The draw for the upcoming 2022 World Cup playoffs has been confirmed on Friday, with one of Italy or Portugal guaranteed to miss out on a spot at the showpiece.
The final round of European qualifiers for the fast-approaching Qatar World Cup were of course played out earlier this month.
As a whole host of the top nations from across the continent battled it out for a guaranteed spot on world football’s grandest stage, the likes of England, Croatia, Germany and France all got the job done.
Final day slip-ups on the part of the aforementioned Italy and Portugal, however, saw both slip into 2nd in their respective groups at the last.
And, as alluded to above, such shortcomings are now guaranteed to cost one of the last two European Championship victors very, very dear…
This comes with the playoff draw having thrown up a nightmare scenario for both nations.
If Italy and Portugal, as expected, advance beyond beyond North Macedonia and Turkey in their initial playoff outings, they will then be pitted against one another in a one-off showdown for a place in Qatar.
Cristiano Ronaldo and co. boast the slight edge as things stand, with any such tie scheduled to play out in Portugal.
Scotland face Ukraine
Elsewhere in the highly-anticipated draw, the winners of Russia vs Poland are set to take on either Sweden or the Czech Republic, whilst one of Wales or Scotland (or potentially both) will be left to watch on from home.
This comes with the two nations having been drawn in the same group, against Austria and Ukraine respectively.
Scotland will face Ukraine in their 2022 World Cup play-off semi-final, with Wales facing Austria in Cardiff.
Should both teams win, they will play each other for a place at the World Cup.
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) November 26, 2021
This article was edited by Ben Browning.