Could Scotland face Italy or Portugal in World Cup play-offs? When is the draw?

Scotland have secured seeded status for the World Cup play-offs after a stunning 2-0 win over Denmark at Hampden Park on Monday night.

Goals from John Souttar and Che Adams ensured a famous victory for Steve Clarke’s men and guaranteed a home play-off semi-final against one of the unseeded nations on either March 24 or 25 next year.

The six countries who have the best runners-up record from the group stage will be seeded for the semi-finals. The other four runners-up, plus the two qualifiers from the Nations League, will be unseeded.

Sign up to our Football newsletter

In turn, the 12 teams will be split into three play-off paths consisting of four teams. The seeded teams will get home ties for the semi-final and then a random draw will decide which team hosts the unseeded final on either March 28 or 29.

Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after defeat to Serbia condems Portugal to a World Cup play-off. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images)

Who could Scotland face in the play-offs?

Scotland’s top seed status will ensure they avoid a potential semi-final against powerhouse nations such as Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal or Euro 2020 winners Italy, who have both dropped into the play-offs after failing to win their respective groups.

Russia are also confirmed as top seeds, with Sweden likely to follow. Scotland’s possible opponents from the unseeded pot will include North Macedonia and Austria, who could be joined by Finland, Turkey, Czech Republic, Wales or Poland.

However, while Scotland will avoid a bigger nation in the semi-final, depending on the draw, it is likely that they will still need to overcome a Portugal, Italy, Russia or Sweden in the play-off final in order to reach Qatar 2022.

Essentially, Scotland will need to win two matches next March to reach the World Cup finals.

The draw for the play-offs takes place on November 26.

Get a year of unlimited access to all The Scotsman's sport coverage without the need for a full subscription. Expert analysis of the biggest games, exclusive interviews, live blogs, transfer news and 70 per cent fewer ads on Scotsman.com - all for less than £1 a week. Subscribe to us today

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.