Portugal host North Macedonia as Italy eliminated, Wales vs Scotland or Ukraine date

THE World Cup play-offs have got underway with an incredible evening of football.

European Champions Italy will NOT be going to Qatar after being stunned at home to North Macedonia.

Cristiano Ronaldo will need to guide Portugal to the Qatar World Cup via the play-offsCredit: AFP

European champions Italy will also have to brave the play-offs

European champions Italy will also have to brave the play-offsCredit: AFP

But Portugal are safely through to the play-off final after coming through an entertaining clash against Turkey.

Wales are also one game away from Qatar, but they don’t yet know when their final will be.

When are the World Cup qualifying play-offs?

The World Cup qualifying play-offs are taking place between March 24 and March 29, 2022.

Twelve teams will entered the play-offs – the ten runners-up from World Cup qualifying plus the best placed Nations League group winners to have not yet qualified automatically

However, just THREE will advance to the World Cup.

The draw for the play-offs was held on November 26 and saw the six best placed teams in World Cup qualifying handed home semi-final ties

Garath Bale helped Wales to secure a first World Cup qualifying spot since 1958

Garath Bale helped Wales to secure a first World Cup qualifying spot since 1958Credit: AFP

World Cup play-off fixtures

Path A

Thursday, March 24

Tuesday, March 29

Final – Wales vs Scotland/Ukraine – DELAYED

Path B

Thursday, March 24

Tuesday, March 29

Final – Poland** vs Sweden (7.45pm)

**Russia have been suspended by Fifa and will be eliminated from the World Cup subject to an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport

Path C

Thursday, March 24

Tuesday, March 29

  • Final – Portugal vs North Macedonia (7.45pm)

What happens next with the postponement of Scotland vs Ukraine?

Discussions are currently being held to sort out a new date which everyone involved can agree on.

The most likely time is expected to be within the window of the UEFA Nations League which takes place in June 2022.

But Steve Clarke has floated the possibility that the match may not take place until September, given the progression of the conflict in Ukraine.

He said: “Is that [a further delay] looking more and more likely given the situation on the ground?

“If you’re honest about the situation, then, yes.

“It’s difficult to see how we’ll be playing them in June. It’s not just about the fixture.

“It’s the fact they need to get together, have a training camp and get players on the pitch with a proper period to prepare for such an important game.

“Andriy Shevchenko, who I know from my time at Chelsea, spoke well about the situation and said they’d want to play.

“But the way the situation is, I think they should get as much time as possible to try to make our game happen.

“It’s a horrible situation and the quicker we know we’re going to play Ukraine at Hampden the better, because it’ll mean the war has stopped and we’re all trying to move forward.”

Are there any other World Cup qualifying play-offs?

Yes. Asia has a World Cup play-off between the third placed teams in each of their two qualifying groups.

The winner qualifies for the inter-confederation play-offs.

Australia have been confirmed as one of the teams who will take place in the fixture, which will be held at a neutral venue that has yet to be decided.

The inter-confederation play-offs will be held over a single leg in Qatar.

The ties will take place in June and will be as follows:

  • Asia play-off winner vs South America fifth place
  • North America fourth place vs Oceania winner

Africa has also introduced its own World Cup play-offs which sees the ten group winners face off in two-legged ties.

Away goals will count double for these games.

Africa World Cup play-off fixtures

  • DR Congo vs Morocco (3pm) – Friday, March 25
  • Morocco vs DR Congo (6.30pm) – Tuesday, March 29
  • Mali vs Tunisia (4pm) – Friday, March 25
  • Tunisia vs Mali (7.30pm) – Tuesday, March 29
  • Cameroon vs Algeria (5pm) – Friday, March 25
  • Algeria vs Cameroon (7.30pm) – Tuesday, March 29
  • Egypt vs Senegal (8.30pm) – Friday, March 25
  • Senegal vs Egypt (4pm) – Tuesday, March 29
  • Ghana vs Nigeria (6.30pm) – Friday, March 25
  • Nigeria vs Ghana (5pm) – Tuesday, March 29

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