Russia 2018 Intercontinental Playoff Preview

With the conclusion of all but one of the qualifying rounds across the globe we’ve taken a pretty big step towards Russia 2018. The following 23 nations have secured their places at next summer’s World Cup:

 

CONCACAF

  1. Mexico
  2. Costa Rica
  3. Panama

 

CONMEBOL:

  1. Brazil
  2. Uruguay
  3. Argentina
  4. Colombia

 

UEFA

  1. Russia (Host)
  2. Belgium
  3. Germany
  4. England
  5. Iceland
  6. Spain
  7. Portugal
  8. Serbia
  9. Poland
  10. France

 

AFC

  1. Iran
  2. Saudi Arabia
  3. Japan
  4. Korea Republic

 

CAF

  1. Egypt
  2. Nigeria

 

Nine spots remain. Four from UEFA, three from Africa, and the final two from the Intercontinental Playoff. Here are the matchups for the Intercontinental Playoff:

 

Australia (AFC) vs Honduras (CONCACAF)

             

Analysis: Honduras played better and better in each of the last few games during the Hexagonal which culminated in a victory against Mexico; however, Australia has been struggling and barely scraped by Syria in the second leg of the AFC Playoff. This is going to be a tough series for both sides.

First Leg: November 10th, 5:00pm, Estadio Olímpico, San Pedro Sula

*May take place in an empty stadium due to a streaker at the Honduras vs Mexico match

Second Leg: November 15th, 4:00 am, ANZ Stadium, Sydney

 

New Zealand (OFC) vs Peru (CONMEBOL)

           

Analysis: On the surface the outcome of this matchup is easy to predict. New Zealand, currently ranked 122nd in FIFA’s World Rankings, will face Peru, ranked 10th. The Kiwis haven’t had a good track record in the Intercontinental Playoff in past World Cups, having beaten only Bahrain in 2010.

First Leg: November 10th, 10:15pm, Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Second Leg: November 15th, 9:15 pm, Estadio Nacional, Lima

 

Here are the playoff matchups in UEFA:

 

  1. Northern Ireland v. Switzerland
  2. Croatia v. Greece
  3. Sweden v. Italy
  4. Denmark v. Republic of Ireland

 

Here are the final major fixtures for CAF:

(Groups B and Group E aren’t shown: Nigeria won Group B and Egypt won Group E)

 

Group A:

  • Congo DR v. Guinea, November 11th, 12:30pm, Stade de Matyrs, Kinshasa, Congo DR
  • Tunisia v. Libya, November 11th, 12:30pm, Stade Olympique de Redes, Redes, Tunisia

Tunisia clinches berth with Congo DR loss/tie; Congo DR clinches with win AND Tunisia loss by 2+ goals

 

Group C

  • Gabon v. Mali, November 11th, 9:30am, Stade de Franceville, Franceville, Gabon
  • Ivory Coast v. Morocco, November 12th, 12:30pm, Felix Houphounet-Bolingy Stadium, Abidjan, Ivory Coast

Winner of Ivory Coast-Morocco clinches World Cup berth; Ivory Coast-Morocco draw = Morocco advances.

 

Group D

  • South Africa v. Senegal, November 10th, Noon, Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane, South Africa

Rematch of vacated fixture that South Africa originally won, but Senegal challenged the controversial ruling of a penalty and won the appeal.

  • Senegal v. South Africa, November 14th, 2:30pm, Stade Leopold Sedar Senghor, Dakar, Senegal
  • Burkina Faso v. Cape Verde Islands, November 14th, 2:30pm, Stade du 4 Août, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Pending the first South Africa-Senegal game, all four teams are able to go to the World Cup, however if:

  1. South Africa loses the game in South Africa against Senegal, they are out for contention for the World Cup.
  2. Senegal Clinches World Cup Berth.
  3. If there is a draw in the South Africa vs Senegal then South Africa is out of the World Cup AND Burkina Faso-Cape Verde Islands becomes an elimination game .
  4. If there is a draw between the first South Africa-Senegal game, Senegal can clinch with a draw/win in the second fixture, BUT a loss in both and a win by either Burkina Faso (by 3+) or Cape Verde Islands (by 4+) would result in the winning nation clinching.
  5. If South Africa sweeps both games against Senegal then they’ll qualify for the World Cup.

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