World Cup Playoffs
The 2014 FIFA World Cup format allowed for play-offs to be staged that let the teams which didn’t qualify for an air ticket to Brazil the first time round, get another shot at taking part in the finals. Fans of the left-behind teams watched eagerly as this round of matches would make or break their aspirations of football glory.
All play-offs for the 2014 World Cup were played between the 15 and 19 November 2013. Teams from nearly all confederations were involved in the play-offs in a nail-biting attempt to get to Brazil through the back-door.
For fans around the world these play-offs were an exciting display of football skills and determination by all the teams involved. This was the last chance for the teams to pursue their dream of being crowned world champions. Their final hopes rested all on the outcomes of the two legs of play-offs.
The eight runners-up from the European qualification zone went head to head for the final four slots in the European contingent that will be playing in Brazil. During the play-offs, Greece took on Romania, beating them 4-2 on aggregate; Croatia faced off Iceland and cruised on a cool 2-0 win; France won over Ukraine 3-2 and Portugal defeated Sweden 4-2 to proceed to the World Cup finals.
There were also two inter-confederation play-offs that had teams from different continents confront each other on the field. The first play-off involved fifth-placed Uruguay from the South American qualifying zone facing off fifth-placed Jordan from the Asian confederation. Uruguay trashed Jordan with a score of 5-0 during the two legs of play-offs and secured its spot in Brazil.
The other intercontinental play-off saw Mexico battling New Zealand from the Oceania zone for a spot at the finals. Mexico sailed through with a comfortable margin of 9-3 on aggregate to clinch a place at the final stage of the tournament.