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How do the World Cup play-offs work?  Qatar 2022 qualifiers set to reach climax

Twelve teams will face off in play-offs for the final three European spaces of the 2022 World Cup after UEFA’s group stage reaches its peak.

The group’s ten finalists will face two Nations League teams next year. Tuesday’s qualifying confirmed the teams involved ahead of the draw and standings.

Here we explain how the UEFA qualifiers will go.

Who is involved in the play-offs and who is seeded?

Not seeded: Turkey, Poland, North Macedonia, Ukraine, Austria, Czech Republic

The six finalists who have accumulated the most points in qualifying are seeded, the remaining four teams and two unclassified Nations League teams.

Which Nations League teams are involved?

The 2020/21 Nations League group winners were ranked based on their performance, with the top two teams failing to finish in the top two of their play-off qualifying group.

Austria are assured of their place via this route after finishing sixth in the Nations League group but third in qualifying group F.

Wales placed second in Group E on Tuesday night with a draw against Belgium, with the Czech Republic knowing that even in third place they can fall back on their Nations League standings of seventh to reach dams.

France, Spain, Italy and Belgium were the top four winners of the Nations League groups, but all of them automatically qualified for the World Cup or the play-offs.

How will the play-offs work?

Three courses of four teams will each play two semi-finals and a final. The seeded team will host the semi-final, with the host of each final being decided by draw before the play-offs.

All draws will be played in a single match before extra time and penalties, if necessary.

Suspensions of players from the group stage will be carried over to the playoffs.

When will the play-offs be?

The semi-finals will be played on the evening of Thursday March 24 and Thursday March 25, 2021.

The finals are scheduled for Monday March 28 and Tuesday March 29, 2021.

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When will the play-offs draw?

The play-offs will be drawn on Friday 26 November 2021. The draw will take place in Zurich and start at 16:00 GMT.

The toss will define the semi-final clashes before determining the host of the final in each of the three lanes.

Ukraine is unranked, but UEFA will not allow it to be drawn against ranked Russia for political reasons.


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