x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Ronaldo and Portugal face off with Ibrahimovic and Sweden in play-off headliner

Additionally, Monday's draw revealed that France will play Ukraine, Greece will meet Romania and Croatia will take on Iceland in the Uefa World Cup play-offs.

ZURICH, Switzerland // Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal must beat Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sweden in a play-off to advance to the World Cup in Brazil.

The two teams were drawn Monday to face each other in a two-leg series scheduled for November 15 and 19.

France will play Ukraine, with the return match in Paris, and Greece was paired with Romania.

Iceland, the lowest ranked of the eight teams at No 46 in the world, will host the first leg against Croatia, who fired their coach last week.

The four winners will complete Europe’s 13 entries in the 32-team World Cup.

Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic were consigned to the play-offs after their teams finished second in their qualifying groups.

Portugal also had to advance to the 2010 World Cup through a play-off after twice tying 0-0 with Sweden in the group.

France, the 2006 World Cup runner-up, also make their second straight trip to the play-offs. Four years ago, a handball by Thierry Henry helped France beat Ireland in extra time.

Iceland, with a population of about 315,000, aim to become the smallest country ever to play at the World Cup. That record is held by 2006 qualifier Trinidad and Tobago, which had about 1.2 million.

Iceland coach Lars Lagerback is aiming for his fourth straight World Cup with three different teams. He coached his native Sweden at the 2002 and 2006 tournaments and Nigeria in 2010.

Croatia’s play-off matches will mark the coaching debut of Niko Kovac. The 42 year old Kovac stepped up from coaching the Under 21 team to replace Igor Stimac, who was fired after a series of poor results.