Who will Wales play in World Cup 2022 play-offs after securing home tie as seeds with Belgium draw?

The Dragons have done enough to take the runners-up spot and secure a seeded spot in the play-offs

Karl Matchett
Tuesday 16 November 2021 22:18
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A point for Wales against Belgium was just enough to secure a seeded spot in the play-offs for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The Dragons will now avoid difficult semi-final ties with Italy or Portugal.

That’s because a combination of results from Group G failed to deny Rob Page’s side after Kieffer Moore’s equaliser cancelled out Kevin De Bruyne’s opener in Cardiff.

Turkey had to win away to Montenegro by at least four goals, but they only won 2-1.

That meant the result in the Netherlands was irrelevant, with the Oranje hosting Norway, where a win or draw for the Dutch would have left Wales unseeded, with Turkey play-off seeds and Netherlands through automatically.

But despite a 2-0 win for the Netherlands, Turkey failing to win handsomely ensured Wales were left safe as a seeded side.

How do the World Cup qualifying play-offs work?

The top nation from each Uefa qualifying group go through automatically - that’s 10 of the 13 European countries who will be at Qatar 2022.

For the final three spots, the play-offs will be the route - and 12 teams have the possibility to seize those spots.

The six teams who finish with the best records as group runners-up (after results vs the bottom nation in groups with six teams are removed) are seeded and they will be drawn to face one of the other six unseeded nations. The unseeded countries are comprised of the remaining four group runners-up, plus the best two countries from the Nations League who aren’t already qualified or in the playoffs.

This will be a one-off knock-out match with the seeds at home.

Each of those six fixtures are semi-finals for each qualifying ‘path’. The victors progress to the final, where the winners of semi-final No1 will play the winners of semi-final No2, three versus four and five against six - the matches are numbered in the order they were drawn. Each of the three winners of the play-off finals will then progress to the World Cup finals in Qatar next year.

When is the draw?

The draw for the play-offs is on Friday 26 November and things kick off at 4pm [BST] in Zurich, Switzerland.

The semi-finals occur on Tuesday 24 March and those who advance will play the finals on Tuesday 29 March, ensuring a dramatic week on the road to Qatar.

Seeded sides

Portugal, Scotland, Italy, Russia, Sweden, Wales

Unseeded sides

Austria, North Macedonia, Turkey, Poland, Ukraine, Czech Republic

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