Tag Archives: Qatar 2022

European playoff draw made for Qatar 2022 World Cup

One of Italy or Portugal will NOT be at the World Cup in Qatar 2022 after they were drawn in the same path during the playoffs.

Both teams failed to finish top of their group following bad results in the final group game, with Portugal being beaten at home by Serbia and Italy being held to a draw with Northern Ireland.

Because of those results both sides were entered into the playoffs, where they were drawn in the same path meaning they could meet in the playoff final for one of the three available places in the tournament.



The result means only one of the teams can go through and they are likely to meet in the final game, with Portugal getting drawn with home advantage.

Scotland and Wales were also drawn in the same path, meaning Britain won’t have more than two sides representing them alongside England.

Russia and Sweden were the seeded teams to be drawn into Path B, meaning that only one of those will be able to qualify also.

For the biggest teams to meet each other they must first win games against the unseeded teams in a one-legged game too. You can see the full draw below.

Path A

Semi-finals:
Scotland vs Ukraine
Wales vs Austria

Final:
Winner of Wales/Austria vs Winner of Scotland/Ukraine

Path B

Semi-finals:
Russia vs Poland
Sweden vs Czech Republic

Final:
Winner of Russia/Poland vs Winner of Sweden/Czech Republic

Path C

Semi-finals:
Italy vs North Macedonia
Portugal vs Turkey

Final:
Winner of Portugal/Turkey vs Winner of Italy/North Macedonia

All semi-final fixtures will be played on March 24th 2022, before the finals on March 29th 2022.

Gareth Southgate’s new contract is jumping the gun for England

England have announced that manager Gareth Southgate has signed a two-year extension to his contract, taking him through to after Euro 2024.

It had been long expected that a deal would be reached between the parties to extend his tenure as the boss, after first taking charge of the national team back in 2016.

But now after confirming England’s place in the World Cup for 2022 in Qatar, the deal has been confirmed which will see Southgate complete eight years in charge should he finish out the deal.



But while Southgate’s performance as manager has undoubtedly been successful thus far, have they jumped the gun by extending his contract before a major tournament takes place?

England have enjoyed two brilliant tournaments so far under Southgate, reaching the World Cup semi-finals in 2018 before making it all the way to the final of the delayed Euro 2020 earlier this year, losing to Italy on penalties at Wembley.

But despite the good tournaments, performances for the most part have been far from ideal from Southgate’s side.

The manager has constantly been critiqued for his defensive outlook on games despite the abundance of attacking talent he has at his disposal. Regularly fielding a three-at-the-back formation with two defensive midfielders too, it feels like there is a lot of potential waiting to be unlocked by a better coach.

Against the lesser nations, England have no problems whatsoever. They score plenty of goals, create plenty of chances and regularly win the games they’re supposed to win by a decent margin.

But against the top sides, we’ve seen them struggle on several occasions. When it comes to keeping the ball secure against sides full of quality, who know how to press and defend well they often get overrun and that is a coaching issue.

Southgate also has his favourites in the squad, with some getting call-ups regardless of form at club level while others struggle to get a call-up at all irrespective of what they’re doing for their club side.

While you could absolutely make a case for Southgate to get a new contract, giving him a new deal right before a major tournament seems weird.

What happens if England crash out at the group stages? What if England fail to score a single goal? What if England completely under-perform from their pre-tournament expectations?

Gareth Southgate poses in front of the tunnel as he is unveiled as the new England manager at Wembley Stadium on December 1, 2016 in London, England.

While the intentions are pure and from a good place, it just seems rushed. Southgate is very happy in the job and has intention of going anywhere else right now, and nobody else wants him currently.

England should probably have waited until the end of the tournament next year before extending, especially since Southgate himself had said he was in no rush.

But the announcement of the deal now means the pressure will be on in Qatar, if it wasn’t already.

Qatar World Cup 2022 – European playoffs explained

The Qatar World Cup 2022 qualifying phase is over for European nations, but we still don’t know all the teams that will be playing in the tournament.

After ten games each in their groups, ten teams have been assured qualification to the tournament next winter when the most prestigious tournament in football goes to the Middle East.

Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Croatia, England and Denmark have all confirmed their places, but there are still three more places up for grabs from the continent of Europe.



But there will be 12 teams competing for those final three spaces, in a mini playoff tournament that will decipher which teams make it. It’s a bit complicated, but here is how it will work.

The 12 teams involved in the playoff tournament are;

  • Portugal
  • Italy
  • Scotland
  • Wales
  • Russia
  • Sweden
  • Turkey
  • Poland
  • North Macedonia
  • Austria
  • Ukraine
  • Czech Republic

Of those sides, the first six named will be seeded which means they will play the fixture at home.

Antrim , United Kingdom - 15 November 2021; Italy players walk off the pitch dejected after the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifier match between Northern...
European champions Italy must go through a playoff to qualify for the World Cup

There will be three paths to the World Cup, with four teams separated into each of the three paths. In those paths there will be a one-legged semi-final game and then a one-legged final. The winner of those finals will earn qualification into the World Cup.

The semi-finals and finals of the games will take place between March 24th and March 29th 2022.

The draw for the paths will take place on Friday November 26th in Zurich, with another draw to take place following the semi-finals to determine which team will play the final at home.