World Cup

World Cup qualifying draw: Portugal & Italy + Wales & Scotland could meet in play-off finals

Jamie Spencer
Cristiano Ronaldo & Portugal face a huge hurdle to qualify for the 2022 World Cup
Cristiano Ronaldo & Portugal face a huge hurdle to qualify for the 2022 World Cup / Carlos Rodrigues/GettyImages
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Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal must overcome Turkey and then either Italy or North Macedonia to secure a place at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after Europe’s play-off draw was made on Friday.

The nature of the draw means that it is impossible for Portugal and Italy, who have won the last two European Championships between them, to both now qualify for the World Cup.

Italy won Euro 2020 but may not be at the World Cup
Italy won Euro 2020 but may not be at the World Cup / Insidefoto/GettyImages

This is the second stage of the European section of the qualifying process, with 10 countries from the original group stage already assured of their place at next year’s finals.

The 10 group winners, including England, France, Germany and Belgium, automatically booked their ticket to Qatar. The 10 group runners-up, plus the two best countries from the last UEFA Nations League campaign who failed to finish in the top two, get another chance for the last three places.

The process has been split into three mini-tournaments – paths A, B and C – with the winner of each securing one of those last coveted European places at the World Cup.

No frills, no complications...a one-legged semi-final and one-legged final is all that stands between three of these 12 countries and a trip to Qatar next winter.

All six semi-finals are to be played on 24 March 2022, with each final to follow on 29 March.


2022 World Cup play-off draw - Europe

Path A

Scotland vs Ukraine - 24 March 2022

Wales vs Austria - 24 March 2022

Final - Wales/Austria vs Scotland/Ukraine - 29 March 2022

Path A winner qualifies for the 2022 World Cup


Path B

Russia vs Poland - 24 March 2022

Sweden vs Czech Republic - 24 March 2022

Final - Russia/Poland vs Sweden/Czech Republic - 29 March 2022

Path B winner qualifies for the 2022 World Cup


Path C

Italy vs North Macedonia- 24 March 2022

Portugal vs Turkey - 24 March 2022

Final - Portugal/Turkey vs Italy/North Macedonia - 29 March 2022

Path C winner qualifies for the 2022 World Cup



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