World Cup Play-Off Draw: Scotland and Wales Learn Fate

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Scotland and Wales could meet each other for a place in the World Cup finals in Qatar next November if both countries win their play-off semi-finals.

The Scots were drawn against Ukraine in the playoff semi-finals at Hampden Park. Meanwhile, Wales face a home tie against Austria.

If both countries win their semi-finals they could set up a mouthwatering home nation clash for a place in the 2022 World Cup.

Elsewhere, Italy and Portugal are set to meet in the play-off final after both sides were drawn in the same section. That means either the reigning European Champions or their predecessorĀ could miss out on a place in Qatar.

FIFA World Cup Play-Off Draw: Scotland and Wales Learn Fate

Tough World Cup Play-Off Semi-Final for Scotland

Scotland boss Steve Clarke will be reasonably happy with the draw.

Clarke will know it will be a tricky semi-final against Ukraine who reached the quarter-finals of the European Championships.

They also proved hard to beat in qualifying going through the campaign undefeated. However, they did draw six of their eight group games. Both nations have met just twice in their history with one win apiece.

Ukraine boasts some good players such as West Ham United midfielder Andriy Yarmolenko and Manchester City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko.

But given Scotland’s recent form where they have won six qualifiers in a row, they won’t fear anybody and will have home advantage which could be key. Also, they have experience of going through the playoffs having defeated Israel and Serbia to qualify for the European Championships.

Steve Clarke will also be relieved that they didn’t draw either Portugal or Italy and will fancy their chances if they reach the play-off final.

Wales Will be Reasonably Happy With Draw

Wales boss Rob Page will be reasonably happy with the draw. He will be pleased that Wales have potentially a home play-off final if they defeat Austria in the semi-finals.

Austria struggled in the World Cup qualifying group stage, only finishing fourth in their group. They are only in the play-offs by virtue of their performance in the UEFA Nations League.

Both countries have met each other ten times, with Austria winning five of those meetings compared to Wales’ three. However, Wales did beat Austria the last time they met in Cardiff thanks to a Ben Woodburn goal in 2018 World Cup qualifying.

Austria do possess some danger men including Real Madrid’s David Alaba, Bayern Munich’s Marcel Sabitzer, and Barcelona youngster Yusuf Demir.

Rob Page will know this is a golden opportunity to finally end Wales 64 year wait to appear in a World Cup finals.

Italy and Portugal Set for Heavyweight Clash

The story of the draw was Italy and Portugal potentially set to meet in the playoff final. Either the reigning European Champions or Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal won’t be appearing in Qatar.

Both countries only have themselves to blame for being in this situation. Both struggled in qualifying and blew their opportunity to qualify automatically.

Having failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, Italy will be eager to make sure they don’t fail to qualify for back-to-back World Cups for the first time in their history.

Meanwhile, if Portugal fail to qualify, it will surely shut the door on Cristiano Ronaldo’s last chance to win the World Cup.

Both countries have to negotiate their play-off semi-finals first though. Italy should get through after drawing North Macedonia but Portugal face a tough test against Turkey.

Whatever happens, there will be plenty of drama come March as countries chase the final three European spots in Qatar.

Full Draw

World Cup Play-Off semi-finals

Scotland v Ukraine

Wales v Austria

Russia v Poland

Sweden v Czech Republic

Italy v North Macedonia

Portugal v Turkey

World Cup Play-Off finals

Wales or Austria v Scotland or Ukraine

Russia or Poland v Sweden or Czech Republic

Portugal or Turkey v Italy or North Macedonia

 

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