European World Cup Playoffs: Everything you need to know

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As we continue to progress through the early months of 2022, the World Cup, hosted by Qatar, is creeping ever closer. The lineup for the tournament is yet to be decided, with vital qualifiers still going on in both Asia and South America. There is still also the small matter of settling Europe’s final four places with the completion of the playoffs that are scheduled to take place in March. Here is everything you need to know.

What are the playoffs?

The playoffs are the final opportunities for teams to take their place in the 2022 World Cup finals. In total, there are four spots up for grabs, with 12 teams competing for the available spots. These 12 teams are competing for the playoff spots due to either finishing second in their World Cup qualification group or through their Nations League exploits. The 12 teams are placed in three paths of four. Each team within the path will play a one-leg semi-final, with the winners playing a one-leg final. The winners of each final will progress to the World Cup finals.

What are the paths and when do the matches take place?

The matches are slated for the end of March and the game will take place between the 24th–29th March.

Path A

Scotland vs Ukraine
Wales vs Austria

Path B

Russia vs Poland
Sweden vs Czech Republic

Path C

Italy vs North Macedonia
Portugal vs Turkey

Can Wales play Scotland and Portugal play Italy?

The draw has thrown up some fascinating matches, and in Path A, if Wales and Scotland both win their semi-finals, the two home nations will square off against one another in a one-off match in Cardiff. The winner will qualify for the World Cup Finals.

It is a similar story for Italy and Portugal in Path C. Remarkably, one of these world-class sides will not be in Qatar. If both sides win their semi-finals, the one-off final will be played in Italy.

Kirk Miller
Kirk is a lifelong follower of all motorsports, particularly Formula 1, Nascar and WRC. When not found at the side of the circuit, eyes stinging from the burnt rubber, he also covers tennis, eSports and other categories for us.

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