World Cup 2022: When is Scotland's potential play-off match with Wales?
We’re not getting ahead of ourselves too much but Scotland are just 180 minutes – plus any extra-time and penalties – from the World Cup in Qatar.
Written as simply as that it seems straightforward for a team who are unbeaten in eight matches, but for Steve Clarke’s side the reality is a lot more difficult.
In their way, of course, are Ukraine at Hampden tonight.
The match has been postponed form March owing to the political situation surrounding the opponent’s country an Russian invasion and as such, both national sides and FIFA agreed to re-schedule the match to this week.
It’s a huge match for both sides but once it’s finally played, what happens then?
World Cup qualifying explained
Qualifying group winners automatically entered the world Cup finals draw and will compete in the tournament later this year.
Runners-up from the group stages were entered into three play-off routes along with two other UEFA entrants from the Nations league.
The pair were also matched with another corresponding semi-final between Wales and Austria with the winners to play-off for one of three remaining European places in Qatar, this year’s World Cup host nation, in November.
Wales are waiting.
While Scotland and Ukraine shelved their match with full agreement of the governing bodies, other play-off games went ahead – including North Macedonia’s shock win over Italy in the semi-finals.
Wales and Austria played their semi-final too and Gareth Bale inspired his national side into the play-off final with two goals.
Therefore Rangers’ loanee Aaron Ramsey and his fellow countrymen are watching the events at Hampden keenly as they will face the winners for the right to compete in this year’s World Cup.
When will Wales play the winners in the play-off final?
While others (Portugal and Poland) have already qualified via the play-offs on their original dates in March, Wales have been forced to wait for the outcome at Hampden too. The Wednesday night winner will head to Cardiff to meet Rob Page’s team at the Principality Stadium on Sunday (June 5), kick-off 5pm, with the winner taking the final UEFA-allocated place at the tournament this November.
And then Scotland are in the World Cup?
Yes – if they win both games this week.
Once the winner of Scotland v Ukraine is known, and the winner of Wales v Scotland or Ukraine is decided – they will enter Group B of the World Cup sections where they have already been drawn to face England, USA and Iran.
But for Scotland, that’s still a fair bit away.
First it all depends on Wednesday night on the southside of Glasgow, then potentially the trip to Wales and only then does November in the gulf state come into full view for the play-off winners.
Yes, we’re not finished there. While the next five days will determine the World Cup qualification status, throw into the mix some UEFA Nations League matches with Armenia and Republic of Ireland in June as well, it’s going to be a tough summer schedule for the Tartan Army.
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