Originally Posted by pesto
...with all the BYES.
I don't know if I understand the table:
So five of the 11 nations progress automatically to Round 2, and three win through to there, and the winners progress to WG play-offs. That side of the equation seems clear enough.
Meanwhile, the losers of GB-Slovakia, Finland-Netherlands and Denmark-Slovenia progress to the R1 play-off. But there are no teams waiting to play them there.
So what happens next? Are they assumed to lose to BYE, and go into the R2 play-off? Then what? The bottom half could be played between the two first round losers, but does the loser of Slovakia-GB automatically get relegated from the top half?
Israel vs. Portugal - the winner goes into QG qualifying in September. The loser goes straight to the relegation play-off match in September.
Great Britain vs. Slovak Republic - the winner plays Belgium in April. The loser goes into 1st round relegation, with preliminary date in September.
--->If Belgium loses in April, it will play the loser of GBR vs SVK in 1st round relegation play-off, in September.
------>The loser of this tie would then play the relegation match against the loser of ISR vs. POR, in OCTOBER. The winner would preserve its status in Group I for 2013.
--->If Belgium wins in April, the loser of GBR vs SVK drops automatically from 1st round relegation into the relegation match with the loser of ISR vs POR. For Brits, this is an away tie (and not a nice one).
The same logic applies to the bottom half of the draw. Romania and South Africa both have R1 byes but, like Israel, Portugal, and Belgium, must play relegation match(es) if they lose their opening ties.