Portugal and Croatia to top playoff seeds

Posted by Dale Johnson

Portugal are assured of a place in the playoffs.GettyImagesPortugal are assured of a place in the playoffs.

Portugal and Croatia are likely to be the top seeds for the European World Cup playoff draw next week -- with Tuesday's results to decide who gets the third and fourth berths.

Paulo Bento's Portugal side could yet overtake Russia at the top of Group F, but that is no more than a mathematical possibility. And with Portugal playing Luxembourg on Tuesday in what should provide a regulation victory they are in line to be the highest ranked side in the draw.

Croatia's place in the knockout matches is not yet secure because defeat to Scotland could leave them as the unlucky runners-up who miss out on the playoffs. If they do lose in Scotland but still qualify for the play-offs the only way they cannot be seeded if England, or highly unlikely Spain, do not qualify automatically.

The key issue in World Cup seeding surrounds Sweden, Slovenia, France and Ukraine -- but Didier Deschamps' side have little chance of being in the top four due to Ukraine's fixture against San Marino. Slovenia actually stand the best chance of making a shock move into the top four should they beat Switzerland.

SPAIN
It would take a collapse of enormous proportions, but Spain would obviously be top seeds in the playoffs. For the purposes of the article we will consider Spain to have qualified because the chance of it not happening is so small.

CROATIA
A draw or a win in Scotland would guarantee a place among the seeds. Should Croatia lose they have to hope results elsewhere do not make them the unlucky runners-up. If they do lose but still make the playoffs they can only be unseeded if England do not win their group.

PORTUGAL
Are guaranteed to be seeded should they drop into the playoffs which is almost certain.

GREECE
They are at home to Liechtenstein and could yet qualify automatically if Bosnia slip up. If they are in the play-offs they are guaranteed to be seeded.

RUSSIA
It is highly unlikely they are going to be present. If so, they will have 849 FIFA Ranking points, and would only be seeded if all of the following results happened: England beat Poland, plus France, Ukraine and Slovenia fail to win.

ENGLAND
Guaranteed to be seeded should they fail to beat Poland and drop into the playoffs.

BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA
If they win in Lithuania they will qualify due to their goal difference, so they can only be in the playoffs should they draw or lose. If Bosnia draw, they can only be seeded if either Sweden lose to Germany or Slovenia fail to beat Switzerland - though if England drop into the playoffs Bosnia need both of those results to come off. If Bosnia lose to Lithuania, they would also need France and Ukraine to fail to win.

SWEDEN
They have a half-decent chance as two pairs of nations above them in the rankings are in the same group, meaning two nations will not be in the play-offs.
Sweden must play Germany, and a win would earn a seeding berth unless England drop into the playoffs. Should England win, Sweden would need Croatia or Greece to fail to win to move up.

If Greece are in the playoffs:
With a draw, Sweden would be seeded unless England dropped into the playoffs
With a defeat, Sweden would only be seeded if England win, plus France, Ukraine and Slovenia fail to win.

If Bosnia are in the playoffs:
With a draw, Sweden would be seeded.
With a defeat, Sweden would be seeded if England win, plus France, Ukraine and Slovenia fail to win.

SLOVENIA
If Greece are in the playoffs:
Slovenia must win, England must beat Poland and Sweden must lose to Germany

If Bosnia are in the playoffs:
Slovenia must win, and only one of the following can happen: England fail to beat Poland and Sweden avoid defeat to Germany, Bosnia beat Lithuania.

UKRAINE
If Greece are in the playoffs:
Ukraine must win, England must beat Poland, Sweden have to lose to Germany while Ukraine and Slovenia must not win

If Bosnia are in the playoffs:
Ukraine must win. And only one of the following can happen: Sweden and Bosnia avoid defeat and Slovenia do not win.

FRANCE
Only slim hopes for France to be seeded.

If Greece are in the playoffs:
France must win, England must beat Poland, Sweden have to lose to Germany while Ukraine and Slovenia must not win

If Bosnia are in the playoffs:
France must win. And only one of the following can happen: Sweden and Bosnia avoid defeat while Ukraine (England are in the same group so only one can be in the playoffs) and Slovenia must not win.

- Denmark, Montenegro, Hungary, Romania, Turkey, Iceland, Armenia and Bulgaria cannot be seeded if they are in the playoffs.

How the European World Cup seedings could fall into place on Tuesday
OtherHow the European World Cup seedings could fall into place on Tuesday


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