For 16 countries, the World Cup playoffs will represent one last chance to make it to the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The playoff draw that was held at FIFA headquarters in Zurich on Friday, November 26 spelt out exactly what will be happening.
There are an aggregate of five World Cup billets on the line — three in the European playoffs and two in the intercontinental playoffs — yet they will all follow a comparative format: each match will be a knockout. It’s win or a pass up a great opportunity.
The European playoffs will take place in late March 2022, while the two intercontinental playoffs will be played at a neutral scene in June 2022.
There are 12 European countries which actually have any desire for making to the World Cup subsequent to neglecting to procure an immediate billet by completing first in their qualifying groups.
However, what’s without a doubt is that Italy and Portugal can’t both advance after the two European powers were drawn in a similar bracket.
The 10 runners-up from each qualifying group were joined by two group winners in the UEFA Nations League (Austria and Czech Republic) — the latter’s inclusion helps raise the competitive stakes of the UEFA Nations League — and the draw split them up into three different brackets, as FIFA prefers to call them. Each is essentially a “final four”.
Each bracket will feature two knockout elimination rounds (March 24) and afterward a knockout last (March 29).
The six seeds with the highest points during group stage qualifying (short points against last-place groups for those countries engaged with six-group qualifying groups) have the elimination rounds. A draw determined the team that will be hosting the decisive knockout final.
Pot 1 (seeded teams): Italy, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, Sweden, Wales
Pot 2 (unseeded teams): Austria, Czech Republic, North Macedonia, Poland, Turkey, Ukraine
Home Teams Listed First:
Bracket (Path) A (1 World Cup berth):
Thurs, March 24 Semi #1: Scotland vs. Ukraine
Thurs, March 24 Semi #2: Wales vs. Austria
Tues, March 29 Final (Wales or Austria will host)
Bracket (Path) B (1 World Cup berth)
Thurs, March 24 Semi #1: Russia vs. Poland
Thurs, March 24 Semi #2: Sweden vs. Czech Republic
Tues, March 29 Final (Russia or Poland will host)
Bracket (Path) C (1 World Cup berth)
Thurs, March 24 Semi #1: Italy vs. North Macedonia
Thurs, March 24 Semi #2: Portugal vs. Turkey
Tues, March 29 Final (Portugal or Turkey will host)
Intercontinental Playoffs (2 World Cup Berths):
After the European draw, there will be a draw that will determine the matchups between the four playoff qualifiers from the four different continents that advanced to the FIFA intercontinental playoffs. The two matches will be held at a neutral venue in June 2022.