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European Qualifiers: World Cup play-off places confirmed

The nine European groups in FIFA World Cup qualifying came to a conclusion on Tuesday, with only eight of the runners-up advancing to November's play-offs.

Greece secured their play-off place with victory against Gibraltar on Tuesday
Greece secured their play-off place with victory against Gibraltar on Tuesday ©AFP/Getty Images

Who has qualified for the play-offs?

Croatia, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland.

How the best second-placed teams were ranked

All nine group winners qualified automatically. The eight runners-up with the best records against the sides first, third, fourth and fifth in their groups have gone into the play-offs for UEFA's remaining four berths (the exclusion of results against sixth-placed teams was retained to alleviate any possible imbalance between the qualifying groups caused by the late introductions of Gibraltar and Kosovo).

Final rankings: second-placed teams

Pos.GrpTeamPldPtsGDGoals
1BSwitzerland821+1218
2GItaly817+412
3EDenmark814+713
4ICroatia814+48
5ASweden813+918
6CNorthern Ireland813+410
7HGreece813+49
8DRepublic of Ireland813+27
9FSlovakia812+511

With matches against the bottom side in the six-team groups discounted, the runners-up are ranked by the following criteria, in this order, as per FIFA competition regulations, article 20 paragraph 6, criteria a), b), c), then h) and i):

1 Highest number of points
2 Best goal difference
3 Highest number of goals scored
4 Fair play points (first yellow card -1pts; second yellow card/indirect red card -3pts; direct red card -4pts; yellow card, plus direct red card -5pts)
5 Drawing of lots

What happens next?

The eight best runners-up enter a draw for the four play-off ties held in Zurich on 17 October, starting at 14:00CET. Teams will be seeded according to the FIFA rankings published the previous day, with the highest-ranked quartet in Pot 1 and the remaining sides in Pot 2.

The teams then play on a home-and-away basis, with the order of the legs decided by the draw. The first meetings take place between 9 and 11 November, with the second legs played over the following three days. The winner of each tie enters the draw for the World Cup on 1 December.