World Cup play-off draw: which four teams will qualify?

Ollie Irish

19th, October 2009


Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal

“Bosnia, yes!”

Since the rules were changed by Fifa, unfairly in my view, to ensure that Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal didn’t draw Russia or France, it’s been fairly clear how the play-offs would turn out. Like this, to be exact:

First legs (14 November)

Republic of Ireland v France

Portugal v Bosnia-Herzegovina

Greece v Ukraine

Russia v Slovenia

Second legs (18 November)

France v Republic of Ireland

Bosnia-Herzegovina v Portugal

Ukraine v Greece

Slovenia v Russia

You have to feel a bit sorry for G-Trap’s Ireland, who have landed a very tricky tie against France. The French aren’t all that and have no chance of winning the World Cup, but they still have enough talent to trouble the Irish, though I’d only make Terry Henry and co. slight favourites.

Elsewhere, Portugal & C-Ron will be delighted to have drawn Bosnia – FIFA wouldn’t like the idea of a World Cup without the World’s Best Player, after all – while Russia will be similarly chuffed to be up against Slovania, although the latter are no mugs and could shock Arshavin and co. Ukraine v Greece is perhaps the most difficult to call. Based on what I’ve seen of Ukraine in England’s qualifying group (I thought they looked mediocre at best), I will back the Greeks.

My predictions to qualify:

FRANCE over Ireland

PORTUGAL over Bosnia

GREECE over Ukraine

RUSSIA over Slovenia

What do you make of the draw, and who do you tip to go through? Comments please…

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  1. anthony says:

    Does anybody know if the away goal rule applies in the play-offs??as an irishman i think this could be are only chance of getting through

  2. Tony says:

    I wouldn’t write off Ukraine as mediocre team. This is team of fighters. They lock individualities but they work their butts off. Shevchenko is back to form, scoring almost every game. Milevskiy, Aliev – both quality players. New and very promising center defense, etc, in my eyes makes Ukraine one of the toughest teams in this draw. England only managed 2 passed them. Croatia – same. Ukraine scored 2 against each. what does it make Ukraine? – a tough opponent.

    Portugal also is not as lucky as it seems. Bosnia has 3 attackers who combined for 50 goals in Bundesliga and they averaged 2.5 gpg in qualifiers. With traditionally week GK position and plenty of firepower to test it, this match looks dead even to me.

    France is not old France because old France could play 3-4 games in good style. This France can put together a good game and then Ireland will be in trouble. But they can have a hope that France will not be in the mood of doing so.

    Russia has potential for greatness. Individually their current cast is very strong. But they are too business-like. Where is the passion? Way too often they play below their capacity for no apparent reason. In many games you could see them pushing hard for some time and their opponents would fall apart. But suddenly all that would go somewhere and you will see them struggle against only waking up periodically. If Slovenia wins it would have to be self-inflicted from Russia.

  3. eamogomez says:

    ya away goals apply nd i think under trappatoni we can grind a 0-0 in croker 1-1 in paris, true ollie what u said about it being fixed. apart from being at home 1st dis was irelands 2nd favourite draw. france are a struggling nation with great players bt no teamwork ireland are the opposite bar shay given. i think this will be the closest of the playoff games

  4. kaya says:

    gee, a real stretch there to call for the seeded teams :-P

  5. Bosnian says:

    lol if you’re gnna pick all favourites especially with no reason supporting the picks, why even post your picks

  6. Ollie says:

    @ Bosnian. Well, I wanted to hear your opinions really. It may be boring to pick the favourites, but I can’t see a big upset, not over two legs in such big games. As for your Bosnia – I assume you’re from Bosnia! – I think you’re a talanted team who had a decent qualifying campaign, but the Ronaldo factor should be enough to inspire a Portugal win.

    Cheers, Ollie

  7. ldaniels says:

    i hope all the underdoggs win especially ireland and bosnia it would be justice for all the breaks all the big teams have been getting

  8. Anonymous says:

    russia ukraine bosnia ireland!!!

  9. kaya says:

    Well then:
    France and Ireland go 0-0 both legs and France get by on PK’s.
    Bosnia over Portugal because I like to see Ronaldo cry.
    Ukraine over Greece because I’m still annoyed at them for winning the Euro in 04.
    Russia over Slovenia thanks to the meerkat.

  10. Anonymous says:


  11. BOB says:


  12. BOBBY says:

    GOD YOU ARE ALL A BUNCH OF WHINERS….. IF YOUR TEAM IS ANY GOOD WHO CARES WHO THEY FACE!!!….and for the shit teams if they plan on goen into the work cup based on a better team being knocked off then is that really fair ….. its the world cup the best of the best, not who got lucky in the draw!

  13. alex d says:

    picking the favorites isnt really a prediction, id say the upset lies with Greece and the Ukraine. Ukraine coming off a win on England should be primed to over-take Greece.

  14. Seán says:


    i would agree with you in theory,about the better team going through,but,as an Ireland fan, we didnt lose a game in the groups,came 2nd only the world champions,and then they go and change the rules meaning we are going to get a world class team because fifa wants more money…thats fair is it?

    we all wanted to draw France here,revenge for the play offs a few years ago,and to fuck Platini over

  15. Willie says:

    France, Portugal, Greece and Russia will advance after the dust has settled. The Greeks might have the hardest task of the four but I think they will squeek through.
    One thing though, why does there have to a wholesale disruption of all leagues just for four meaninful matches? I think many fans are getting just a little fed up with these International Breaks.

  16. Classman says:

    Surprise’s are always welcome believe it or not this is the deal fellows. The games have spoken for themselves we shall see the teams that have shown, proven class and deserve to go to the WORLD CUP 2010 in South Africa.





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