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2022 World Cup play-off draw as it happened: games, schedule and dates

Update:
DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 21: The FIFA World Cup trophy is pictured on the grid before the F1 Grand Prix of Qatar at Losail International Circuit on November 21, 2021 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

2022 World Cup play-off draw: live

World Cup qualifying play-offs

A reminder that these one-legged semi-final games are scheduled for Thursday 24 March 2022, with the three finals scheduled for Tuesday 29 March 2022. UEFA will confirm the exact kick-off times in the next few days after a consultation process with the respective federations.

Semi-finals:

Scotland vs Ukraine
Russia vs Poland
Italy vs North Macedonia
Wales vs Austria 
Sweden vs Czech Republic
Portugal vs Turkey

WC 2022: UEFA play-off draw

The main event n Zurich today was the pairing of the 12 sides still in with a tilt at going to the World Cup next year as the play-off draw was conducted via three Paths. Path 3 was the one generating the major talking points with Italy/Portugal or neither making the trip to Qatar.

That concludes our live covering of the play-off draw today and thanks for checking in with us.

All the latest reaction to the draw, along with the best coverage in NBA, NFL and all other sport can be found with us at AS here

FIFA draws: recap

The draw for the inter-continental play-offs were made with games set to take place in Qatar in June 2022 (at present none of the participating sides are known).

Full story on the inter-continental play-offs

Some pointing out on social media that it's not simply a question of one of either Portugal or Italy missing out on going to Qatar, both nations could miss out if North Macedonia and Turkey spring a surprise in the semi-final games.

Russia manager Valery Karpin on the World Cup play-off draw

"It could have been better, it could have been worse, but it’s all on paper... There’s still four months until the play-offs, a lot can change" -

These are their inter-continental winners too.....

I concur with We Global Football with their predictions.

b

Poland & Sweden fancied in Path B

A poor showing for my Path B favourites (Russia) who lag way behind Twitter users favourites in Poland and Sweden to make it to Qatar.

wales

Path A favourites: Cymru

The Welsh get the nod from Twitter fans on the same UEFA survey with Rob Page's men favourites, closely followed by Scotland and Ukraine. I concur, I can see the 'Dragons' at the World Cup following the play-off draw.

ita

Italy to progress from Path C....

.... so feel Twitter pollsters replying to a UEFA survey...Mancini's men favourites to advance followed by Portugal in second place

No sour grapes at all from this CR7 Twitter fan account .....

Take North Macedonia lightly at your peril Italy and winners of POR-TUR !

Portugal fans lacking confidence in Santos

The feeling following the draw from Portugal fans is that Fernando Santos is not the man to take the national side forward. The daggers were being sharpened for the veteran coach after Portugal shipped the late goal to Serbia recently that forced the Iberian nation down the play-off path. Elimination in the play-off would certain mean an end to Santos' time on the bench.

Path 3 threw up a scenario where one of Italy or Portugal will not be at the 2022 World Cup !!!

Play-off recap.

Should you be joining us, a reminder of how the draw panned out for the 12 nations involved in the UEFA play-offs with 3 spaces at the 2022 Qatar World Cup up for grabs. Games will take place in March next year.

Sweden with tough path ahead

Going into the final two group stage games, Sweden held fate in their own hands. However, losses to Georgia (a shock defeat) coupled with a late loss in Seville against Spain with Alvaro Morata bagging the winner for 'La Roja' sees the Scandinavian side into the lottery that is the play-off path. I feel Janne Andersson's side will be too strong for the Czech side, but see Russia (with home advantage in a potential final) as being too strong

Mancini on the draw

"It's not like it's a great draw, it could have gone a little better", commented Italy boss Roberto Mancini, to Rai Sport. Both Italy and Portugal were the standout nations ahead of the play-off draw and it will be a bitter pill for fans of the nation that misses out (with every respect to supporters from North Macedona and Turkey too).

a bola

Portugal pessimism

Portugal sports daily, A Bola have carried out a quick survey among national team fans with the majority feeling that Fernando Santos' side will beat Turkey but fail to advance against a hypothetical final against either Italy or North Macedonia. Not sure if I share this level of doom and gloom as Portugal would be my Path C tip to advance.

Wales

An opportunity for the Wales team to dust down the, now infamous Gareth Bale banner ?

Mixed reaction from Scotland fans to draw with many feeling that should they come through the Austria game, a trip to Cardiff may be a bridge too far.

A reminder that these semi-final games are scheduled for Thursday 24 March 2022, with the three finals scheduled for Tuesday 29 March 2022. UEFA will confirm the exact kick-off times in the next few days after a consultation process with the respective federations.

A Wales vs Scotland final play-off game with a place at the World Cup is a real possibility ....a chance for Wales to avenge 1977 !

