The last three tickets from the old continent to Qatar 2022 will be disputed in an unusual way with 12 teams next March.
What are the remaining countries that will contest it? excuse me? And for what reason? ... Here we tell you. Photo: IG-Christian, TW-Ibra_official, IG-Jorginho, IG-_rl9
LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano
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The 2022 FIFA World Cup has many changes that are linked to the turns that the organization has implemented in recent years, and this extends to the traditional play-offs that grant the last places towards the maximum event.
In UEFA, the teams of Germany, France, Belgium, Spain, England, the Netherlands, Croatia, Denmark, Switzerland, and Serbia assured their presence directly in Qatar after winning their respective knockout groups, but others such as Italy, Portugal, Sweden, or Poland, still have to look for their classification in a novel playoff that has nothing to do with the previous system.
Everything will start on Friday, November 26 with a draw that will distribute the 12 participating countries into three groups of four teams in which there will be a roundtrip semifinal and a final, with the winner of each zone being the one who gets one of the three tickets available.
Three places for 12
The first thing to know is that the ten teams that finished second in the group stage, in this case, Portugal, Sweden, Italy, Poland, Russia, Scotland, Macedonia, Turkey, Wales, and Ukraine, will join the top two ranked in the last League of Nations in Europe outside of those already classified for the World Cup, which in this case were the Czech Republic and Austria.
In the latter case, UEFA sought to give some added value to the Nations League competition, which after two editions have yet to be consolidated and therefore, a good position in said tournament represents a second alternative, especially for high-level teams. half, of being able to attend the World Cup.
Portugal, Scotland, Italy, Russia, Sweden and Wales, will be the seeds for their best score in the group stage for them, they will have the home in the semifinals, ensuring not to face each other at this stage, but in a hypothetical final as long as the draw frames them in the same group.
The semifinals are scheduled to take place from March 24 to 25, 2022, while the three finals will be played between March 28 and 29, four days later. The final will be played on a neutral court for a single match according to what the draw determines.
The semifinals will be a one-off match at the home of the six teams that scored the most points in the group stage. Later, with the six semifinal winners, there will be three finals, which will also be a single match and whose venues will be known via a draw.
Undoubtedly, the six mentioned start with slight favoritism to reach the final by playing that match at home, but in Europe, it has been seen that there are no small enemies. Italy and Portugal, above all, are in the spotlight for having been surpassed in their groups by Switzerland and Serbia, and although their teams invite us to think that, if they will be in the World Cup party, a hypothetical elimination would mean a resounding failure.
Goodbye to the back and forth series
During many pre-World Cup processes, FIFA opted for play-offs in all confederations as a way to add excitement until the final before the World Cup and to give a second chance to teams that had an outstanding tie despite not qualifying.
The tradition has always been simple playoffs between the Europeans themselves, generally second in the group, who faced each other according to a draw with round-trip matches. A good example was that of Italy with Sweden in the process towards Russia 2018, in which the Nordics left out the "Azzurri" after the round trip.
In the case of other confederations, Conmebol has always put the fifth in the classification to play with someone determined by the draw, which is normally between one from Concacaf, Asia, or Oceania, as happened four years ago when Peru qualified for the World Cup after winning. 2-0 on aggregate to New Zealand.
Africa, traditionally does not do play-offs, but it does establish two or three qualifying phases to purify those classified, and they have never disputed a direct quota with South America or Europe since they have five closed quotas, due to the number of affiliated nations, greater than that of Conmebol and the growth of its national teams in the last 20 years.
Attention! possible change in Conmebol
It is likely that the aforementioned repechage in the old continent is not the only modification that we witness in the remainder of the qualifiers towards Qatar 2022. There is a strong rumor that FIFA would be evaluating carrying out the Conmebol repechage and some other that is determined, to a single party and neutral headquarters.
In fact, Conmebol's last stop could be played until the June FIFA date, which is why there would be no space to place a second game in the series, remembering that the South American qualifiers end in March. That would be the main reason why the change that does not please the leadership of this part of the world would be carried out.
Conmebol hopes that it will be repeated as it has been up to now, the round-trip playoff with home advantage in the second game. However, it seems that the change would be close to materializing since it was leaked from Europe that FIFA's true intention is to make a home run in June, with the confederations involved and from it the last classified to the Qatar 2022 edition would come out.