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2018 FIFA World Cup qualification (UEFA)

2018 FIFA World Cup qualification (UEFA)
Tournament details
Dates 4 September 2016 – 14 November 2017
Teams 52 (from 1 confederation)

The European section of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification will act as qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, to be held in Russia, for national teams which are members of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). Apart from Russia, which qualify automatically as hosts, a total of 13 slots in the final tournament are available for UEFA teams.[1]

The qualifying format was confirmed by the UEFA Executive Committee meeting on 22–23 March 2015 in Vienna.[2][3]

Contents

  • Branding 1
  • Format 2
  • Entrants 3
  • Schedule 4
  • First round 5
    • Seeding 5.1
    • Groups 5.2
      • Group A 5.2.1
      • Group B 5.2.2
      • Group C 5.2.3
      • Group D 5.2.4
      • Group E 5.2.5
      • Group F 5.2.6
      • Group G 5.2.7
      • Group H 5.2.8
      • Group I 5.2.9
    • Ranking of second-placed teams 5.3
  • Second round 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Branding

UEFA unveiled the branding for the qualifiers on 15 April 2013. It shows a national jersey inside a heart, and represents Europe, honour and ambition. The same branding will also be used for the European qualifiers for the UEFA Euro 2016.[4]

Format

The qualification structure is as follows:[3][5]

  • First round (group stage): The 52 teams will be divided into nine groups (seven groups of six teams and two groups of five teams) to play home-and-away round-robin matches. The winners of each group will qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and the eight best runners-up will advance to the second round (play-offs).
  • Second round (play-offs): The eight best runners-up from the first round will play home-and-away over two legs. The four winners will qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Entrants

Apart from Russia, which qualify automatically as hosts, all remaining 52 FIFA-affiliated national teams from UEFA entered qualification.[6]

Gibraltar, despite being a UEFA member since 2013, is not a FIFA member, and thus is not eligible to qualify for the FIFA World Cup. They have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to challenge FIFA's refusal to grant membership in order to enter World Cup qualifying.[7]

Schedule

Qualifying matches will start in September 2016, following UEFA Euro 2016, and finish in November 2017.[3][8]

Round Matchday Date
First round
(Group stage)
Matchday 1 4–6 September 2016
Matchday 2 6–8 October 2016
Matchday 3 9–11 October 2016
Matchday 4 11–13 November 2016
Matchday 5 24–26 March 2017
Matchday 6 9–11 June 2017
Matchday 7 31 August–2 September 2017
Matchday 8 3–5 September 2017
Matchday 9 5–7 October 2017
Matchday 10 8–10 October 2017
Round Matchday Date
Second round
(Play-offs)
First leg 9–11 November 2017
Second leg 12–14 November 2017

The scheduling of qualifying matches, which will be centralized by UEFA, will follow the "Week of Football" concept first used for UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying:[9]

  • Matches take place from Thursday to Tuesday.
  • Kick-off times are largely set at 18:00 and 20:45 CET on Saturdays and Sundays, and 20:45 CET on Thursdays, Fridays, Mondays and Tuesdays.
  • On double-header matchweeks, teams play on Thursday and Sunday, or Friday and Monday, or Saturday and Tuesday.
  • Matches in the same group are played on the same day.

The fixture list was confirmed by UEFA on 26 July 2015, the day following the draw.[8]

Additionally, the hosts Russia, while having already qualified automatically, will be partnered with a five-team Group H, which enables them to play friendlies against these countries on their spare dates (these friendlies do not count in the qualifying group standings).[10]

First round

Seeding

The draw for the first round (group stage) was held as part of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Preliminary Draw on 25 July 2015, starting 18:00 MSK (UTC+3), at the Konstantinovsky Palace in Strelna, Saint Petersburg, Russia.[8]

The seeding was based on the FIFA World Rankings of July 2015. The 52 teams are seeded into six pots:

  • Pot 1 contains the teams ranked 1–9.
  • Pot 2 contains the teams ranked 10–18.
  • Pot 3 contains the teams ranked 19–27.
  • Pot 4 contains the teams ranked 28–36.
  • Pot 5 contains the teams ranked 37–45.
  • Pot 6 contains the teams ranked 46–52.

