Simulated World Cup 2022 play-off draw, featuring Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal in a dreadful final against Italy.
In SunSport’s simulated European play-off draw, Cristiano Ronaldo’s chances of appearing in his fifth World Cup are on the line.
His Portugal team has been drawn in Path B alongside Euro 2020 champions Italy, meaning that only one of the European giants will be able to qualify for Qatar.
SunSport predicts that Ronaldo’s team will beat North Macedonia and that the Azzurri will be too strong for Austria.
As a result, a thrilling shootout between Portugal and Italy will determine who advances to the World Cup finals next year.
After Serbia scored a late winner to leapfrog Portugal and qualify automatically from Group A earlier this month, CR7 had to fight back tears.
The 2-1 loss relegated Portugal to the play-offs, which will feature a slew of European football’s biggest names.
Italy is ranked fifth in the world, but after drab draws with Switzerland and Northern Ireland, they have dropped to second in Group C.
That means Roberto Mancini’s side will have to do things the hard way if they are to add the World Cup to their European title.
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In SunSport’s simulated draw, the Home Nations of Wales and Scotland are kept apart.
In Path A, Gareth Bale and his teammates will face Turkey, while Scotland will face the Czech Republic in Path C.
While this keeps both countries safe from Portugal and Italy’s firepower, their positions in Qatar are far from secure.
In one possible play-off final, Wales could face a Poland team led by Ballon d’Or contender Robert Lewandowski.
Alternatively, they may have to beat Russia, who only missed out on automatic qualification by one point after winning seven of their ten group games.
If Scotland can defeat the Czech Republic, things might be a little easier for them.
Sweden will most likely be their final opponent, but they will be without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was banned for a brutal shoulder charge on Cesar Azpilicueta of Spain.
On Friday evening, the real draw for the European World Cup play-offs will take place in Zurich.
A 12-team play-off system is used to determine the final three European spots in the Fifa World Cup.
The hat is drawn from the ten runners-up from the group stage, as well as the next two best teams from the Uefa Nations League.
The six highest-ranked group runners-up are seeded in Pot 1 and will play their semi-final at home.
In Pot 2, the remaining six teams are seeded and will be pitted against the seeded nations.
Infosurhoy’s most recent news in a nutshell.
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