The main qualifying campaign to reach the Qatar 2022 World Cup is over and done with in Europe and 10 nations have seized their place at the finals.
But for the runners-up of the group stage – and two others – there is still another chance ahead to reach next year’s tournament, with the play-offs set to be drawn on Friday.
Those 12 nations will have three more spots to fight over, with each of the three ‘paths’ seeing four nations drawn in two semi-finals, then the winner of each meeting in the final – and the eventual victor going through to Qatar.
While England have already made it after an unbeaten group stage, two more home nations – Scotland and Wales – are hoping to join them and end their long waits to reach a World Cup finals.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the Uefa zone World Cup qualifying play-offs draw.
When is the draw?
The draw takes place at 4pm GMT on Friday 26 November. The draw takes place in Zurich.
Where can I watch it?
The draw will be shown live via the Fifa website. It is not currently set to be shown on UK TV.
Which nations are in the draw?
Portugal, Sweden, Italy, Ukraine, Wales, Scotland, Turkey, Russia, Poland and North Macedonia are in the draw as group runners-up. Austria and Czech Republic are in the draw thanks to their Nations League performances.
When did Scotland and Wales last play at a World Cup?
It was France ‘98 when Scotland last earned a place at the finals – they failed to win a game and went out at the group stage.
Wales have had an even longer wait. Their only World Cup appearance came in Sweden in 1958, where they reached the quarter-finals.
How do the seedings and paths work?
Portugal, Scotland, Italy, Russia, Sweden and Wales are seeds and they will be at home for the semi-finals, against one of the other six unseeded nations.
The semi-finals are numbered in the order they are drawn out, and the winners of semi-final 1 will play the winners of semi-final 2 in the final, 3 vs 4 and 5 vs 6.
A draw will also be held to determine which semi-finalists will be at home for the final – both the semis and the final are one match only.
When are the play-offs?
Final times are yet to be set and will be released after the draw itself, but the games will take place in the international break during March 2022. Subject to change, the semis will be on Thursday 24 March and the three path finals are on Tuesday 29 March.
Any other details?
Yes – there will also be a draw taking place to determine the inter-continental play-offs. Each of AFC, Conmebol, Concacaf and OFC will have one nation which qualifies for the play-offs, at the conclusion of their regional qualification campaign. Two fixtures will be drawn to determine which zones play each other, again in one-off fixtures to take place in June 2022.