by Portugal thanks to a better goal difference, but until the last match between these two teams Switzerland was in the first place, undefeated. Their opponents had a W6 D1 L3 score in a group with current World Champions, Germany. Northern Ireland is known as a tough nut to crack, especially since their last year’s performance at UEFA Euro 2016.

Croatia vs Greece

Croatia hasn’t lost at home in 11 competitive home games, but that doesn’t mean much since they had a group where they were supposed to be clear favorites. Iceland, instead, grabbed the first spot (should we be surprised at all anymore with this team?) leaving Croatia with W6 D2 L2 score. Mandžukić is going to be especially important if they’re to crack Greece, a team known for their defensive play. Greece was second in Group H behind Belgium, with W5 D4 L1 score ramped up. You can check bonus betting offers for odds on this one and see that everyone has Croatia as a clear favorite to win.

Sweden vs Italy

Italy currently holds rank 15 in FIFA World Rankings and they secured the second spot in a group with Spain. That said, they just don’t seem as strong as when Antonio Conte led them last year, so anything is possible. Their record of W7 D2 L1 is better than Sweden’s W6 D1 L3, but you should consider that Sweden was in a group with France and Netherlands, with the latter finishing in the third spot and ending their Worlds ambitions. Italy, however, is known to play the most important matches on the highest level, so we still have them as a favorite in this match.

Bottom Line

The World Qualifier Playoffs will decide who gets to go on to Russia in 2018 and who will stay home. There are only 4 spots left as far as Europe is concerned, so whoever manages to best their opponents in two matches will proceed to represent Europe next year. While some of the matches seem like they’re going to be tough with only a few goals, other matches promise a lot of fun and aggressive play, a feast for true football fans.

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