Each six-team group contains one team from each of the six pots, while each five-team group contains one team from each of the first five pots.[8]

Due to the centralisation of media rights for European Qualifiers, England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands were all drawn into six-team groups. Netherlands and France were drawn together in Group A, and Spain and Italy were drawn together in Group G.[8]

In consideration of the delicate political situations of the relationships between Armenia and Azerbaijan, UEFA requested that FIFA maintain the current UEFA policy not to draw these teams into the same qualification groups (since the two teams were in the same seeding pot, this did not happen regardless of the request).[8]

Teams were allocated to seeding pots as follows (July 2015 FIFA Rankings shown in brackets).[11]

Pot 1 Pot 2 Pot 3
  1.  Germany (2)
  2.  Belgium (3)
  3.  Netherlands (5)
  4.  Portugal (7)
  5.  Romania (8)
  6.  England (9)
  7.  Wales (10)
  8.  Spain (12)
  9.  Croatia (14)
  1.  Slovakia (15)
  2.  Austria (15)
  3.  Italy (17)
  4.   Switzerland (18)
  5.  Czech Republic (20)
  6.  France (22)
  7.  Iceland (23)
  8.  Denmark (24)
  9.  Bosnia and Herzegovina (26)
  1.  Ukraine (27)
  2.  Scotland (29)
  3.  Poland (30)
  4.  Hungary (31)
  5.  Sweden (33)
  6.  Albania (36)
  7.  Northern Ireland (37)
  8.  Serbia (43)
  9.  Greece (44)
Pot 4 Pot 5 Pot 6
  1.  Turkey (48)
  2.  Slovenia (49)
  3.  Israel (51)
  4.  Republic of Ireland (52)
  5.  Norway (67)
  6.  Bulgaria (68)
  7.  Faroe Islands (74)
  8.  Montenegro (81)
  9.  Estonia (82)
  1.  Cyprus (85)
  2.  Latvia (87)
  3.  Armenia (89)
  4.  Finland (90)
  5.  Belarus (100)
  6.  Macedonia (105)
  7.  Azerbaijan (108)
  8.  Lithuania (110)
  9.  Moldova (124)
  1.  Kazakhstan (142)
  2.  Luxembourg (146)
  3.  Liechtenstein (147)
  4.  Georgia (153)
  5.  Malta (158)
  6.  San Marino (192)
  7.  Andorra (202)

Groups

Group A

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Netherlands 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Qualification to 2018 FIFA World Cup 10 Oct '16 10 Oct '17 3 Sep '17 7 Oct '16 9 Jun '17
1  France 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Possible second round[1] 31 Aug '17 13 Nov '16 7 Oct '16 10 Oct '17 3 Sep '17
1  Sweden 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 Sep '16 9 Jun '17 10 Oct '16 25 Mar '17 7 Oct '17
1  Bulgaria 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 25 Mar '17 7 Oct '17 31 Aug '17 13 Nov '16 6 Sep '16
1  Belarus 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 Oct '17 6 Sep '16 3 Sep '17 9 Jun '17 10 Oct '16
1  Luxembourg 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 13 Nov '16 25 Mar '17 7 Oct '16 10 Oct '17 31 Aug '17
First match(es) will be played on 6 September 2016. Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Qualification tiebreakers
Notes:
  1. ^ The eight best runners-up across all groups will advance to the second round (play-offs). The ninth-ranked runners-up will be eliminated.

Group B

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Portugal 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Qualification to 2018 FIFA World Cup 10 Oct '17 25 Mar '17 31 Aug '17 13 Nov '16 7 Oct '16
1   Switzerland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Possible second round[1] 6 Sep '16 7 Oct '17 13 Nov '16 25 Mar '17 31 Aug '17
1  Hungary 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 Sep '17 7 Oct '16 10 Oct '17 31 Aug '17 13 Nov '16
1  Faroe Islands 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 10 Oct '16 9 Jun '17 6 Sep '16 7 Oct '17 3 Sep '17
1  Latvia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 Jun '17 3 Sep '17 10 Oct '16 7 Oct '16 10 Oct '17
1  Andorra 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 Oct '17 10 Oct '16 9 Jun '17 25 Mar '17 6 Sep '16
First match(es) will be played on 6 September 2016. Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Qualification tiebreakers
Notes:
  1. ^ The eight best runners-up across all groups will advance to the second round (play-offs). The ninth-ranked runners-up will be eliminated.

