Tag Archives: WCQ

UEFA World Cup Play-off Draw Thoughts

Earlier today the play-off draw for UEFA took place in Zurich, Switzerland. The seeded teams were Portugal, Greece, Croatia, and Ukraine. The unseeded teams were France, Sweden, Romania, and Iceland. Here is how the Draw shook out:

Portugal vs Sweden

Ukraine vs France

Greece vs Romania

Iceland vs Croatia

All first leg ties will take place on Friday, November 15, 2013 and the second leg ties will be played on Tuesday, November 19, 2013.

Portugal vs Sweden

I personally see Sweden upsetting Portugal in the first leg match in Portugal. Portugal has had issues at home in this World Cup cycle including draws versus Israel and Northern Ireland. Sweden has played well on the road including a 4-4 draw AT Germany in October 2012.

Ukraine vs France

The Ukraine-France tie is  interesting. Both teams  went unbeaten on the road in this WC Qualifying cycle, while France lost once at home to Spain and Ukraine also lost once at home to Montenegro. Part of me thinks Ukraine will win this tie, but I will go with France because they seem to get it done when it is win or stay home.

Greece vs Romania

I see a couple of typical Greece games. Defensive and counter-attacking with Greece capitalizing on their few chances. I have a difficult time seeing Romania win this tie, but it would be nice to Romania make the World Cup for the first time since 1998.

Iceland vs Croatia

Normally I would call this one for Croatia in a romp, but there are some serious issues with how Croatia finished qualifying in Group A. Croatia obtained 1 point out of a possible 12 in their last four games. In addition, they lost two of those last four games to Scotland. That is not a sign you want to see prior to the two biggest games of the year. Meanwhile, Iceland went unbeaten in their last four games, winning two and drawing the other two. I’m going to pick Croatia to win the tie, but I expect high scoring affairs and would not at all be surprised to see Iceland make their first World Cup.

Betting Odds

Here are the betting odds as of this writing for each team to make the 2014 World Cup. The lines are from 5Dimes.

Portugal: -250

Sweden: +190

Ukraine: +265

France: -355

Greece: -130

Romania: +100

Iceland: +423

Croatia: -600