- Both Portugal and Italy have been drawn in the same group.
- Scotland will host Ukraine in the other play-off semi-final while Wales have been drawn at home to Austria.
Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portugal could miss the 2022 World Cup as they now have a sterner qualification scenario ahead of them. After failing to win their respective qualifying groups and now their last bet being securing a berth in the World Cup through the Playoffs, both Portugal and Italy have been drawn in the same group.
One thing is certain that either of the two teams will be missing out on a World Cup spot which would be nothing less than an upset even before the formal start of the tournament in Qatar. Portugal will face Turkey in their semifinal while Italy will face North Macedonia. The winner of the two matches will meet in the final, a match whose winner will proceed to the 2022 World Cup.
Have complete confidence that we will be at the World Cup in Qatar: Portugal coach
Speaking after the draw, Portugal coach Fernando Santos said: “I have complete confidence that we will be at the World Cup in Qatar. It’s not worth talking about Italy. We have to focus, first of all, on beating Turkey,” as quoted in an ESPN report.
“This is the most important game for us in order to be in the [playoff] final and win that, which is our main objective. Regarding the draw, it is what it is, there’s no point in discussing it further,” he added.
“There were positive things, we will be playing at home and will have the opportunity to play in front of our fans if we reach the final,” he further said.
The most important thing will be to have all the players available: Italy coach
In addition, Italy coach Roberto Mancini also expressed his opinion on the same.
“It hasn’t been a great draw, it could have gone better. We will have to beat North Macedonia and Portugal will have to beat Turkey,” Mancini told RAI2.
“These are one-off games and there are always adversities. Just as we would have liked to have avoided Portugal, I think [Portugal] would have gladly avoided Italy. Will we get to the World Cup? We are always confident and positive; the most important thing will be to have all the players available,” he added.
Scotland vs. Ukraine
Wales vs. Austria
The winners of Wales vs. Austria will be at home in the final
Russia vs. Poland
Sweden vs. Czech Republic
The winners of Russia vs. Poland will be at home in the final
Italy vs. North Macedonia
Portugal vs. Turkey
The winners of Portugal vs. Turkey will be at home in the final.
The semifinals are slated to be held on Thursday, March 24 in 2022 with the final scheduled on the following Tuesday, March 29.