2014 FIFA World Cup - Rules for Qualification Playoffs - Europe

FIFA Brazil 2014 - LogoThe FIFA World Cup qualifying process can be complicated sometimes. Every four years a new rule is made to accommodate a change, like a newly formed country for example. So let's break down the qualification process in Europe with the focus on the playoff round.

53 European nations are competing for 13 spots that lead to the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Nations are divided into nine groups. Eight groups have six teams and one group has five teams. The winner of each group qualifies directly to the World Cup. The additional four teams that qualify to the World Cup are determined in the playoffs contested by eight second place teams.

To determine which eight out of nine teams will advance to the playoff round, the following rule is taking into consideration. Because one group has five teams and all other groups have six teams, matches played against the last placed team in groups of six are not taken into account. After that, total points, goal differential etc. are counted to determine the top eight second place teams.

Four out of eight teams that advance to the qualification playoffs will be seeded based on the October 2013 FIFA World Rankings and matched up against the other four teams. A draw will be held on October 21st, 2013 to determine who will play against who. One home and one away match will be played on November 15th and November 19th of 2013, and four winners will advance to the World Cup in Brazil.