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European giants Portugal, Sweden to clash in 2014 World Cup playoffs

Oct 21, 2013, 8:35 AM EST

Portugal Israel WCup Soccer AP

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

  1. Sport Follower - Oct 21, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    The draw wasn’t the best for Portugal, but wasn’t the worst. Portugal has good chances.

  2. geojock - Oct 21, 2013 at 8:52 AM

    For some reason I am pulling for Iceland.

  3. quizguy66 - Oct 21, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    Iceland qualifying would be a wonderful story. At the beginning of the process they were placed in Pot 6 (heck, even the Faroes were placed in Pot 5). It would an incredible upset for them to make it all the way to the big dance. Unless you’re Croatian how can you not pull for Strákarnir okkar?

    -QG

  4. jrocknstuff - Oct 21, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    Ukraine are better than people think. If France can’t find an away goal in the opening leg, they may be in a bit of trouble

  5. danielofthedale - Oct 21, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    As a US fan I am really pulling for Sweden and Ukraine. I would feel so much better going into the Draw if one of the Portugal/France duo was not there and very happy if both were to miss out.

  6. footballer4ever - Oct 22, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    Prefer for Ronaldo/Portugal than drama queen, no pun intended, Zatlan Ibrahimovic. This is coming from a Messi fan.

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