The draw for the 2022 World Cup play-offs was held on Friday (11/26/2021) yesterday. The result was quite surprising, where Italy and Portugal could elbow each other in the final round of lane three.
Overall, the play-offs were participated by 12 countries consisting of the runners-up from each of the 10 qualifying groups. While the rest are the two best countries from the UEFA Nations League that did not enter the top two groups for the 2022 World Cup qualifying round.
The 12 countries are then divided into three different paths, where all paths start from the semifinals. FIFA held a draw with the aim of filling the available slots in the play-off phase fairly.
The draw results unite Italy and Portugal in one lane. The two can face each other in the final if they beat their respective opponents, namely Turkey and North Macedonia.
Thus, it is certain that one of Italy and Portugal will not be able to participate in the 2022 World Cup. The draw results are quite disappointing for many people, because the actions of the two countries are highly anticipated at the event.
Of course, this is a very tough test for each country. So what is the response of Roberto Mancini as the coach of the Italian national team regarding the results of the drawing?
“It could have been a little bit better, that’s true. It’s clear that we and Portugal have to beat Macedonia and Turkey,” Mancini told RAI2 .
“It’s a one-legged match, which always presents difficulties. We are confident and positive, especially in a slightly difficult moment,” he continued.
Want to Avoid Portugal
Mancini himself actually hoped that Italy would not be met with Portugal in the play-offs. But the universe has decided, and Gli Azzurri can do nothing but beat the Seleccao if they meet in the final.
“We would love to avoid them and they may want to avoid us as well. We will play in a possible final against them,” added the former Zenit St. coach. the Petersburg.
Of course, this is not the time to think too far. Before looking at Portugal, Leonardo Bonucci et al must face North Macedonia in the semifinal match which will be held in March 2022.
“We had a good qualifying group. Even against Switzerland, we deserved to win but in fact we didn’t. We have to play a good match, then we will see again in the final,” he concluded.
2022 World Cup Qualifying Play-off Draw: Italy and Portugal Potentially Face to face!
The draw for the 2022 World Cup qualifying play-off round will be held on Friday (11/26/2021) night WIB. There are two seeded countries that must participate in this phase, considering they failed to finish in first place in the group stage.
The presence of Italy in this phase is quite surprising to the public. They looked like they ran out of gas after winning Euro 2020. After a long time perched in first position, Gli Azzurri finally finished in second place.
Portugal also experienced a similar fate. The defeat on the last matchday with a score of 1-2 forced him to give up the top position to Serbia.
The Netherlands almost experienced a similar incident. They had to win against Norway in the last matchday to lock in top spot, and only drew in the first half. Fortunately, they were able to grab all three points thanks to goals from Steven Bergwijn and Memphis Depay in the second half.
Italy and Portugal can come face to face
In the end, Italy and Portugal had to go through the play-off phase first to participate in the 2022 World Cup. They also knew who they had to face after the drawing process was held recently.
There are 12 countries involved in this phase. Apart from Italy and Portugal, there are also Wales, Austria, Scotland, Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Turkey and finally North Macedonia.
The 12 countries are divided into three paths with a semifinal to final format. The winner of each of the finals of the three paths will receive a ticket to the 2022 World Cup which will be held in Qatar.
This play-off phase has the potential to present an exciting duel between Italy and Portugal. Both of them can meet face to face in the final if they are able to beat their respective opponents. This means that one of them will be absent from the 2022 World Cup.