Things are indeed getting interesting as the FIFA World Cup qualifiers are heating up. While Portugal—helmed by Cristiano Ronaldo—has at least secured a spot in the FIFA World Cup by winning their group in the playoffs, it’s not going to be such an easy task to pull off.
Pundits are looking forward to seeing the Portuguese and Manchester United star helm Portugal vs Italy in what could be a showdown of giants. These are two winners of the last two European Championships, and neither side looks to back down from making it to the knockout stages of the FIFA World Cup.
How the Playoffs Work
The new playoff system features 12 teams that will battle for three slots in the Qatar World Cup 2022. Both are seeded in the semi final draw, but they could potentially be placed in the same path or group and face off against each other in an early battle of former champions.
The competition is set to begin with a playoff draw in Zurich, Switzerland on Friday, Nov. 26, at 4 PM GMT. Portugal is seeded together with the Italy football team as well as Wales, Russia, Scotland, and Sweden. On the other hand, Turkey, Poland, Ukraine, North Macedonia, Czech Republic, and Austria make up the unseeded teams.
Where the Competitions Will Take Place
The seeded nations get the advantage of playing at home in the semifinals, which will be one-legged competitions to be played on March 24. The teams will also play one of the other unseeded teams, but all are drawn in random order.
The way the paths work is this: PATH A provides winners of semifinals 1 games against semi final 2 winners. In the same fashion, PATHS B and C pits Semis 3 winners against Semis 4 winners, and Semis 5 winners against Semis 6 winners and vice versa.
What This Means for Portugal
The 12 nations won’t be able to get the element of surprise, thanks to these draws. Both Italy and Portugal are also getting ready to face each other if they happen to be drawn in the same path. What this also means is that Ronaldo should play his best football against Italy—the loser will have to wait until the next edition of the World Cup.
Ukraine and Russia, however, won’t be able to face off against each other for political reasons. That’s something that even 12BET sportsbook fans can predict.
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