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

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

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

The eight nations 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.

PLAY-OFFS FIXTURES & RESULTS

Team Agg. Team Leg 1 Leg 2
Northern Ireland 0-1 Switzerland 0-1 Nov 12
Croatia 4-1 Greece 4-1 Nov 12
Denmark 0-0 Republic of Ireland 0-0 Nov 14
Sweden 1-0 Italy 1-0 Nov 13

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 play at home first, with games due to take place between November 9 and November 14.

The specific dates and results can be seen in the table above.

WHAT ARE THE SECOND-PLACE PLAY-OFFS?

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.

WHEN ARE THE PLAY-OFFS?

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.

Northern Ireland take on Switzerland and Croatia face Greece over two legs on November 9 and 11, while the Republic of Ireland are due to play Denmark on November 11 and 14.

Sweden and Italy will play their two games on November 10 and 13.

HOW CAN I WATCH THE PLAY-OFFS?

Luka Modric Croatia European Qualifiers

In the UK, all of the play-off matches will be broadcast on Sky Sports Football and can be streamed via Sky Go.

In the US, the Northern Ireland-Switzerland and Croatia-Greece ties will be broadcast on ESPN Deportes and can be streamed via WatchESPN, while the Republic of Ireland-Denmark and Italy-Sweden ties will be broadcast on FS1 and FS2 and can be streamed via Fox Sports Go.

THE SECOND-PLACE RANKINGS

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.

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

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