We now know which nations from Europe will be competing in Russia in 2018 apart from the 4 play off Winners, i have had a look at all of the 8 nations in detail.

The draw has thrown up the following ties -

Northern Ireland v Switzerland

Croatia v Greece

Sweden v Italy

Denmark v Republic of Ireland

Northern Ireland v Switzerland

1st leg in Ireland on Thursday 9th November, with the return leg in Switzerland on Sunday 12th November.

Northern Ireland finished 2nd in their group behind Germany, but ahead of the Czech Republic and Norway, they won 6, drew 1 and lost 3 of their group games, scoring 17 and conceding just 6.

Switzerland finished behind Portugal on goal difference after winning 9 and losing 1 of their 10 matches, they scored 23 and conceded just 7

At home Northern Ireland won 4 and lost 1, the loss was against Germany in their final home group game, but in their 4 wins, they scored 12 and kept 4 clean sheets.

On the road, Northern Ireland only managed to win 2 games, those were against the group minnows, they picked up a point at the Czech Republic but lost in Germany and Norway and in the non winning games they failed to score

Switzerland won all 5 group games at home, keeping clean sheets in 4 of them, only Hungary (twice) managed to score, on the road, they picked up 4 wins and a loss in Portugal

Northern Ireland have scored in 16 of their last 19 world cup qualifiers at home and managed to keep 10 clean sheets too, on the road, they have only won 3 of their last 20 world cup qualifiers, they have failed to score in 11 of those games and only kept 6 clean sheets

Switzerland have only lost 1 of their last 21 world cup qualifiers at home and kept 13 clean sheets, on the road, they have a good record too, they have only lost 2 of their last 21 qualifiers on the road, and only failed to score in 4 games.

Northern Ireland might get a result at home but i can see them being well beaten in Switzerland and the 2/5 for Switzerland to qualify is my prediction for this tie



Croatia v Greece

1st leg in Croatia on Thursday 9th November with the return leg in Greece on Sunday 12th November.

Croatia finished 2nd in their group behind Iceland, winning 6, drawing 2 and losing 2, they scored 15 and conceded only 4.

Greece finished 2nd in their behind Belgium, winning 5, drawing 4 and losing just once, they scored 17 and conceded 6.

At home Croatia finished unbeaten, winning 3 and drawing 2, the only time they conceded was when they drew their 2 games.

On the road, Croatia won 3 and lost 2, they kept clean sheets in the games they won and failed to score in their 2 losses.

At home Greece won 2 drew 2 and lost at home to Belgium, they scored 8 and conceded 3

On the road, Greece were unbeaten with 3 wins and 2 draws, they conceded in 3 of their 5 games on the road too.

Croatia have only lost 3 of their entire qualifiers at home (30 in total), they have scored in 29 of those games and kept 17 clean sheets, on the road they have only lost 5 of 30 games but have only won 3 of their last 8

Greece have only lost 2 of their last 18 world cup qualifiers at home, they managed 11 clean sheets and scored in 16, on the road they have only lost 2 of their last 17 but none of their last 8, they managed 6 clean sheets

Because they are at home first, i fancy Croatia to qualify, they have such a good home record, i fancy them to take a lead to Greece and the 4/11 to qualify looks reasonable


Sweden v Italy

1st leg in Sweden on Friday 10th November with the return leg on Monday 13th November.

Sweden finished 2nd to France in their group but above Holland, they won 6, drew 1 and lost 3, they scored 26 and conceded 9.


Italy finished 2nd behind Spain in their group, they won 7, drew 2 and lost 1, scoring 21 and conceding 8.

At home Sweden won 4 and drew 1, they scored 18 goals and conceded just 2.

On the road Sweden won 2 and lost 3, they scored 8 and conceded 7.

At home Italy won 3 and drew 2, they scored 10 goals and conceded just 2

On the road Italy won 4 and lost 1, scoring 11 goals and conceding 6

Sweden have won 14 of their last 20 home qualifiers, they have scored 54 goals and conceded 15, on the road, they have only won 7 of their last 17

Italy have never lost a home world cup qualifier (54 games) and only drawn 8, on the road, they have only lost 2 of their last 30, but have won only 16

Sweden will cause Italy problems, especially at home but the Italians have a long history of getting through tough games, i fancy them to qualify for Russia at 2/5


Denmark v Republic of Ireland

1st leg in Denmark on Saturday 11th November with the return leg in Ireland on Tuesday 14th November

Denmark finished 2nd behind Poland in their group, they won 6, drew 2 and lost, they scored 20 and conceded 8.


Republic of Ireland finished 2nd in their group behind Serbia, they won 5, drew 4 and lost 1, they scored 12 and conceded 6

At home Denmark won 3, drew 1 and lost 1, they scored 10 and conceded 3

On the road Denmark won 3, drew 1 and lost 1, they scored 10 and conceded 5

At home Republic of Ireland won 2, drew 2 and lost 1, they only scored 4 goals and conceded 2

On the road Republic of Ireland won 3 and drew 2, scoring 8 and conceding 4

Denmark have only lost 3 of their last 43 qualifiers at home, and only lost 4 of their last 27 on the road

Republic of Ireland have only won 6 of their last 19 qualifiers at home, on the road they have a better record, only losing 2 of their last 26

The lack of goals for Republic of Ireland is a slight worry for me, scoring just 12 in 10 matches, as Denmark have such a good record at home, and they host the first game, i can see them qualifying but it could be very close over the 2 legs.


So i fancy Switzerland, Croatia, Italy & Denmark to qualify, the best priced 4 timer is slightly over 7/2 with Betway.