World Cup 2022: an exciting draw for the play-off matches from Italy to Portugal

Italy and Portugal are jostling for a place in Qatar? The two European giants are holding their breath ahead of the draw for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers on Friday (5:00 pm), which could oppose them, or even Sweden book Ibrahimovic or Poland from Lewandowski.

The suspense confirmed in Zurich, where FIFA will determine both the European zone play-off matches, scheduled for the end of March, and the intercontinental play-off matches, that is, five tickets in total to reach the bar of 32 eligible countries, next June.

For Europe, 10 places are already booked but three tickets are still to be filled out of the 12 latecomers who were unable to finish top of their qualifying group.

Italy and Portugal, the last two European champions, are part of it, which promises unusually high competition in this catch-up session.

To watch Qatar (November 21-December 18, 2022), the spring playoffs (March 24 and 29) must win one of the three four-game mini-tournaments contested in the dry matches, with the semi-finals and then the final. , a risky format that prohibits the slightest defeat.

Italian defender Giovanni Di Lorenzo will face Swiss Castriot Emery in the 2022 World Cup qualifier between the two teams on November 12 in Rome. (AFP/Archives – Alberto Pezzoli)

And the tension increased somewhat, even among the European champions, the Italians, who were overwhelmed by the fear of not qualifying for the World Cup since their coronation last July, as happened in 2018.

The sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport wrote the “draw of thrill” in “One” of its Friday issue.

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– Shocked Italy, Experienced Portugal –

Second in its group after Switzerland, today “Nazionale” relives the trauma of four years ago, when Sweden blocked its way to the World Cup in Russia during play-off matches, and then played in another form, in home and away duels.

Like Italy, Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo trembles before the draw, his spirits affected by the controversy surrounding coach Fernando Santos.

The Portuguese press called him primarily responsible for the defeat against Serbia (2-1), on the last day, which condemned the winners of Euro 2016 for passing through the dams.

But Portugal has the experience of these appointments in a series, having qualified in 2010 and 2014 in this way.

The two heavyweights have a guarantee of a semi-final match at home, thanks to their standing as the top team. A second lottery will determine the host team for each of the three ‘finals’.

– Ibra and Lewy are musicians –

In this context, the Nazis and the Seleção could meet in the final … or fall into another broken choice at this level, such as Sweden, which should be able to count on the return of the spell of Zlatan Ibrahimovic (40 years old).

Ibra is one of the biggest scarecrows in this draw, along with Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich’s star and eight goals in qualifying.

It remains to be seen how the 12 teams will be divided into three “lanes” giving access to Qatar: Poland appears in the second hat, as do Austria, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Turkey and modest North Macedonia. He is a potential opponent in half for Italy, Portugal, Scotland, Wales, Russia and Sweden, all of which are seeded.

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Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic was among several Spaniards during the 2022 World Cup qualifier match between the two selections on November 14 in Seville.  (AFP / Archives - JORGE GUERRERO)

Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic was among several Spaniards during the 2022 World Cup qualifier match between the two selections on November 14 in Seville. (AFP / Archives – JORGE GUERRERO)

Once the European balls are drawn from the hat, FIFA will move to another draw, that of the Intercontinental play-off matches, less tense because the identity of the selections involved is not yet known.

It will be a matter of facing two to four teams: the fifth-placed team in the South American region, the fourth team from Central and North America, the winning team in the pre-jump in the Asia region, and the winning team from the Oceania region qualifiers.

The two opponents so determined will face each other in June, in a dry match and on neutral ground, dreaming of the last two tickets with Qatar as their destination.

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About the Author: Irene Alves

"Bacon ninja. Guru do álcool. Explorador orgulhoso. Ávido entusiasta da cultura pop."

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