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There are just three spots left for UEFA teams at the 2022 World Cup after the group stage of qualifying reached its thrilling conclusion this week.
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Wales and Scotland booked playoff places by finishing second in their groups but they’ll be joined by some big teams drinking in the last-chance saloon for Qatar.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal will have to battle their way through the shootout after the world’s hottest striker, Aleksandar Mitrovic, bagged a last-minute winner to send Serbia through as Group A kings.
While Euro 2020 winners Italy are also lurking in the best-of-the-rest lottery after being held to a goalless draw by Northern Ireland, which allowed Switzerland to sneak through as automatic qualifiers.
So when are the World Cup 2022 playoffs for UEFA’s 12 teams left standing and how does it all work? You’ll find the key information including the all-important draw date below.
Which teams have qualified for the World Cup playoffs?
A total of 12 teams will be taking part in next year’s playoffs for the three remaining spots at the World Cup 2022.
The six countries with the best records in qualifying enter the draw as seeds and they are: Italy, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, Sweden and Wales.
The four runners-up from the 10 groups with the worst records have to make do with being unseeded and they are: North Macedonia, Poland, Turkey and Ukraine. They are joined by Austria and the Czech Republic, the two best group winners from the 2020/21 Nations League that neither progressed as qualification group winners or runners-up.
What is the format for the World Cup playoffs?
The 12 teams are split into three playoff paths where there will be one-off semi-finals and a final to determine the three remaining qualifiers. The seeded teams will play at home in the semi-finals and the unseeded teams face an away trip.
So the winners of semi-finals 1 and 2 will play in path final A, the winners of semi-final 3 and 4 will meet in path final B, while the winners of semi-finals 5 and 6 will go head-to-head in path final C. Which semi-final winners have home advantage in the path finals will also be determined by a draw.
When is the draw for the World Cup playoffs?
The draw for the World Cup playoffs is scheduled to take place at 4pm on Friday, November 26 at FIFA’s HQ in Zurich, Switzerland.
When are the World Cup playoffs?
The semi-finals will be held over two days on Thursday, March 24 and Friday, March 25. There’s little turnaround time with the playoff finals taking place on Monday, March 28 and Tuesday, March 29.
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