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.

Gareth Bale of Wales celebrates following the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier knockout round play-off match between Wales and Austria at Cardiff City Stadium on March 24, 2022 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

As runners up to Denmark, Scotland qualified and were drawn to play Ukraine – initially in March but conflict in the opponent’s country led to the match being postponed until June 1.

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.

What happened?

Wales' players celebrate on the pitch after the FIFA World Cup 2022 play-off semi-final qualifier football match between Wales and Austria at Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff, south Wales on March 24, 2022. - A brilliant double from Gareth Bale took Wales to the brink of a first World Cup since 1958 thanks to a 2-1 win over Austria in Cardiff on Thursday. (Photo by GEOFF CADDICK/AFP via Getty Images)

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?

Scotland and Ukraine meet at Hampden Park, on Wednesday. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

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.

A Scotland fan shows support for Ukraine ahead of the friendly football match between Scotland and Poland (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

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Scotland squad in full to face Ukraine in World Cup qualifier play-off at Hampde...

Anything else?

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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