Oct 21, 2013, 8:35 AM EDT
The European playoff draw for the 2014 World Cup took place at FIFA HQ in Zurich on Monday morning, and it made sure that either Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Cristiano Ronaldo won’t be present in Brazil next summer.
That’s a bit sad, when you think about it.
As you’ve probably just worked out, Portugal will face Sweden in the playoffs, while Ukraine host France, Greece take on Romania and minnows Iceland play Croatia. Just looking at those eight illustrious nations all scrapping away for a final chance of going to Brazil 2014 makes you realize how hard it is to qualify from the UEFA region, with some real humdingers to look forward to next month.
The games will be played on Friday 15 November and Tuesday 19 November, with the first team listed below hosting the opening game.
So, who are the favorites to make the dance in 2014 after the playoff draw? I’d take Portugal over Sweden, with Ronaldo being the difference, France over Ukraine with Les Blues’ defensive solidity reigning supreme, Greece over Romania as their experience will be key, and I fancy Iceland to make their first-ever World Cup as they play a disorganized Croatia who’ve just lost their manager.
Agree? Disagree? Either way, discuss below in the comments. We’re set for some cracking playoff ties in November.
DRAW IN FULL
Portugal vs. Sweden
Ukraine vs. France
Greece vs. Romania
Iceland vs. Croatia
- Euro 2020 semis, final to be played at Wembley Stadium 1
- Sloppy USWNT 4-0 win over Mexico adds fuel to turf conversation fire 0
- MLS’s new logo: Reddit (yes, Reddit) may have a way to solve the league’s new problem 7
- Europe League roundup: Everton big winners at home; Spurs left with draw on the road 0
- It’s not too late for Major League Soccer to turn away from its new logo 21
- Premier League Power Rankings: Red Devils and Villans on the up 1