Italy or Portugal set to miss 2022 World Cup

Portugal and Italy will meet each other in a World Cup play-off final if they can get through their respective semi-finals.

The draw was made today and pitted European champions Italy against North Macedonia, the lowest ranked team in the play-offs with a world ranking of 67.

Italy, who failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, will have home advantage for that tie and would meet either Portugal or Turkey in a potential heavyweight final clash.

The Portuguese were pipped to top spot by Serbia in Group A after a remarkable climax. Having been held by Stephen Kenny’s Republic of Ireland 0-0 in Dublin, Portugal were then beaten by the Serbians in Lisbon thanks to a last-gasp goal from Aleksandar Mitrovic.

That condemned them to the dangerous waters of the play-offs, which look particularly treacherous now.

Wales and Scotland could also face off for a ticket to Qatar. The Welsh will play Austria at home in their semi-final while Scotland, drawn in the same play-off path, will have home advantage against Ukraine on 24 March.

The winners of the Wales-Austria game will host the final against either the Scots or Ukraine.

Russia will be at home to Poland in their play-off semi-final with the winners playing Sweden or the Czech Republic.

World Cup play-offs

Path A
Semi-final 1: Scotland v Ukraine
Semi-final 2: Wales v Austria

Path B
Semi-final 3: Russia v Poland
Semi-final 4: Sweden v Czech Republic

Path C
Semi-final 5: Italy v North Macedonia
Semi-final 6: Portugal v Turkey

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