UEFA World Cup qualifying enters its second round with an Oct. 17 draw, and there’s one big name the rest want to avoid in the two-legged playoffs.
Italy couldn’t top Spain in a qualifying group that drew two of the last three World Cup winners together, and now will meet one of seven other second-placed teams between November 9-14.
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Slovakia was the unlucky ninth second-place team, finishing with the least amount of points of its brethren.
As it stands, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, and Croatia will be seeded, which avoids the juicy nightmare that would be Italy vs. Croatia with one missing out.
It also means Northern Ireland cannot face Republic of Ireland.
Clinched berths in Russia: France, Portugal, Germany, Serbia, Poland, England, Spain, Belgium, Iceland.
Playoff participants: Sweden, Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Denmark, Italy, Greece, Croatia.