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European 2022 World Cup Qualifying Playoffs: Format, Bracket, Teams, and Dates

Bolavip US logo Bolavip US 11/26/2021 Richard Tovar
© Getty Images by Carlos Rodrigues

The European 2022 World Cup Qualifiers ended and officially there are 10 nations qualified to play in Qatar, but another 12 teams go to the next round, the playoffs, to fight for one last chance. Two big names will be in the playoff round, Portugal with Cristiano Ronaldo and the Italians who lost a good streak during the qualifiers round.

The 10 teams that will not have to play in the europeans playoffs are: Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Croatia, England and Germany. It was to be expected that most of those countries named above would qualify as they were all playing soccer at their best level.

The Playoffs are somewhat complex for fans with less technical soccer knowledge, but the teams that will play in the playoffs are the ones that did not win the groups during the 2022 European World Cup Qualifiers. Two other teams from the Nations League join the 10 teams from the groups stage of the qualifiers.

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How will the format of the European Qualifying Playoffs be played?

Teams that were unable to win their groups during the European Qualifiers and finished in 2nd spot automatically enter the playoff round, officially known as the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification - UEFA Second Round. The teams that did not win their group during the qualifiers are: Portugal, Sweden, Italy, Ukraine, Wales, Scotland, Turkey, Russia, Poland and Macedonia.

In addition to the teams mentioned above that did not win the 1st spot in the group stage of the qualifiers, two other teams will join them, coming from the Nations League first and second top ranked to play in the playoffs: Austria and Czech Republic.

The UEFA will carry out a draw where the 12 teams will be divided into 2 pots to draw the semi-finals that will be played in three paths from March 24th. The playoffs will be played as follows:

  • The six best ranked teams that did not qualify directly for Qatar 2022 are considered 'Seeded', while the other six are considered unseeded. Both categories are based on points and goals during qualifiers.
  • The Playoffs will be played in three paths defined as Path A, B and C. The semi-finals of the paths will be played from March 24, 2022 and the final of each of the paths on March 29, 2022.
  • The seeded teams will play semi-finals of two legs against the unseeded teams, but the finals will be one single leg. The home field for the finals will be decided by another draw after all the semifinals are completed.
  • At the end of the playoffs, there will be three winning teams from the finals that will be part of the main european group of nations that will play in Qatar 2022.
Pots before draw.
Pot 1 (seeded)
Team Rank
Portugal 1
Scotland 2
Italy 3
Russia 4
Sweden 5
Wales 6
Pot 2 (unseeded)
Team Rank
Turkey 7
Poland 8
North Macedonia 9
Ukraine 10
Austria NL–18
Czech Republic NL–19

When is the draw of the European Qualifying Playoffs?

The draw will take place on November 26 at 11:00 AM (ET) in Zurich, Switzerland. It is a typical draw as it is done with other UEFA tournaments. The draw is necessary to prevent the seeded teams from playing with each other, and thus build a competitive tournament between the unseeded and seeded teams.

Which teams will play in the European Qualifying Playoffs?

Two big names will play in the European Qualifying Playoffs, Portugal and Italy as they could not directly qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Portugal could do nothing to win the 1st spot of Group A and Italy were left with 16 points in the second spot of Group C.

The teams that will play in the 2022 European Qualifying Playoffs are: Portugal, Scotland, Italy, Russia, Sweden, Wales, Turkey, Poland, North Macedonia, Ukraine, Austria and the Czech Republic.

Seed Group Team Name Games W D L GF GA GD Pts Seeding
1 A Portugal 8 5 2 1 17 6 +11 17 Seeded in semi-final draw
2 F Scotland 8 5 2 1 14 7 +7 17
3 C Italy 8 4 4 0 13 2 +11 16
4 H Russia 8 5 1 2 14 5 +9 16
5 B Sweden 8 5 0 3 12 6 +6 15
6 E Wales 8 4 3 1 14 9 +5 15
7 G Turkey 8 4 3 1 18 16 +2 15 Unseeded in semi-final draw
8 I Poland 8 4 2 2 18 10 +8 14
9 J North Macedonia 8 3 3 2 14 11 +3 12
10 D Ukraine 8 2 6 0 11 8 +3 12

Austria and Czech Republic out of the main table as they are playing in the playoffs thanks to their Nations League ranks.

What are the important dates of the European Qualifying Playoffs?

The most important date is the draw that will be hosted on November 26 in the city of Zurich in Switzerland at 11:00 AM (ET). Another important date for the playoffs is the start of the games, on March 24 the seeded and unseeded teams will play the semi-finals first leg and to finish the playoffs, all the finals will be played on March 29.

European 2022 World Cup Playoffs Bracket

Big surprise during the european playoffs draw since it was not expected that Portugal and Italy would have to play each other to get a spot in Qatar 2022. It is impossible to think that Cristiano Ronaldo will not play in the next FIFA World Cup, but Portugal have to defeat Turkey to play the Path C final against Italy, and the Italians would have to win against North Macedonia to reach the final against Portugal. The semi-finals are played on March 24 and the finals on March 29.

Path A

Semi-finals: Scotland play against Ukraine, and Wales play against Austria

The Final will be hosted at the home field of the winner between Wales and Austria.

Path B

Semi-finals: Russia play against Poland, and Sweden play against Czech Republic

The Final will be hosted at the home field of the winner between Russia and Poland.

Path C

Semi-finals: Italy play against North Macedonia, and Portugal play Turkey

The Final will be hosted at the home field of the winner between Portual and Turkey.

Official Bracket for the European 2022 World Cup Playoffs by @Fifaworldcup_es © Provided by Bolavip US Official Bracket for the European 2022 World Cup Playoffs by @Fifaworldcup_es

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