European teams will be seeded in World Cup Play-Off draw
With the current situation among the groups, the decision means that hypothetically, Italy would avoid meeting Portugal in the draw on 17 October.
FIFA announced today that the European teams going into next month's 2018 World Cup Play-Off draw will be seeded in accordance with their ranking. The eight teams who finish as the best runners-up in their qualifying group for Russia 2018 will be separated in the 17 October draw with the four teams who appear higher in the FIFA/Coca Cola ranking going into one pot and the remaining teams going into the second pot. It means that hypothetically - in a scenario where both ended second in their respective groups, Italy, who are ranked 12th, would avoid meeting Portugal, ranked 6th, when the the draw is made in Zurich on 17 October.
2018 Play-Offs to be played on 9 and 14 November
The eight European teams involved in the Play-Offs will play two-legged ties with matches taking place on 9 and 14 November. Apart from Italy and Portugal, the other teams who currently occupy second place in their qualifying groups, with their respective ranking in brackets, are: Sweden (19th), Wales (18th), Iceland (20th), Slovakia (22nd), Northern Ireland (23rd), Bosnia (30th) and Montenegro (52nd).
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