By Euro Weekly News Media • 30 July 2015 • 8:51
Last Saturday in St Petersburg, Russia, the draw was made for the qualifying groups of the 2018 World Cup, and there are some terrific battles ahead, especially in Europe including England v Scotland, Netherlands v France, Northern Ireland against the 2014 winners Germany, The Republic of Ireland v Wales and Spain v Italy.
When asked about the games against Scotland and his country’s chances, England boss Roy Hodgson said: “They will be two tough games, obviously, but I might not be in the job in 2018.”
The full draw is:
Netherlands, France, Sweden, Bulgaria, Belarus, Luxembourg
Portugal, Switzerland, Hungary, Faroe Islands, Latvia, Andorra
Germany, Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Norway, Azerbaijan, San Marino
Wales, Austria, Serbia, Republic of Ireland, Moldova, Georgia
Romania, Denmark, Poland, Montenegro, Armenia, Kazakhstan
England, Slovakia, Scotland, Slovenia, Lithuania, Malta
Spain, Italy, Albania, Israel, FYR Macedonia, Liechtenstein
Belgium, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Greece, Estonia, Cyprus
Croatia, Iceland, Ukraine, Turkey, Finland
Two-legged ties, to be played between October 5-13, 2015.
Somalia v Niger, South Sudan v Mauritania, Gambia v Namibia, Sao Tome e Principe v Ethiopia, Chad v Sierra Leone, Comoros v Lesotho, Djibouti v Swaziland, Eritrea v Botswana, Seychelles v Burundi, Liberia v Guinea-Bissau, Central African Republic v Madagascar, Mauritius v Kenya, Tanzania v Malawi
Two-legged ties, played 9-17 November 9-17, 2015.
Somalia/Niger v Cameroon, South Sudan/Mauritania v Tunisia, Gambia/Namibia v Guinea, Sao Tome e Principe/Ethiopia v Congo, Chad/Sierra Leone v Egypt, Comoros/Lesotho v Ghana, Djibouti/Swaziland v Nigeria, Eritrea/Botswana v Mali, Seychelles/Burundi v Congo DR, Liberia/Guinea-Bissau v Ivory Coast, Central African Republic/Madagascar v Senegal, Mauritius/Kenya v Cape Verde, Tanzania/Malawi v Algeria, Sudan v Zambia, Libya v Rwanda, Morocco v Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique v Gabon, Benin v Burkina Faso, Togo v Uganda, Angola v South Africa
The 20 winners from the second round will go into a third round comprising five groups of four. The winners of each group qualify for the World Cup.
Two-legged ties, played from August 31 – September 8.
Curacao v El Salvador, Canada v Belize, Grenada v Haiti, Jamaica v Nicaragua, St Vincent & Grenadines v Aruba, Antigua & Barbuda v Guatemala
Honduras, Mexico, Curacao/El Salvador, Canada/Belize
Panama, Costa Rica, Grenada/Haiti, Jamaica/Nicaragua
Trinidad & Tobago, USA, St Vincent & Grenadines/Aruba, Antigua & Barbuda/Guatemala
The top two teams from each group will play in a six-team mini-league. The top three qualify and the fourth goes into an inter-continental play-off.
Round one (group stage)
American Samoa, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga
Round two (group stage)
Winner of round one between American Samoa, Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga. Plus Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Tahiti
New Zealand, Vanuatu, Fiji, Solomon Islands
The top three teams in Group A and Group B progress to round three. That will comprise of two groups of three, with the top team in each progressing to a two-legged play-off. The winners of that qualify for the inter-continental play-off.
Colombia, Chile, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, Uruguay
Top four automatically qualify. Fifth place goes into a play-off.
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