FIFA World Cup Play-Off Draw: Italy and Portugal in Danger of Missing Qatar 2022

| November 29, 2021 7:18 am PDT
  • One of Portugal or Italy will miss out on Qatar 2022 after they were drawn together in Path C.
  • Wales and Austria are joint favorites to advance from Path A, ahead of Scotland and Ukraine.
  • Russia is favored to progress from Path B, leading Sweden, Poland, and the Czech Republic.

The draw for Europe’s 2022 FIFA World Cup play-offs has been made, with Italy and Portugal landing in the same path.

That means one of the previous two UEFA European Championship winners won’t be at the main event in Qatar next year.

Path A will see Wales, Austria, Scotland, and Ukraine battle it out for a place in the tournament. Russia, Sweden, Poland, and the Czech Republic have been drawn in Path B.

Let’s look at the World Cup play-off odds before analyzing the draw in more detail.

2022 FIFA World Cup Play-Off Odds

All the best soccer betting sites have released odds for the World Cup play-offs, enabling you to wager on the qualification winner from each European path.

Path A
  • Wales (2.88)
  • Austria (2.88)
  • Scotland (4.00)
  • Ukraine (4.50)

The winner of Wales vs. Austria is favored to advance from Path A. Scotland and Ukraine are the outsiders here, although both nations will fancy their chances of qualifying for Qatar 2022.

Path B
  • Russia (2.60)
  • Sweden (3.20)
  • Poland (4.00)
  • Czech Republic (5.50)

Russia is the bookmakers’ favorite progress from Path B, with Sweden a close second. However, the tight odds suggest that Poland and the Czech Republic stand a realistic chance of securing qualification.

Path C
  • Portugal (1.83)
  • Italy (2.00)
  • Turkey (13.00)
  • North Macedonia (51.00)

Unsurprisingly, Portugal and Italy are the heavy favorites to triumph in Path C. They will face each other in the final if they win their semi-finals against Turkey and North Macedonia, respectively.

Breaking Down Europe’s World Cup Play-Off Draw

All the semi-finals are one-off ties and will take place on March 24, 2022. The final of each path is scheduled for March 29, 2022.

Needless to say, the potential meeting of Portugal and Italy in the Path C final is the major talking point of the draw. But there are intriguing stories across the board here.

Path A Path B Path C
Wales vs. Austria Russia vs. Poland Portugal vs. Turkey
Scotland vs. Ukraine Sweden vs. Czech Republic Italy vs. North Macedonia
Wales/Austria vs. Scotland/Ukraine Russia/Poland vs. Sweden/Czech Republic Portugal/Turkey vs. Italy/North Macedonia

An all-British final in Path A is a real possibility. If Wales beats Austria and Scotland sees off Ukraine, the two UK nations will go head-to-head for a place at Qatar 2022.

Path B is arguably the least predictable path, as Russia, Poland, Sweden, and the Czech Republic are all capable of beating each other.

Either Portugal or Italy Won’t Be at Qatar in 2022

The thought of Portugal or Italy failing to qualify for the World Cup seems crazy. But the fact of the matter is – one of the European heavyweights won’t be in Qatar next year.

Portugal has qualified for each of the past five World Cups. Perhaps more significantly, though, Fernando Santos’ men were crowned European champions in 2016.

Now, Cristiano Ronaldo and co. are in real danger of missing out on soccer’s biggest tournament altogether.

It would be an even bigger surprise if Italy failed to reach Qatar 2022. After all, the Azzurri has claimed four World Cup titles over the years. Only Brazil has lifted the trophy on more occasions.

Let’s not forget that Roberto Mancini’s men also beat England on penalties to win Euro 2020 back in July. Remarkably, the reigning European champion might not even be at the next World Cup.

Check out the following posts to get you in the mood for the upcoming qualifiers.

Ben Morris

Ben is a sportswriter and tipster who specializes in soccer. Currently based in the UK, he has traveled all around the world watching – and betting on – his beloved sport.

Alongside his regular soccer content, Ben publishes blogs and picks for cricket, Formula 1, Aussie rules, darts, and various other sports.

Ben is a diehard fan of Nottingham Forest and England, so he hasn’t had much to cheer about in recent years!

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