Not the same level of excitement with the teams in this draw being unknown....these 2 play-off places are very much the 'last chance saloon' with the final 2 places at Qatar 2022 to be filled.

The other game will see: a CONMEBOL side vs the OFC winner

First out is: Asia (AFC) and they will face a side from: North America, Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF).

Four teams, two semi-finals... all straight forward.....

Just confirmed from FIFA, these play-off games will be staged in Qatar in June (2022)

What happened in the play-offs four years ago?

In qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the inter-confederation play-offs pitted CONCACAF against the AFC, and the OFC against CONMEBOL. In ties played over two legs, Australia defeated Honduras 3-1 on aggregate, and Peru were 2-0 winners over New Zealand.

These one off games will be played in June 2022 (after the final Qatar 2022 draw)

The inter-confederation play-offs, which will decide the final two spots at the Qatar World Cup, will feature four countries: one team each from Asia (AFC), South America (CONMEBOL), Oceania (OFC) and North America, Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF).

Inter-confederation draw time now with former West Ham/Man City and Argentina defender on hand to assist. Argentina are already through in CONMEBOL and the likes of Peru, Colombia and Uruguay could be the sides battling it out for a space.

Sweden's boss also concurs and agree that his side have been handed a tough draw, Path C is singled out by everyone as the toughest one and this is confirmed by Turkey manager Kuntz.

We now move to the reaction from the 12 managers with Roberto Mancini (Italy) concluding that: "this is a difficult draw for us".... the home advantage is major plus for all sides who were given that favorable draw.... Wales manager Rob Page now reflects on the possible of two home draws.

So, prediction time.... Path A Wales / Path B: Russia and Path C...Portugal....

Path C: Portugal/Turkey winner at home to winners Italy/N.Macedonia

For Path B, the winners of Russia v Poland will be at home against winner of Sweden-Cz Republic

The winners of Wales-Austria will be at home vs winners Scotland-Ukraine (Path A)

Now, we move onto the final stage which will determine which semi-final winners will play at home.... this is big !

The former players helping out with the draw agree that Path C is indeed the toughest.....

Path C..... Dramatic stuff as either 2016 or 2020 European champions (Portugal/Italy) will not be going to Qatar !!!!!

Path C: Portugal will take on Turkey

Path C: Italy will face North Macedonia

Path B: second semi-final ...Sweden will face Cz. Republic

Path B: semi finals: Russia will face Poland

Path A: second semi-final will be Wales-Austria

The Russia-Ukraine constraint is brought up as it is Ukraine will face Scotland.

Pot 2 now and there will be the opponents for the top seeded teams...

Either Italy or Portugal will not be at the Qatar World Cup !!!!

Path C: first team out is Italy and Mancini's side will be at home as will be Portugal.

Next team out is Russia who will be home in Path B... the other home side in Path B is .....Sweden... Italy and Portugal the remining seeded teams !!!!

Path A: Wales will be at home in the other Path A semi-final....

Draw time and Scotland are the first team out...they will be at home in Glasgow in the Path A semi-final.

A reminder of the 12 teams involved:

Pot 1: Italy, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, Sweden, Wales

Pot 2: Austria, Czech Republic, North Macedonia, Poland, Turkey, Ukraine

 

Big Zoom split screen in the background with all 12 managers online ! Now Manolo Zubiria (FIFA head of competitions) talks us through the draw procedure with the three Path structure ...each Path will host semi-final and then a final... the final of each path heads to Qatar... simple ... it's a heck of a lot clearer the the draws for the Nations League !!

Karembeu: "I love Wales" !

Tiago singles out Ukraine as the side for Portugal to avoid

A quick video runs us through clips of the 13 sides already through to Qatar.... 10 from Europe, 2 from South America (Brazil and Argentina) and Qatar as hosts. 32 sides will compete at the event and the draw itself for the competition will be staged in Doha in April 2022.

Karembeu singles out Wales, Scotland and North Macedonia as his picks to deliver an upset in the play-offs.

Christian Karembeu, Lothar Matthaus and Tiago Mendes are now welcomed. The former players will be today's draw assistants.

UEFA head Aleksander Čeferin is next up looking forward to the play-offs after an exciting group stage with Italy and Portugal failing to secure automatic places generating all the headlines.

First up, a few words from Mr. Infantino who talks us through the 'journey' in securing a place at the 2022 World Cup reminding us that 3 places remain in Europe.

We're live in Zurich as the play-off draw event is underway.... France are the current holders on the trophy following their win in Moscow back in 2018 and will be aiming to secure a third star on their shirts follwoing the 1998 and 2108 wins.

GI

FIFA boss Gianni Infantino was in Qatar earlier this week as the Gulf Nation celebrated its 'one year to go' event.

