Football: Italy, Switzerland among eight European play-off teams

Switzerland defender Stephan Lichtsteiner looks disappointed after losing to Portugal. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

PARIS (AFP) - Four-time World Cup winners Italy and Switzerland, who won nine of their 10 qualifiers for Russia 2018, will be among the four seeded teams for the play-offs in November.

Croatia and Denmark will also be seeded for the Oct 17 draw, which takes place a day after the latest Fifa rankings are set to be released.

Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland cannot face each other as both countries will be unseeded, joining Sweden and Greece - who secured a play-off place with a 4-0 win over Gibraltar on Tuesday - in the same pot.

Slovakia, who finished second behind England in Group F, were the team to miss out as the worst runner-up of the nine groups once points against the bottom side in each section were deducted.

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