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MOSCOW, September 6. /TASS/. The European play-off draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia has been scheduled for October 17 in Switzerland’s Zurich, according to Wednesday’s statement from FIFA.
The winners of nine qualifying groups in the European zone will be granted straight go-aheads for the much anticipated global football tournament and they will be all decided by October 10. As of now, Belgium is the only national team, which secured the first place in its Group H ahead of schedule and was granted the birth in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
"While all nine teams qualifying directly as European group winners will be known on 10 October, the eight best runners-up will be decided by ranking criteria as stated in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Regulations, namely points, goal difference, goals scored, goals scored away from home and disciplinary ranking, with the results against teams ranked 6th not being taken into account," the FIFA said in its statement on Wednesday.
"The eight teams will be paired into four home-and-away ties, with the matches foreseen to be played in the period between 9 and 14 November," the statement added.
After hosting the FIFA Confederations Cup this summer, Russia is now in full-swing preparations to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Russia was granted the right for the football championship after clinching the bid in Guatemala in December 2010. The victory came following a tight race against a bid from England, a joint bid from Portugal and Spain and another joint bid on behalf of Belgium and the Netherlands.
The country selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.
The matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums located in the 11 above-mentioned cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital.
The Final Draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup has been scheduled to be held in the Kremlin, Moscow, on December 1.