World Cup Play-Off Preview – All four European ties are under the microscope as they all play for a place in Russia in 2018.

 The next two weeks will decide which four European teams will be the last four to quality for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

10 teams have already qualified from Europe and four ties with eight teams will decide who goes and doesn’t qualify.

Northern Ireland v Switzerland


The Swiss were cruelly denied an automatic spot to Russia. They were beaten by Euro 2016 winners in their final match in Lisbon.

Switzerland are side who hard to beat and before their defeat to Portugal, their last defeat was just over two years ago to England and will be hard to beat.

A strong defence is what they have bulit on under Vladimir Petkovic since he took charge of the national team.

Northern Ireland were assured of their play-off place for a long time and knew of their fate.

There place was confirmed when they beat the Czech Republic 2-0 at Windsor Park with two games to spare.

Northern Ireland are hard to beat at home and a lively atmosphere at Windsor Park can make opposing teams chances of a win harder. With an Michael O’Neill, Northern Ireland’s manager, thinking on an emphasis on defence; this game will be interesting to see how it unfolds.

Score Prediction over two Legs: Switzerland 3-1 Northern Ireland

Croatia v Greece


Croatia were involved in the most entertaining qualifying group with them, Iceland, Turkey and Ukraine.

Croatia were top of their group with two games to go but a defeat to Finland saw them hand top spot to Iceland who duly took it and held onto top spot and forced Ante Cacic’s team into the play-offs.

Croatia are heavy favourites against Greece and probably the heaviest to win out of the four ties.

Croatia are team with amazing creative and attacking talent in Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Ivan Perisic- that alone is enough to hurt Greece.

After an awful Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, Greece were finally able to make the play-offs under coach Michael Skibbe.

They narrowly pipped Bosnia to the play-off spot in their group as they finished below Belgium who cruised into the World Cup finals with only drawing one game out of ten and winning nine.

Greece who were dramatically knocked out in Brazil 2014 by Costa Rica on penalties. Will want to hope they can reach their third consecutive World Cup Finals.

Score Predicition over two legs: Greece 1-5 Croatia

Denmark v Republic of Ireland


When the seeds were announced for the play-off draw. Out of all the top seeds the Republic of Ireland would most definitely would have settled for Denmark pre-draw.

Martin O’Neill’s side faced Wales at the Cardiff City Stadium in a must win last game, anything but a win they were out and their opponents were through at their expense.

Ireland won 1-0 thanks to James McClean strike to break Welsh hearts.

The first leg sees Ireland away and if they could get an away goal it would be a massive bonus for the Irish, who have a good home record in competitive games.

Denmark who finished second in Group E to Poland were at one point looking like missing out altogether, but a 1-0 win away in Montenegro virtually sealed their place second spot.

Republic of Ireland will know that their man threat is Christian Eriksen. Eriksen is a talented, creative, goalscoring threat and Martin O’Neill will have to keep the Spurs man quiet over the two legs.

Score Predicition over two legs: Republic of Ireland 3-1 Denmark

Sweden v Italy


The possibility of Italy not qualifying for the World Cup could happen for the first time since 1930, the first edition of the tournament.

They were in a group alongside Spain and they finished second with some very sub-standard performances and poor performances in the process. 1-1 at home to Macedonia and 3-0 drubbing against Spain have put coach Giampiero Ventura under pressure.

They have great quality in their squad but it is whether it all comes together including Marco Verratti, Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Belotti of Torino.

Sweden, were beaten at this stage in 2013 when they were trying to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil only to beaten by Portugal 2-4 over two legs in which Cristiano Ronaldo; performed a masterclass in the second leg at the Friends Arena to win 3-2.

Sweden have also made to this stage without the flamboyant Zlatan Ibrahimovic- who finally called time on his career after Euro 2016; and they pipped the Dutch to finish second which was also a high for them.

This game will be tight battle and over two legs will be decided by the finest of margins.

Score predicition over two legs: Italy 2-1 Sweden

Do you agree with these predictions? Let us know in the comments below!