MOSCOW, October 16. /TASS/. Two pots for the 2018 World Cup Playoff Draw in the European zone have been announced after the newly published FIFA World Rankings list had been issued earlier in the day, the world’s governing football body said in its statement on Monday.
"When qualification kicked off on 4 September 2016, there were 13 European places up for grabs at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia," the FIFA said in its statement. "So far, the nine group winners, France, Portugal, Germany, Serbia, Poland, England, Spain, Belgium and Iceland have qualified directly, while the eight best second-placed teams will now fight it out for the four remaining spots."
According to the statement, Slovakia was dropped from the play-off competition as the worst-ranked second placed team in nine European groups and the eight remaining teams, which will be divided into two pots for the European Draw are: Sweden, Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Denmark, Italy, Greece and Croatia.
"The first (Pot) will contain the four seeded teams, with the remaining countries going in the second pot," the statement said. "The seeded teams have been decided by October’s FIFA… World Ranking, published today."
"Based on these rankings, Switzerland, Italy, Croatia and Denmark will be in Pot 1, while Northern Ireland, Sweden, Republic of Ireland and Greece will be in Pot 2," the statement added.
Teams drawn in a total of four playoff ties are playing two games, namely at home and away, and the first-leg matches are scheduled to be held between November 9 and 11, while the second-leg fixtures are due to be held between November 12 and 14.
The European playoff draw procedure will be held on Tuesday, October 17, at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich starting at 2:00 p.m. local time (12:00 GMT).
After successfully hosting the FIFA Confederations Cup this summer, Russia is now in full-swing preparations to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
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 mentioned above cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital.
The teams, which already qualified for the next year’s championship are hosts Russia, Brazil, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Belgium, Korea Republic, Saudi Arabia, Germany, England, Spain, Nigeria, Costa Rica, Poland, Egypt, Iceland, Serbia, France, Portugal, Panama, Uruguay, Colombia and Argentina.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup Final Draw will be held in the Russian capital of Moscow on December 1 and the Kremlin was selected as the venue for the event.