Tuesday, January 25, 2022

FIFA World Cup Qualifier: Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal face Euro champs Italy as potential roadblock– check full draws

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FIFA World Cup Qualifier Draws: The much-awaited draw of FIFA World Cup Qualifier playoffs have been released. 6 out of 12 teams will make a place each in Path A, B and C. 2016 Euro champions Portugal and Euro 2020 champions Italy will face off with only one place up for grabs. The teams vying for places are Ukraine, Scotland, Russia, Poland, Italy, North Macedonia, Wales, Australia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Portugal, Turkey.

“The semi-finals are set for the European play-offs! One team from each of the 3 paths will reach the #WorldCup,” FIFA World Cup wrote on Twitter. 

FIFA World Cup Qualifier Draws: Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal face Euro champs Italy as a potential roadblock

  • Path A will include two teams from Ukraine, Scotland, North Macedonia, Wales.
  • Path B will feature two teams among Russia, Poland, Sweden, Czech Republic
  • Path C will witness two teams from Italy, North Macedonia, Portugal, Turkey

Portugal will lock horns with Turkey while Italy are the favourites to beat North Macedonia to set up a clash against Cristiano Ronaldo’s team.

  • The Azzurri and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal both finished second in their qualifying groups, behind Switzerland and Serbia respectively.
  • Italy will host North Macedonia in the play-off first round in March, with Turkey visiting Portugal, before the winners face off for a spot at next year’s finals in Qatar.
  • The draw means that one of the last two European Championship winners will not be at the next World Cup. Portugal won the Euro 2016 title.

FIFA World Cup Qualifier: Portugal vs Italy- Portugal have a challenging record against Italy as they have lost to Euro 2020 champions 18 times in 27 fixtures. They have only managed to win 6 games while 3 games have ended in a tie. The last three games between these two European supergiants have yielded three different results- WIN, LOSS and DRAW.

The two teams had last met each other in November 2018 during the UEFA Nations League. The match had ended in a tie. Now, gear up for another special contest as the FiFA World Cup Qualifiers enter its deciding stage.

The winners of Portugal’s match with Turkey will host the final-round game in Path C.

“It’s a very difficult draw for us,” said Italy coach Roberto Mancini. “North Macedonia is a very good team, and if we win we have to play away.”

Italy — who beat England on penalties in the Euro 2020 final earlier this year — are hoping to banish the memories of their play-off heartache from four years ago when they lost to Sweden and failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958.

Portugal have featured at every major championship since missing out on the 1998 World Cup.

They only narrowly missed out on automatic qualification when Aleksandar Mitrovic’s late goal snatched a 2-1 win for Serbia in the two teams’ last group match.

FIFA World Cup Qualifier Draws: Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal face Euro champs Italy as a potential roadblock

Elsewhere in the playoffs, British rivals Wales and Scotland could play each other in the final of Path A.

Scotland will welcome Ukraine to Glasgow in their semi-final game. Wales take on Austria in Cardiff, with the winners to have home advantage in the final.

The Welsh are hoping to play in the global showpiece for the first time in 64 years, while Scotland have not qualified since 1998.

“We’ve given ourselves a great opportunity,” said Wales manager Robert Page.

“It was in 1958 that we last qualified for the World Cup finals and through the play-offs again, so the incentive is there for us.

“We worked ever so hard to get that runners-up position in the group and earn that home draw, and we’ve had the luck of the draw that if we win that semi-final we will also be home for the final, so there’s everything to play for.”

Russia face Poland in the Path B semi-finals, with the winners to host Sweden or the Czech Republic.

The Russians, who reached the 2018 quarter-finals as the host nation, have only ever lost one World Cup qualifier at home — against Germany in 2009.

FIFA World Cup Qualifier: Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal face Euro champs Italy as a potential roadblock

For more sports and updates, follow us at insidesport.in

(with AFP inputs)

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