History-seeking Iceland advances to playoff; Switzerland eyes top seed

Iceland will hope to become the smallest country to make a World Cup in its UEFA playoff matchup.
Erlend Aas/AFP/Getty Images

BERN, Switzerland (AP) -- Switzerland boosted its chances of being a top seed at the World Cup by beating Slovenia 1-0 in its final qualifying match on Tuesday, helping Iceland seal second place in Group E and advance to the playoffs.

Granit Xhaka's 74th-minute goal ensures Switzerland will rise into the top 10 of FIFA's world rankings on Thursday.

Depending on results in South American qualifying later Tuesday, the Swiss could be among seven top-ranked teams joining host Brazil as seeds in the Dec. 6 draw.

Iceland's 1-1 draw in Norway kept alive its hopes of being the smallest nation ever to play at the World Cup.

Despite a population of just 315,000, Iceland advanced to the playoffs by finishing two points ahead of Slovenia.

Also in group E, Cyprus and Albania drew 0-0.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.