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Taking a look at who Scotland and Wales could face in World Cup play-off semis

Rob Page and Steve Clarke

Scotland and Wales will discover their World Cup play-off semi-final opponents on Friday.

Both teams are among the six seeds in the European play-offs, which will produce three qualifiers for Qatar 2022.

Both Scotland and Wales will be at home for the semis, which are due to take place on March 24.

As well as discovering their semi-final opponents, their potential final adversaries will also become apparent, and an additional draw will determine whether they would be at home or away if they progress to the March 29 finals.

European champions Italy, Portugal, Russia and Sweden are also among the seeds.

Here is a rundown on the six teams Scotland or Wales could be facing in their next international.


Austria v Scotland

Scotland’s John McGinn in action in Vienna (Florian Schrotter/PA)

Finished third behind Scotland in Group F but qualified for the play-offs through the Nations League. Austria drew 2-2 at Hampden before a Lyndon Dykes penalty was enough to earn Scotland victory in Vienna in September. Wales enjoyed identical results against Austria in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers. The Austrians, captained by Real Madrid’s David Alaba, took Italy to extra-time in the last 16 of Euro 2020.

Czech Republic

Euro 2020

David Marshall cannot reach Patrik Schick’s long-range effort in the Euros (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Familiar foes for both home nations, the Czechs finished third in Wales’ qualifying group, again after a 2-2 draw and a 1-0 victory for Rob Page’s team. They qualified via the Nations League after pipping Scotland to top spot in Group B2 after Steve Clarke’s men lost their final two matches. Although Scotland beat them home and away in that section, the Czechs won 2-0 at Hampden in the Euros.

North Macedonia

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Possibly the favoured opponents for Scotland and Wales fans on first glance, but they beat Romania to second place in their group after beating Germany 2-1 in Duisburg in March. It was Germany’s first World Cup qualifying defeat since their 5-1 thrashing by England 20 years earlier. Coached by Igor Angelovski for six years, North Macedonia lost all three games at Euro 2020 but their only defeat in seven qualifiers this season came against Germany in Skopje and they sealed their play-off spot with a 3-1 win over Iceland.


Robert Lewandowski

Poland’s Robert Lewandowski has eight qualifying goals (Rafal Oleksiewicz/PA)

Held England to a draw in Warsaw in finishing behind Gareth Southgate’s men in the qualifiers, before defeat in their final game against Hungary cost them a potential seeded spot. With eight goals, Robert Lewandowski is only behind Harry Kane and Memphis Depay in the European qualifying goalscoring charts. The Poles held Spain to a draw in the European Championship finals either side of defeats to Slovakia and Sweden.


Turkey v Wales

Turkey and Wales clashed in the Euros (PA)

Lost 2-0 to Wales in the Euro 2020 finals and conceded seven goals in all while going down to Italy and Switzerland as well. They finished above Norway in Group G thanks to a flying start which saw them net a total of seven goals in opening wins over the Netherlands and the Norwegians. They fell to a 6-1 defeat in Amsterdam in September but played with 10 men for half of the match.


Sweden v Ukraine

Ukraine enjoyed success at Hampden in June (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Reached the Euro 2020 quarter-finals before running out of steam against England after an epic victory over Sweden at Hampden. They finished a point above Finland in the qualifiers to seal runners-up spot behind France, going through the group undefeated after winning twice and drawing six times. Andriy Shevchenko left his job as head coach after the Euros to go to Genoa – acting head coach Oleksandr Petrakov has a decade of experience in coaching international youth football with his country.