MORE and more teams who will participate at the Qatar World Cup are becoming known, but Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal are not yet one of them.
The Euro 2016 champions were beaten by a last minute Aleksandar Mitrovic header as they went down 2-1 at home to Serbia.
Cristiano Ronaldo will have to take the play-off route if he is to play in the Qatar World Cup[/caption]
Italy join Portugal in the World Cup play-offs[/caption]
That means they will now have to overcome both a play-off semi-final and final in order to make it to Qatar.
And to make matters worse for Ronaldo and co, they have been joined by current European champions Italy.
The Italians were unable to find a way past Northern Ireland, meaning Switzerland progressed to the World Cup as group winners.
When are the World Cup qualifying play-offs?
The World Cup qualifying play-offs will take place during the next international break, which will be held from March 24 to March 29, 2022.
Twelve teams will enter the play-offs – the ten runners-up from World Cup qualifying plus the best placed Nations League group winners to have not yet qualified.
However, just THREE will advance to the World Cup.
The draw for the play-offs will be held on November 26 and will see the six best placed teams in World Cup qualifying handed home semi-final ties.
That draw will also decide who will play who in the three finals.
Gareth Bale and Wales will feature in the World Cup play-offs[/caption]
Could Italy play Portugal?
Italy and Portugal will avoid each other in the play-off semi-finals as both finished among the six best group winners, meaning a home semi.
However, there is nothing to stop them playing each other in the final.
Which teams are in the World Cup qualifying play-offs and who is at home?
Here’s how the teams line up so far.
- North Macedonia
- Czech Republic
The play-off entrants from two groups have yet to be decided.
In Group D, Ukraine need to win in Bosnia and hope Finland fail to beat France at home if they are to make the play-offs. France have already qualified for the World Cup.
In Group G, Netherlands, Turkey and Norway could all end up in first, second or third place.
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Are there any other World Cup qualifying play-offs?
Yes. The inter-confederation play-offs will take place under the usual two-legged format.
This will see the winner of Oceania qualifying, fourth place in North American qualifying, fifth place in South American qualifying and the best third place in the two Asian qualifying groups drawn into two two-legged ties.
The two winners of their ties will qualify for the World Cup.
In African qualifying the ten group winners will advance to to two-legged continental play-offs.
The five winners of those African ties will then advance to Qatar.