World Cup 2022 play-off draw: Ronaldo and Portugal on collision course with Italy

Only three teams will make it through to Qatar from the 12 European teams remaining and there are some big matchups in store
Only three teams will make it through to Qatar from the 12 European teams remaining and there are some big matchups in store

Only one of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal and Euro 2020 winners Italy will be able to book their place at World Cup 2022, with the two heavyweight nations staring at one another in a potential final matchup with a spot in Qatar on the line.

Portugal will face Turkey while Italy will take on North Macedonia in their semi-final play-off matchups, with the winners of those games set to collide in the Path C finale. The winner of that finale will go to Qatar, with the loser missing out on the World Cup.

Scotland and Wales are going to need to get through Ukraine and Austria in order to keep their dreams of reaching the finals in Qatar alive, with the winners of those games facing off in the Path A finale.

Elsewhere, Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be hoping to edge a step closer to gracing another major international tournament when Sweden take on Czech Republic, while Russia must overcome Poland in Path B.

World Cup 2022 play-off draw

 

Path

Semi-final matchup

A

Scotland vs Ukraine

A

Wales vs Austria

B

Russia vs Poland

B

Sweden vs Czech Republic

C

Italy vs North Macedonia

C

Portugal vs Turkey

What has been said?

“It’s a very difficult draw for us,” said Italy boss Roberto Mancini, “because North Macedonia is a good team and, if we win, we have to play away to Turkey or Portugal in the final. It’s very strong.”

How does the format work?

The 12 remaining teams battling it out for three places at Qatar 2022 have been split into three paths of four nations.

Six semi-finals will take place in total, with the winners of those moving on to finals that will determine the remaining qualifiers.

When will the matches take place?

The semi-finals will be played on March 24 and 25 in 2022, with the finals being held on March 28 and 29.

Who has already qualified?

Ten countries have already progressed through the group stage of UEFA qualification.

They are Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Croatia, England and Germany.

Elsewhere, Brazil and Argentina have booked their places at the finals alongside hosts Qatar.