UEFA World Cup Qualifying 2014 Draw Results: Teams and Playoff Fixtures Released
Portugal will play Sweden in what is the standout tie of the draw for the UEFA 2014 World Cup qualifying playoffs, in a game that will pit superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic head-to-head for a place at the competition in Brazil next summer.
France, meanwhile, will face a difficult first leg trip to Kiev as they seek to qualify for a place among the tournament's 32 sides, while Greece will face Romania and Iceland will take on Croatia:
|Fixture||1st Leg||2nd Leg|
|Portugal vs. Sweden||15 November||19 November|
|Ukraine vs. France||15 November||19 November|
|Greece vs. Romania||15 November||19 November|
|Iceland vs. Croatia||15 November||19 November|
The two-legged ties will be played in the middle of November, ahead of the full World Cup draw in Bahia this December.
Former Switzerland striker Alexander Frei was FIFA's special guest to conduct the draw on this occasion, with Portugal the first side plucked out of the pot of seeded teams.
There would have been much tension among French ranks at that stage, with all the unseeded nations keen to avoid a tie with Portugal, but it was Sweden who were drawn to face the seleccao:
Portugal vs Sweden: Head-to-head record (last 4 meetings) pic.twitter.com/aeipwrCjyo— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) October 21, 2013
France, though, will face a firm test of their own, having been drawn against Ukraine in the second fixture out of the pot.
Ukraine finished a narrow second to England in qualification, earning a place as a seeded nation in the playoff draw. France will have the advantage of a second-leg in Paris, but will be wary of the threat posed by the Eastern European side over two ties.
In perhaps the most forgettable tie of the draw, Greece will face Romania for a place in Brazil:
Greece. This must be us. Romania? Yes! This will be the worst game of football in years!— Emanuel Roşu (@Emishor) October 21, 2013
Romania finished second to Netherlands in Group D of qualification, knocking out Hungary and Turkey in the process, while Greece finished second to Bosnia-Herzegovina on goal difference alone.
Finishing off the playoff draw were Iceland and Croatia, who will play out what will be Reykjavik's first ever international fixture in November—when temperatures could well challenge both sides:
Not sure Croatia will fancy an away leg in Iceland in mid-November. Plus Portugal and Sweden again! France v Ukraine hard to call #playoffs— Peter E (@Seasider06) October 21, 2013
Croatia, though, will have the advantage of a home fixture in the second leg as they seek to prevent Iceland from reaching a first ever World Cup finals next summer.
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