2022 World Cup playoffs: Rules, Dates and Teams

Manuel Locatelli and Ciro Immobile of Italy celebrating against Switzerland-Euro 2020
Manuel Locatelli and Ciro Immobile of Italy celebrating against Switzerland-Euro 2020 /IMAGO

Scotland and Portugal recently booked their place in the 2022 World Cup playoffs along with the likes of Italy, Sweden, Poland and Wales.

It remains to be seen whether these European heavyweights can book their place in the main event in Qatar next year.

The playoff draw is set to take place in Zurich on Friday the 26th of November from 4:00 PM UK time.

According to the regulations, the six best-ranked runners up will be a part of pot one and the remaining teams will form pot 2.

The semi-finals will take place on the 24th of March next year with the finals scheduled for the 29th of March.

Currently, the teams qualified for the playoffs are Portugal, Scotland, Italy, Russia, Sweden, Poland, Wales and North Macedonia.

It is fair to assume that the likes of Turkey and Finland will book their place with a win in the qualifiers this week.

Heavyweights like Portugal and Italy will be thoroughly disappointed with their performances in the qualifiers so far and they would have expected to secure their place in the World Cup by winning their groups.

Instead, they will have to grind it out in the knockouts in order to make it to the main event in Qatar.

It would be a hammer blow for the tournament if the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo failed to qualify and it remains to be seen how the situation unfolds over the next few months.

Meanwhile, Italy played their last World cup game in 2014 and they could be without World Cup participation for 12 years if they fail to qualify for next years tournament.

Roberto Mancini’s men were exceptional in the European Championships and they managed to win the tournament but they have been quite mediocre ever since.

There is no doubt that the likes of Italy and Portugal have the quality to win the playoffs and secure their place in the World Cup but they will have to improve on their consistency.