Blues learn World Cup play-off opponents

The main stage of European qualifying concluded during the last international break, with several Blues helping their countries book their place in Qatar, but the best of the rest will have a second chance when the play-offs get under way in March.

A total of 12 teams have been divided into three sections, each with their own semi-finals and final to decide Europe’s last three representatives at the World Cup. The best six second-placed sides from the qualifying groups were seeded with a home draw in the semis on 24 March, while the home teams in the finals five days later were determined in today’s draw.

It was the third section to be drawn which will generate a lot of the excitement for neutrals, as Jorginho and Emerson Palmieri know they face a difficult task to qualify with European champions Italy. They will be at home against North Macedonia in the semi-finals, but if victorious they then travel to the winners of Portugal versus Turkey in the final, meaning only one of the last two Euros winners can qualify for the World Cup.