FOOTBALL NEWS

21/10/2013 13:28, Report by Tim Oscroft

Tough play-offs for Reds

Nani and Patrice Evra now know who their nations will face in next month's World Cup play-offs.

Fortunately the United team-mates avoided each other in Monday's draw. Portugal will take on Sweden, while Evra's France were paired with Ukraine, runners-up to England in Group H, for the two-legged encounters which will take place on 15 and 19 November.

Javier Hernandez's Mexico were already due to feature in a play-off, having secured a place despite losing to Costa Rica last week. USA's late win over Panama decreed that Chicharito's country will face New Zealand on 13 and 20 November, and with the second leg taking place in the southern hemisphere, it means the United striker will have a long flight home before the Reds play Cardiff on the following Sunday.

Japan were the first country with a United player, winger Shinji Kagawa, to seal a place at the World Cup. In last week's final round of qualifiers, five other nations with Reds in their ranks - Belgium, England, Netherlands, Chile and Ecuador - booked their Brazil 2014 berths outright.

More: Rooney's World Cup vow

Reds at 2014 World Cup

Qualified automatically:

Belgium (Marouane Fellaini)
Chile (Angelo Henriquez)
Ecuador (Antonio Valencia)
England (Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Ashley Young)
Japan (Shinji Kagawa)
Netherlands (Robin van Persie)

Play-offs:

France (Patrice Evra)
Mexico (Javier Hernandez)
Portugal (Nani)

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