Wednesday, December 8, 2021

When is the World Cup playoff draw and who can Scotland and Wales play against?

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The group stage for qualifying for the 2022 World Cup is over, but there is still a chance for 12 European teams to get a spot in Qatar.

Uefa has 13 places to award out of 32 teams, 10 of which go to the group winners: Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Croatia, England and Germany.

But three other teams can advance in a promised intensive play-off phase with one-legged semi-finals and finals.

Both Scotland and Wales are still dreaming, with Steve Clarke’s side finishing second in Group F behind Denmark and Rob Page inspiring the Dragons to second behind Belgium in Group E.

Here’s everything you need to know about the play-offs of Uefa’s 2022 World Cup qualifiers:

How do the play-offs for World Cup qualification work?

The top nation in each Uefa qualifying group will automatically advance – that’s 10 of the 13 European countries that will compete in Qatar in 2022.

For the last three places, the play-offs are the way – and 12 teams have the opportunity to fill these places.

The six teams that finish runners-up with the best results (after the results against the last nation in groups of six teams have been removed) will be seeded and will be drawn against one of the other six unsettled nations. The non-seeded countries consist of the remaining four runners-up in the group and the two best countries in the Nations League that have not yet qualified or are in the playoffs.

This will be a one-time knockout game with the seeds at home.

Each of these six games is a semifinal for each qualifying “path”. The winners advance to the final, where the winners of the semi-final No. 1 play against the winners of the semi-final No. 2, three against four and five against six – the games are numbered in the order in which they are drawn. Each of the three winners of the play-off finals will then advance to the World Cup finals in Qatar next year.

The draw for the play-offs is on Friday, November 26th and it starts at 4 p.m. [BST] in Zurich, Switzerland.

The semi-finals will take place on Tuesday March 24th and those who advance will play the final on Tuesday March 29th, guaranteeing a dramatic week on the way to Qatar.

Portugal, Scotland, Italy, Russia, Sweden, Wales

Austria, North Macedonia, Turkey, Poland, Ukraine, Czech Republic

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