My prediction of the UEFA World Cup qualifying playoff route being an absolute shitstorm came to fruition.
Croatia avoided the toughest playoff path in World Cup history with their 1-0 win over Russia in Split two weeks ago. So what’s going to happen on March when the playoff begins?
Italy and Portugal have been placed in the same 4-team group. That means either the reigning Euro champions or Cristiano Ronaldo are not making the trip to Qatar. If both win their one-legged semifinal, Portugal would host the win-or-go-home match on March 29th.
Russia will host Poland in their semifinal. The winner of that match would then host the victor from the Sweden/Czech match. This is where Croatia (theoretically) would have been placed. Definitely not the toughest group but if Robert Lewandowski catches fire for Poland, he can bag a goal or two in any given match. Sweden can easily fly under the radar in these matches to grab one of the final three European berths for the World Cup.
In arguably the playoffs’ weakest group, Scotland will host Ukraine with Wales locking horns with Austria. I see Ukraine making the World Cup from this group, with Sweden and Portugal joining them.