Greece’s possible opponents in the World Cup qualifying playoffs
Greece will be unseeded in the October 17th draw for the World Cup qualifying playoffs and AGONAsport.com looks at who are Greece’s possible opponents.
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After defeating Cyprus and receiving gifts from Belgium and Slovenia, Greece will claim second place in Group H of World Cup qualifying with a win over Gibraltar on Tuesday. The win will send Greece to the November playoffs for a place in the 2018 World Cup.
The qualifying draw will be held on Tuesday, October 17th, in Zurich at 3:00 PM local Greek time, 8:00 AM EST. The eight runner-ups (one will be left out-Slovakia), will be separated into seeded and unseeded pots for the draw based on the FIFA Rankings released on October 16th. The eight teams will be paired into four knockout pairs where two legs, home and away, will be played for a spot in the 2018 World Cup. The order of home and away fixtures will be determined based on the draw and is NOT pre-determined on seeded and unseeded sides.
The first legs will be played on November 9-11 and the return legs will be played on November 12-14. Although we will await the official FIFA Rankings on October 16th, we already have a clear idea based on this week’s results who will be in the seeded and unseeded pots.
Greece will be unseeded due to to their low FIFA ranking, the lowest out of all the runner-up sides, and will receive a theoretically more difficult opponent. Joining Greece in the unseeded pot will be Northern Ireland, Ireland, and Sweden (if they finish as Group A runner-ups - very likely). These three nations cannot be drawn with Greece in the playoffs.
The seeded sides, who are Greece’s possible opponents in the playoffs, will surely contain Croatia and Italy. Denmark will also be in this group as long as France wins Group A (very likely as they host Belarus on the final matchday) while the fourth side will be the runner-up from Group B, either Portugal or Switzerland. Portugal host Switzerland on Tuesday knowing that a win will send them to the World Cup while any other result will send them to the playoffs and make them a possible opponent for Greece.
Below are the seeded and unseeded sides for the playoff draw:
Portugal or Switzerland
Sweden* (if they finish as runner-ups)