How Switzerland can be seeded at the World Cup finals for Russia 2018
Switzerland were one of the shock seeds in the draw for the 2014 World Cup finals -- and they could be seeded for the 2018 event too.
Russia will be seeded as hosts, and joined by the top seven qualifiers based upon the October FIFA World Ranking, which is published after the next round of qualifiers.
But how can this be achieved by Switzerland in the Dec. 1 group-stage draw?
1. Win in Portugal
Switzerland can only realistically get enough ranking points to be in contention if they win away to Portugal. That will give them 1,317 ranking points, and mean they can be no lower than seventh in the October ranking -- so they will be guaranteed to be seeded.
2. What about if Switzerland only draw in Portugal?
Switzerland know that a point in Portugal will likely see them through to the finals as group winners, but that will only put them on 1,196 ranking points. That would not completely rule them out of the running to be seeded in the World Cup draw, but they would need many other results to go their way.
Dale Johnson has been an editor and journalist at ESPN for 18 years. You can follow him on Twitter @dalejohnsonESPN.