World Cup qualifiers: What's next?

Thursday 24 March 2022 22:55

Six Reds booked their place in the finals of UEFA's World Cup qualifying play-offs on Thursday, on a dramatic night of action.

Diogo Dalot, Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo all played from the start, as Portugal roared into a two-goal lead over Turkey.

The game eventually finished 3-1, despite a helter-skelter second half which involved a goal and a penalty miss from Burak Yilmaz, before Matheus Luiz settled affairs with a late strike.

Dylan Levitt was an unused substitute at the Cardiff City Stadium, but the on-loan United youngster had a prime seat to see Gareth Bale's double take Wales through.

The former Tottenham Hotspur man scored two brilliant goals in each half to see off Austria, who nicked one back midway through the second period but to no avail.

Finally, it was a brilliant night for Anthony Elanga, as he made his senior international debut in Sweden's 1-0 extra-time success over Czech Republic in Stockholm.

The 19-year-old entered the fray for the final five minutes at the Friends Arena, joining Reds team-mate and Sweden captain Victor Lindelof for the post-match celebrations.

But what awaits in those all-important finals for our players?


Wales will have to wait until June for their date with destiny, as the other semi-final in their section - featuring Scott McTominay's Scotland - was postponed. That's because Steve Clarke's side were meant to face Ukraine.

Levitt and co will probably be favourites whoever emerges victorious from that game, however, as it will take place on their home turf in Cardiff, although we're sure Scott will have something to say about that. Scotland are looking to be involved in a World Cup for the first time since 1998, while Wales have had to wait 64 years since participating.

Exact dates for Scotland v Ukraine and the potential final have not yet been confirmed by UEFA.


Sweden already knew they would take on Poland in Chorzow if they won, with the latter reaching the final by default due to Russia's recent suspension by UEFA. They played Scotland in a friendly on Thursday night.

The Sweden-Poland match kicks off at 19:45 BST on Tuesday 29 March, with the victors booking a place for this winter's World Cup finals in Qatar.

Anthony Elanga made his debut for Sweden.


Portugal's players were doubtless expecting a blockbuster clash with European champions Italy when they marched off the pitch in Porto having dispatched Turkey, but they will instead be facing North Macedonia at the Estadio do Dragao next Tuesday, also at 19:45 BST.

Despite being out-shot 31 to four during the tie in Palermo, the Lions - who took part in their first-ever major tournament at last summer's European Championship - hit the only goal of the game through Aleksandar Trajkovski in injury-time.