Confirmed participants in Qatar

Serbia, Denmark, Spain, Netherlands, Switzerland, Croatia, France, England, Belgium, Germany, Brazil, Argentina and Qatar (hosts) have already secured their 2022 World Cup tickets. 32 nations in total will participate at the first ever World Cup to take place in the Middle East.

Five minutes to draw time....

CR7

WC22 without CR7....

It's expected that the Qatar World Cup will be the swansong for both Lionel Messi with Argentina and Cristiano Ronaldo with Portugal, assuming the Iberian nation advance. Am sure most football fans would love to see two of the biggest names in the global game bow out at the competition. A favorable draw today for Portugal today will be key in CR7 playing in Qatar.

When does the 2022 World Cup start?

The Qatar World Cup will be the first competition to be staged in November and will get underway on 21 November next year at the Al-Bayt Stadium with the final scheduled for 'Qatar Day' (18 December) with the 80,000 capacity Lusail stadium hoisting the showpiece game.

Draw hosts

FIFA Director of Competitions Manolo Zubiria will conduct today's draws, with the event set to be co-hosted by Samantha Johnson and Adriano del Monte.

LM

Draw assistants confirmed for WC play-off draw

Christian Karembeu, Lothar Matthaus, Tiago Mendes and Pablo Zabaleta will be on hand today at FIFA HQ to assist in the draw process when the 12 UEFA nations discover their rivals in the quest to secure one of the three places remaining at the 2022 World Cup.

'We need a different Italy' - deja vu for the Azzurri as World Cup playoffs beckon

Italy have been here before. And it did not end well.

Four months on from their Euro 2020 triumph, Italy's 0-0 World Cup qualifying draw in Northern Ireland recently opened the door for Switzerland to seal automatic qualification from Group C, condemning the Azzurri to a playoff spot once more.

The European champions failed to qualify for the last World Cup after defeat over a two-legged playoff to Sweden - the first time they had not reached the finals of the tournament since 1958.

The playoff system is different this time, but fears linger when it comes to Italy's prospects of reaching a finals via the back door.

Turin-based newspaper Tuttosport's headline on Tuesday, following the Northern Ireland stalemate, insisted the country needed "a different Italy" team, one that can get the job done, while Gazzetta dello Sport said the "nightmare continues."

World Cup intercontinental playoffs to be single leg games

The intercontinental playoffs to qualify for next year's World Cup finals will be contested as single games rather than the usual two-legged, home and away format, FIFA said on Friday.

The playoffs will feature the highest placed teams not to have automatically qualified from Africa, Asia, South America and the CONCACAF (North and Central America and Caribbean) regions.

Four nations will compete for two spots in the finals which will be held in November 2022 in Qatar.

The playoffs were originally scheduled to take place over two legs in March 2022 but were rescheduled to June 2022 due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on the qualifying schedule.

The games will be played at a neutral venue which is yet to be determined by soccer's global governing body.

Inter-confederation draw

Following the conclusion of the UEFA draw, the draw for the 2022 World Cup inter-confederation play-offs, which will be held in June 2022 and involve four as yet unidentified countries from Asia, CONCACAF, South America and Oceania.

When will the European World Cup play-offs take place?

The semi-finals are to be played on Thursday 24 March 2022, with the three finals scheduled for Tuesday 29 March 2022.

The final winners will take the last three European spots at the 2022 World Cup, joining group winners Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Netherlands, Serbia, Spain and Switzerland in Qatar.

Lusail

WC 2022 final venue

A recent photo of where the 2022 World Cup final will be staged on 18 December next year with work on the 80,000 Lusial stadium almost complete.

Wales fans also keen to draw North Macedonia

The scene is similar among Wales fans who clearly would like to draw N.Macedonia in their semi-final path.

Scotland fans anxious to draw N. Macedonia

The reaction from Scotland fans to the tweet from the national team points to the bulk of fans keen to draw North Macedonia in their semi-final path. 

How does it work?

The 12 countries in the play-offs are to be split up into three, four-team knockout tournaments described by UEFA as Path A, Path B and Path C. Each path will consist of two semi-finals and a final, all played in single-game format.

The six seeds in Pot 1 will all be given a home draw in the semi-finals. After the semi-finals have been played, a further draw will decide which countries are to be at home in the three finals.

Which countries are in the play-off draw?

Pot 1: Italy, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, Sweden, Wales

Pot 2: Austria, Czech Republic, North Macedonia, Poland, Turkey, Ukraine

The proceedings at FIFA HQ get underway at 1700 CEST/11/ET and it's anticipated that the event will take 30-40 minutes. After the UEFA draw, FIFA will also conduct the inter-cofederation draw which will involve four (as yet unknown teams) from AFC, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL and the OFC.

Hello and welcome to our draw coverage as the 12 nations in Europe's 2022 World Cup qualifying play-offs are to find out who they'll be facing in the Zurich draw.

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