News: European Qualifiers: World Cup play-off places confirmed

Tuesday 10 October 2017 23.15 CET

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 best 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).

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.