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Top 5 European teams that will compete in the 2022 World Cup play-offs

Portugal v Serbia - 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier
Portugal v Serbia - 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier
ANALYST

Every footballing nation wants to feature at the World Cup. Unfortunately, it is hardly a straightforward task. Over the course of the qualifying campaign, many big teams lose focus and are forced to be happy with a play-off spot instead.

On the flip side, a few underdogs overachieve and also find themselves in the play-offs, competing against the biggest teams.

As expected, the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers have produced many unexpected results. 12 teams have come out second-best in their respective groups and will now take part in the play-offs to book their tickets for Qatar.

Here are the top five teams who will compete in the 2022 World Cup play-offs in March:


#5 Wales

Wales v Belgium - 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier
Wales v Belgium - 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier

Wales are probably not one of the biggest footballing nations on the planet, but they certainly seem to be one of the most spirited. Despite being in a group of death alongside Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Belarus, they have secured a play-off spot, against all odds.

Wales had to face table-toppers Belgium in their final 2022 World Cup Qualifying fixture. Without Gareth Bale in the team, Wales started on the backfoot. However, through perseverance and determination, they matched Belgium punch-for-punch and secured a 1-1 draw.

Not only did the draw confirm their play-off spot, but it also made them one of the six seeded teams who would play at home.

Wales need a draw against world number ones Belgium to secure home advantage in the playoffs! 😬 https://t.co/fog3MNaW02

With a favorable draw, Wales could come out of the play-offs in one piece and could make their first World Cup finals appearance since 1958.


#4 Scotland

Scotland v Denmark - 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier
Scotland v Denmark - 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier

Scotland were thrown into Group F alongside Denmark, Israel, Austria, the Faroe Islands and Moldova. Many expected Austria and Denmark to fight it out for the top spot. Surprisingly, it was Scotland who came out all guns blazing against Denmark.

Scotland picked up seven wins and two draws in 10 games. Their only defeat came against table-toppers Denmark. The 2-0 defeat in Denmark served as a wakeup call for Scotland. They bounced back with renewed ambition, winning the next six matches on the trot.

No Scotland manager has a better win percentage than Steve Clarke when managing more than 30 games.The first time in 90 years they've won six straight games.They match their best ever points return in World Cup qualification.The Tartan Army end Denmark’s unbeaten run. https://t.co/iswUn6R2Cp

In their last World Cup Qualifying fixture, Scotland took on Denmark in front of a packed Hampden Park. Scotland were determined to settle the score and goals from John Souttar and Che Adams made sure the hosts got what they deserved.

The 2-0 win in the reverse fixture against Denmark also earned Scotland home advantage in the 2022 World Cup Qualifying play-offs.

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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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