2022 World Cup play-offs: All you need to know

The 2022 World Cup runs from November 21 to December 18; the play-offs to reach Qatar take place from March 24 to 29, with 10 group runners up joined by the two best group winners from the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League; Portugal and Italy join Scotland and Wales in play-offs

World Cup 2022 Play offs
Image: How do the play-offs for the 2022 World Cup work?

Wales and Scotland confirmed their places in the play-offs for the 2022 World Cup with Portugal and Italy also joining them, so how does it work and how can you follow Friday afternoon's draw?

Who is seeded in the play-offs?

Portugal
Scotland
Italy
Russia

Sweden
Wales

    How do the play-offs work?

    The play-offs take place from March 24 to 29, with 10 group runners-up joined by the two best group winners from the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League overall ranking that have neither qualified directly as group winners, nor entered the play-offs already as group runners-up.

    These 12 teams will be drawn into three play-off paths for one-off semi-finals and a final. The three path winners qualify for the World Cup.

    Who is unseeded in the play-offs?

    Austria
    North Macedonia
    Turkey
    Poland
    Ukraine
    Czech Republic

    WALES

    When is the play-off draw and how will it work?

    The draw will take place in Zurich on Friday, November 26 from 4pm, UK time.

    You'll be able to follow live commentary of the draw on Sky Sports Digital and watch the draw live on Sky Sports' YouTube channels.

    The six best-ranked runners-up - based on criteria that starts with number of points, goal difference and goals scored - will be allocated to Pot 1 and drawn in six semi-finals as the home team.

    The remaining teams will then be drawn from Pot 2 to semi-finals 1-6.

    Also See:

    There will be three play-off paths, with each providing a World Cup finalist.

    Semi-finals 1 and 2 make up play-off path A, semi-finals 3 and 4 form path B and semi-finals 5 and 6 will contest path C.

    To determine which semi-final winner will play at home in the final, an additional draw will be held for each path.

    When do the play-off games take place?

    Play-off semi-finals: Thursday March 24 2022

    Play-off finals: Tuesday March 29 2022

    UEFA will confirm the kick-off times after the draw.

    How do the play-offs work?

    The winners of each group automatically qualify for the World Cup finals, which run from November 21 to December 18 2022, but three more teams will seal their place at the end of the play-offs in March.

    The play-offs take place from March 24 to 29 2022, with 10 group runners-up joined by the two best group winners from the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League overall ranking that have neither qualified directly as group winners nor entered the play-offs already as group runners-up.

    During a play-off draw on November 26 2021, those 12 teams will be drawn into three play-off paths for one-off semi-finals and a final, with the three path winners then qualifying for the tournament in Qatar.

    The draw will be seeded based upon qualifying-round points. The six best runners-up will be seeded and play their games at home, while the remaining four - plus the two UEFA Nations League teams - are unseeded and will face an away tie.

    Courtesy of their win over Denmark in their final qualifying match, Scotland are seeded for the play-offs, which means they will play at home in their play-off semi-final. Wales secured the same fate by drawing with Belgium in Cardiff on Tuesday.

      What is the World Cup format and schedule?

      FIFA WORLD CUP 2020 QATAR

      The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will feature 32 teams in eight groups of four.

      Four matches will be played each day during the group stage, which will run over a 12-day period and see winners and runners-up progress to the round of 16.

      Matches will only be assigned to particular venues after the finals draw, so organisers can choose optimal kick-off times to suit television audiences in different countries, as well as supporters out in Qatar.

      The finals draw is scheduled to take place in April 2022, after the March window for international fixtures.

      Unlike at Euro 2020, there will be a third-place play-off game on December 17.

      Group stage: November 21- December 2
      Round of 16: December 3-6
      Quarter-finals: December 9/10
      Semi-finals: December 13/14
      Final: December 18

      When will the matches kick off?

      FIFA has confirmed the first two rounds of matches will kick off at 1pm, 4pm, 7pm and 10pm local time (10am, 1pm, 4pm and 7pm in the United Kingdom).

      Kick-off times in the final round of group games and knock-out round matches will be at 6pm and 10pm local time (3pm and 7pm UK time). The final is scheduled to kick off at 6pm local time (3pm UK time)

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