2018 FIFA World Cup qualification – UEFA Second Round

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The UEFA Second Round was contested by the best eight runners-up from the nine first round groups from the UEFA segment of the qualification tournament for the 2018 FIFA World Cup final tournament. The winners — Croatia, Denmark, Sweden, and Switzerland — of each of four home and away ties joined the group winners in the World Cup in Russia. These pairs of matches, also commonly known as the playoffs, were held in November 2017. The losers were Greece, Italy, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland.

The draw for the ties was held in Zürich on 17 October 2017,[1] with the October 2017 FIFA World Rankings being used in deciding which of the teams would be seeded.[1]

Qualified teams[edit]

The eight best runners-up from the UEFA First Round qualified for the play-offs; at the time of the draw, with two groups having one team fewer than the others, matches against the sixth-placed team in each First Round group were not included in this ranking. UEFA confirmed that, even after the admission of Gibraltar and Kosovo and with all groups now containing six teams, this regulation did not change and matches against the sixth-placed team in all groups were still discarded.[2] As a result, eight matches played by each team counted for the purposes of ranking the runners-up.

Ranking of second-placed teams[edit]

The eight best runners-up were determined by the following parameters, in this order:[3]

  1. Highest number of points
  2. Goal difference
  3. Highest number of goals scored
  4. Fair play points
  5. Drawing of lots
Pos Grp Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1 B   Switzerland 8 7 0 1 18 6 +12 21 Advance to second round (play-offs)
2 G  Italy 8 5 2 1 12 8 +4 17
3 E  Denmark 8 4 2 2 13 6 +7 14
4 I  Croatia 8 4 2 2 8 4 +4 14
5 A  Sweden 8 4 1 3 18 9 +9 13
6 C  Northern Ireland 8 4 1 3 10 6 +4 13
7 H  Greece 8 3 4 1 9 5 +4 13
8 D  Republic of Ireland 8 3 4 1 7 5 +2 13
9 F  Slovakia 8 4 0 4 11 6 +5 12
Source: FIFA

Seeding and draw[edit]

The second round draw took place on 17 October 2017 at 14:00 CEST (UTC+2), at the FIFA headquarters in Zürich, Switzerland. Teams were seeded based on October 2017 FIFA World Rankings (shown below in brackets), with each tie seeing a seeded team drawn against an unseeded team. Each tie's order of legs was decided as part of the draw.[1]

The draw was conducted by Mexican TV presenter Vanessa Huppenkothen with the assistance of former Spain international Fernando Hierro.[5]

Pot 1 Pot 2

  Switzerland (11)
 Italy (15)
 Croatia (18)
 Denmark (19)

 Northern Ireland (23)
 Sweden (25)
 Republic of Ireland (26)
 Greece (47)

Matches[edit]

The first legs were played on 9–11 November, and the second legs were played on 12–14 November 2017.[6]

Times are CET (UTC+1) as listed by UEFA (local times are in parentheses).[7]

Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
Northern Ireland  0–1   Switzerland 0–1 0–0
Croatia  4–1  Greece 4–1 0–0
Denmark  5–1  Republic of Ireland 0–0 5–1
Sweden  1–0  Italy 1–0 0–0
Northern Ireland  0–1   Switzerland
Report (FIFA)
Report (UEFA)
Attendance: 18,269
Switzerland   0–0  Northern Ireland
Report (FIFA)
Report (UEFA)
Attendance: 36,000
Referee: Felix Brych (Germany)

Switzerland won 1–0 on aggregate and qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.


Croatia  4–1  Greece
Report (FIFA)
Report (UEFA)
Attendance: 30,013
Greece  0–0  Croatia
Report (FIFA)
Report (UEFA)
Attendance: 18,667

Croatia won 4–1 on aggregate and qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.


Denmark  0–0  Republic of Ireland
Report (FIFA)
Report (UEFA)
Attendance: 36,189
Republic of Ireland  1–5  Denmark
Report (FIFA)
Report (UEFA)
Attendance: 50,000

Denmark won 5–1 on aggregate and qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.


Sweden  1–0  Italy
Report (FIFA)
Report (UEFA)
Attendance: 49,193
Italy  0–0  Sweden
Report (FIFA)
Report (UEFA)
Attendance: 72,696

Sweden won 1–0 on aggregate and qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958.

Goalscorers[edit]

There were 13 goals scored in 8 matches, for an average of 1.63 goals per match.

3 goals
1 goal

Discipline[edit]

A player is automatically suspended for the next match for the following offences:[8]

  • Receiving a red card (red card suspensions may be extended for serious offences)
  • Receiving two yellow cards in two different matches (yellow card suspensions are carried forward to the play-offs, but not the finals or any other future international matches)

The following suspensions were served during the qualifying matches:

Player Team Offence(s) Suspended for match(es)
David Meyler  Republic of Ireland Yellow card vs Wales (24 March 2017)
Yellow card vs Wales (9 October 2017)
vs Denmark (11 November 2017)
Mikael Lustig  Sweden Yellow card vs Netherlands (6 September 2016)
Yellow card vs Netherlands (9 October 2017)
vs Italy (10 November 2017)
Corry Evans  Northern Ireland Yellow card vs Azerbaijan (11 November 2016)
Yellow card vs Switzerland (9 November 2017)
vs Switzerland (12 November 2017)
Marco Verratti  Italy Yellow card vs Spain (2 September 2017)
Yellow card vs Sweden (10 November 2017)
vs Sweden (13 November 2017)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "FIFA World Cup European play-off draw to take place on 17 October". FIFA.com. 6 September 2017. 
  2. ^ "Focus switches to World Cup qualifying". UEFA.com. 22 August 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "As it stands: ranking of second-placed teams". UEFA.com. 3 October 2017. 
  4. ^ "Competition format - FIFA World Cup - News - UEFA.com". uefa.com. UEFA. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 
  5. ^ "Huppenkothen and Hierro will present European play-off draw". FIFA.com. 13 October 2017. Retrieved 18 October 2017. 
  6. ^ "European Qualifiers: World Cup play-off draw". UEFA.com. 17 October 2017. 
  7. ^ "FIXTURE LIST" (PDF). UEFA.com. 
  8. ^ "Regulations – 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia" (PDF). FIFA.com. 

External links[edit]