Group C

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Germany 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Qualification to 2018 FIFA World Cup 8 Oct '16 11 Oct '16 4 Sep '17 8 Oct '17 10 Jun '17
1  Czech Republic 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Possible second round[1] 1 Sep '17 4 Sep '16 11 Nov '16 11 Oct '16 8 Oct '17
1  Northern Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 Oct '17 4 Sep '17 26 Mar '17 11 Nov '16 8 Oct '16
1  Norway 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 Sep '16 10 Jun '17 8 Oct '17 1 Sep '17 11 Oct '16
1  Azerbaijan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 26 Mar '17 5 Oct '17 10 Jun '17 8 Oct '16 4 Sep '17
1  San Marino 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 11 Nov '16 26 Mar '17 1 Sep '17 5 Oct '17 4 Sep '16
First match(es) will be played on 4 September 2016. Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Qualification tiebreakers
Notes:
  1. ^ The eight best runners-up across all groups will advance to the second round (play-offs). The ninth-ranked runners-up will be eliminated.

Group D

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Qualification to 2018 FIFA World Cup 2 Sep '17 12 Nov '16 9 Oct '17 5 Sep '16 9 Oct '16
1  Austria 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Possible second round[1] 6 Oct '16 6 Oct '17 12 Nov '16 24 Mar '17 5 Sep '17
1  Serbia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 11 Jun '17 9 Oct '16 5 Sep '16 2 Sep '17 9 Oct '17
1  Republic of Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 24 Mar '17 11 Jun '17 5 Sep '17 6 Oct '17 6 Oct '16
1  Moldova 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 Sep '17 9 Oct '17 6 Oct '16 9 Oct '16 11 Jun '17
1  Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 Oct '17 5 Sep '16 24 Mar '17 2 Sep '17 12 Nov '16
First match(es) will be played on 5 September 2016. Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Qualification tiebreakers
Notes:
  1. ^ The eight best runners-up across all groups will advance to the second round (play-offs). The ninth-ranked runners-up will be eliminated.

Group E

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Qualification to 2018 FIFA World Cup 26 Mar '17 11 Nov '16 4 Sep '16 1 Sep '17 5 Oct '17
1  Denmark 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Possible second round[1] 8 Oct '17 1 Sep '17 11 Oct '16 4 Sep '16 11 Nov '16
1  Poland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 10 Jun '17 8 Oct '16 8 Oct '17 11 Oct '16 4 Sep '17
1  Montenegro 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 Sep '17 5 Oct '17 26 Mar '17 10 Jun '17 8 Oct '16
1  Armenia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 Oct '16 4 Sep '17 5 Oct '17 11 Nov '16 26 Mar '17
1  Kazakhstan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 11 Oct '16 10 Jun '17 4 Sep '16 1 Sep '17 8 Oct '17
First match(es) will be played on 4 September 2016. Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Qualification tiebreakers
Notes:
  1. ^ The eight best runners-up across all groups will advance to the second round (play-offs). The ninth-ranked runners-up will be eliminated.

Group F

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  England 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Qualification to 2018 FIFA World Cup 4 Sep '17 11 Nov '16 5 Oct '17 26 Mar '17 8 Oct '16
1  Slovakia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Possible second round[1] 4 Sep '16 11 Oct '16 1 Sep '17 11 Nov '16 8 Oct '17
1  Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 10 Jun '17 5 Oct '17 26 Mar '17 8 Oct '16 4 Sep '17
1  Slovenia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 11 Oct '16 8 Oct '16 8 Oct '17 4 Sep '17 10 Jun '17
1  Lithuania 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 Oct '17 10 Jun '17 1 Sep '17 4 Sep '16 11 Oct '16
1  Malta 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 Sep '17 26 Mar '17 4 Sep '16 11 Nov '16 5 Oct '17
First match(es) will be played on 4 September 2016. Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Qualification tiebreakers
Notes:
  1. ^ The eight best runners-up across all groups will advance to the second round (play-offs). The ninth-ranked runners-up will be eliminated.

Group G

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Spain 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Qualification to 2018 FIFA World Cup 2 Sep '17 6 Oct '17 24 Mar '17 12 Nov '16 5 Sep '16
1  Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Possible second round[1] 6 Oct '16 24 Mar '17 5 Sep '17 6 Oct '17 11 Jun '17
1  Albania 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 Oct '16 9 Oct '17 12 Nov '16 5 Sep '16 2 Sep '17
1  Israel 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 Oct '17 5 Sep '16 11 Jun '17 2 Sep '17 9 Oct '16
1  Macedonia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 11 Jun '17 9 Oct '16 5 Sep '17 6 Oct '16 9 Oct '17
1  Liechtenstein 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 Sep '17 12 Nov '16 6 Oct '16 6 Oct '17 24 Mar '17
First match(es) will be played on 5 September 2016. Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Qualification tiebreakers
Notes:
  1. ^ The eight best runners-up across all groups will advance to the second round (play-offs). The ninth-ranked runners-up will be eliminated.

