The UEFA qualifying play-offs for the 2022 FIFA World Cup are approaching. It’s therefore somewhat feasible to make accurate predictions. This is the second of three articles that will predict what the final three European teams to clinch their spot in Qatar will be. After Russia’s ban due to their invasion of Ukraine, Path B now consists of Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic. Only one will reach this year’s World Cup, though.
UEFA Qualifying Play-offs: Path B Predictions
Sweden’s Reliance on Home Advantage is Their Greatest Strength and Weakness
Poland were given a free ticket to the play-off final, following Russia’s expulsion. The question remaining is if they’ll face Sweden or the Czech Republic. Sweden won all of their home matches in World Cup qualification, even against Spain. The prowess of young stars like Anthony Elanga and Dejan Kulusevski also benefits the Swedes. Meanwhile, the Czech Republic lost away to Wales (and Belgium, but that’s forgivable) in qualification. However, the Czechs proved to be a good side at Euro 2020, going all the way to the quarter-finals and, among others, beating the Netherlands on the way. They also proved to be a potent away team by defeating Scotland 3-1 in Glasgow. Sweden is a bit better than the Scots, though.
Likewise, the Swedes had a solid display at the Euros, despite succumbing to Ukraine during extra time. Sweden and the Czech Republic are two good sides. Blågult have been a bit inconsistent recently, but they constantly produce good results at the Friends Arena in Solna and should be able to marginally win against this respectable Czech side.
However, the Czech Republic are a rising side with a bright future. In contrast to Sweden’s great home record, they have been poor away recently, losing to Spain, Greece, and even Georgia. Sweden is marginally better on paper, but Poland should be able to be victorious in Chorzów unless Blågult breaks their bad away trend.