2022 World Cup play-offs, presentation of the semi-finals

The final three European places for the FIFA World Cup will be determined by the play-offs, with semi-finals home and away on Thursday March 24 and two of three finals scheduled for Tuesday March 29.

UEFA.com brings you a week full of twists and turns.

Qualifying results

Track A

Scotland – Ukraine (postponed, date to be confirmed)

Wales – Austria (8:45 p.m.)

  Austria 2-2 Wales, 2016 European qualifiers

Austria 2-2 Wales, 2016 European qualifiers

Wales have played the last two EUROs, but last appeared at the World Cup in 1958. A string of Welsh greats, including Ian Rush, Mark Hughes and Ryan Giggs, never had the chance to show their talent in the final phase and Gareth Bale is ready to do anything not to join this list.

« When I started my career for Wales, my goal was to play in a major tournament, » said the 32-year-old. “We managed to do it and now the objective would be to qualify for a World Cup. It’s huge for us and it’s something every player has dreamed of. Austria will be equally determined, having not reached the finals since 1998.

Did you know ?
Wales are unbeaten in their last 16 home matches, their last loss coming in November 2018 against Denmark.

Finals – Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Track B: Poland – Sweden or Czech Republic (20:45)
: Portugal or Turkey – Italy or North Macedonia (8:45 p.m.)

Postponed, date to be determined
Track A: Wales or Austria – Scotland or Ukraine

The 22and final phase in Qatar will be the first World Cup not to be held in May, June or July; the tournament is scheduled for a reduced period between November 21 and December 18. The final draw is expected to take place in April 2022.

Track B

Sweden – Czech Republic (8:45 p.m.)

The Czechs qualify against the Netherlands for EURO 2020

The Czechs qualify against the Netherlands for EURO 2020

Jaroslav Šilhavý’s men travel to Solna in a stadium that suits them rather well. Although the Czech Republic have not reached the finals since 2006, their latest appearance came thanks to a successful play-off against another Scandinavian opposition, Norway, who lost 2-0 on aggregate. matches against Karel Brückner’s team.

The visitors have also reached the quarter-finals of UEFA EURO 2020, and Sweden coach Janne Andersson has no illusions about the task ahead for his team: « They beat the Netherlands in the summer and were knocked out by Denmark. They had a good EURO and it’s a strong footballing nation. It will be a tough match, but I don’t consider it harder or easier than against any other nation. »

Did you know ?
Sweden have won their last nine matches at Solna, scoring 18 goals and conceding just 4.


Italy – North Macedonia (8:45 p.m.)

Italy - North Macedonia, their clash in 2017

Italy – North Macedonia, their clash in 2017

The mere mention of the World Cup play-offs is enough to give most Italians a cold sweat. The quadruple champions failed at this stage against Sweden, in their last appearance, which deprived them of the final phase for the first time since 1958 (14 consecutive appearances). However, the challenge caused by this failure was impressive as Roberto Mancini’s side won the next EURO.

North Macedonia will also have to adapt if they want to inflict another disappointment on the Azzurri, according to their coach Blagoja Milevski: “Italy plays different football and that makes things difficult for all their opponents. Now we have to adapt to this challenge”.

Did you know ?
North Macedonia are among the sides that helped deprive Italy of the World Cup in 2018, drawing 1-1 with the Azzurri in Turin after a 3-2 home defeat in the qualifiers.

Portugal – Turkey (8:45 p.m.)

Ronaldo, watch his best goals for Portugal

Ronaldo, watch his best goals for Portugal

Portugal was for many the worst draw and it was all the more so for Turkey who lost the five meetings between the two nations. The last defeat dates back to UEFA EURO 2008. Pepe opened the scoring in the 2-0 win in Geneva. So history leans towards the 2016 European champions, but Turkey likes underdog status. She’s been on the rise – and undefeated – since Stefan Kuntz took the reins in September.

« Route C is definitely the most difficult, » said Kuntz, who won EURO 96 with Germany. “But the progress of the team, the staff and the TFF (the Turkish Association), since I’ve been here, gives me hope. Our wish would be to qualify for the final of the play-offs in Turkey”.

Did you know ?
Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo broke the record for international goals during the qualifying campaign and now has 115.

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