Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Portugal
Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Portugal

FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifying play-off guide: All you need to know


The winners of each group has automatically qualified for the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar, but three more teams will seal their spot at the tournament via the play-offs.

Scotland, Wales, Portugal and Euro 2020 winners Italy are just some of the nations that will be involved in the European qualifying play-offs.

But how do they work?

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When are the World Cup play-offs?

  • Play-off semi-finals: Thursday March 24 2022
  • Play-off finals: Tuesday March 29 2022

How many teams compete in the World Cup play-offs?

Twelve teams have advanced to the play-offs in total, but how they got there was a little complicated.

Ten group runners-up from qualifying were joined by two teams who qualified via the UEFA Nations League overall ranking.

How do they qualify?

They are the two best group winners from the Nations League who have not advanced via traditional World Cup qualifying - that is as either group winners or group runners-up.

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How do the World Cup play-offs work?

In the play-off draw, 12 teams are drawn into three play-off paths for one-legged semi-finals and finals.

The three winners reach the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Full World Cup play-offs semi-final draw

Scotland v Ukraine

Wales v Austria

Russia v Poland

Sweden v Czech Republic

Portugal v Turkey

Italy v North Macedonia

World Cup play-offs final draw

Wales or Austria v Scotland or Ukraine

Russia v Poland v Sweden or Czech Republic

Portugal or Turkey v Italy or North Macedonia

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