Group H

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Belgium 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Qualification to 2018 FIFA World Cup 7 Oct '16 25 Mar '17 13 Nov '16 10 Oct '17
1  Bosnia and Herzegovina 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Possible second round[1] 7 Oct '17 9 Jun '17 6 Sep '16 10 Oct '16
1  Greece 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 Sep '17 13 Nov '16 31 Aug '17 7 Oct '16
1  Estonia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 Jun '17 10 Oct '17 10 Oct '16 3 Sep '17
1  Cyprus 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 Sep '16 31 Aug '17 7 Oct '17 25 Mar '17
First match(es) will be played on 6 September 2016. Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Qualification tiebreakers
Notes:
  1. ^ The eight best runners-up across all groups will advance to the second round (play-offs). The ninth-ranked runners-up will be eliminated.

Group I

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Croatia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Qualification to 2018 FIFA World Cup 12 Nov '16 24 Mar '17 5 Sep '16 6 Oct '17
1  Iceland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Possible second round[1] 11 Jun '17 5 Sep '17 9 Oct '16 6 Oct '16
1  Ukraine 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 Oct '17 5 Sep '16 2 Sep '17 12 Nov '16
1  Turkey 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 Sep '17 6 Oct '17 6 Oct '16 24 Mar '17
1  Finland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 Oct '16 2 Sep '17 11 Jun '17 9 Oct '17
First match(es) will be played on 5 September 2016. Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Qualification tiebreakers
Notes:
  1. ^ The eight best runners-up across all groups will advance to the second round (play-offs). The ninth-ranked runners-up will be eliminated.

Ranking of second-placed teams

Because two groups have one team fewer than the other groups, matches against the last-placed team in each of the six-team groups are not included in this ranking. As a result, eight matches played by each team will be counted for the purposes of the second-placed table.

The eight best runners-ups determined by the following parameters in this order:

  1. Highest number of points
  2. Goal difference
  3. Highest number of goals scored
Pos Grp Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1 A Runners-up Group A 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to second round (play-offs)
1 B Runners-up Group B 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1 C Runners-up Group C 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1 D Runners-up Group D 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1 E Runners-up Group E 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1 F Runners-up Group F 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1 G Runners-up Group G 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1 H Runners-up Group H 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1 I Runners-up Group I 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
First match(es) will be played on 4 September 2016. Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: 1) Points from matches against teams ranked first to fifth in the group; 2) Superior goal difference from these matches; 3) Higher number of goals scored in these matches.

Second round

The draw for the second round (play-offs) will be held in October 2017, after the first round (group stage) is completed.

Winners qualify for 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Team 1 Agg. Team 2 1st leg 2nd leg
9–11 Nov 12–14 Nov
9–11 Nov 12–14 Nov
9–11 Nov 12–14 Nov
9–11 Nov 12–14 Nov

References

  1. ^ "Current allocation of FIFA World Cup™ confederation slots maintained". FIFA.com. 30 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "Executive Committee date in Vienna". UEFA.org. 21 March 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "New distribution concept for club competitions approved". UEFA.org. 23 March 2015. 
  4. ^ "European qualifiers branding launched".  
  5. ^ "Draw Procedures – European Zone" (PDF). FIFA.com. 
  6. ^ "Road to Russia with new milestone". FIFA.com. 15 January 2015. 
  7. ^ "Gibraltar appeal to court for Fifa recognition to enter World Cup qualifying". The Guardian. 12 February 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f "FIFA World Cup qualifying draw format". UEFA.com. 16 June 2015. 
  9. ^ "UEFA announces deals for European qualifiers". UEFA.org. 10 April 2013. 
  10. ^ "Commercial regulations for the European qualifying matches for UEFA EURO 2016 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup" (PDF). UEFA.com. 
  11. ^ "FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking – July 2015 (UEFA)". FIFA.com. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. 9 July 2015. Retrieved 9 July 2015. 
  12. ^ "Regulations – 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia" (PDF). FIFA.com. 

External links

  • Official websites for 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, Qualifiers – Europe, FIFA.com
  • Official websites for FIFA World Cup (UEFA), Schedule and Results, UEFA.com
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