The World Cup tournament is an international football competition organized every four years where various national teams belonging to the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) have senior players feature and contest for the trophy. The most viewed tournament of all started in the year 1930, has been hosted by various nations, and has seen different countries from different continents across the globe claim the trophy, particularly some more than others like the Italy World Cup quadruple wins.
Preceding the World Cup tournament is a phase of qualification, a format for picking those who qualify to play in the big tournament. The qualifications stage usually starts early, usually three years before the final tournament as it is played during the international breaks granted by continental leagues.
Various Confederations have different modes of picking their qualifiers attributing different names to their sub-tournaments, examples are the Euros world cup qualifiers, Asia world cup qualifiers, and others. The winners of each group of play as decided by the confederation proceed to the final tournament, meanwhile, the host country receives an automatic qualification and the remaining slot are shared as the FIFA body deem fit.
Usually, these slots don’t get filled up by the qualified teams, then there is another mini-tournament organized for countries that fall into the playoff bracket to determine those who would step up to fill the empty spots.
Since the world cup is the most viewed sporting event, it is guaranteed that there would be a lot of betting events, chances, and activities as this would further make the games enjoyable to fans across the globe as they would have not only their spirits up, but their emotions and monies on the line.
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The 2022 world cup tournament in Qatar is fast approaching, fans can’t wait to support their national teams and expect them to take the glory home, but as said, there are still some vacant spots to be taken in the tournament draws thus the Playoff games. The playoff mini-tournament is organized by FIFA, draws are made to determine which country would face off and qualify for the World Cup games.
There are 12 countries currently in the mix in the European zone; Wales, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Italy, Turkey, North Macedonia, Czech Republic, Russia, Ukraine, and Scotland. Out of these twelves, only the three countries who come out on top of their pots get to join the big tournament. Well, here are 7 countries that can be backed to qualify from this stage.
The four-time world cup Champions might have to sit this one out but that isn’t decided just yet. Even though Roberto Mancini’s men started on a great foot boasting a win of 3 consecutive games, they started to cool off after their Euro’s win, dropping points against underdogs. They are set amongst the favorites to join the world cup tournament as they boast of an array of great players, but then they would be on their toes as they have difficult opponents to face in the playoffs.
Portugal’s national soccer team would have to fight their way through the playoffs for a chance to play at the world cup tournament as this would likely be the last dance for the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe. Following a last gasp draw against Serbia, Portugal’s Euro qualifying group campaign for the world cup ended in disappointment. As a result, they’d be battling out other countries for a spot but then, with the quality of players they have, they are backed as favorites. For punters, Portugal’s next match in the playoffs is against Turkey, and you may want to back them to win that one.
Although the Polish side can be regarded as favorites, they would be happy with being in the playoffs phase now as they were lucky to survive a scare through a win against Andorra. With the likes of the in-form Roberto Lewandoski, Bednarek, and goalkeeper Szczesny playing for the team, Poland is also one of the favorites to qualify.
Wales has been a long absentee from the World Cup tournament and they would be trying as much as possible to rewrite that story. The last time they competed, in 1958, they were eliminated by the team that went ahead to win the cup then, Brazil. With the mentality and the robust team, the Welsh side has, they can be backed to go through the playoff stage as well.
Sweden, the first runner up in the UEFA group B qualification tournament advanced to the playoff after edging Greece, Georgia, and Kosovo. The Yellows would be looking to create a spark to get them through to the World Cup stage.
Austria is in the playoff as a result of their win in the qualifiers ahead of Romania, Northern Ireland, and Norway. They will be facing Wales in the playoff, with both sides seeming equally matched, any of them could come victorious, proceeding to the next stage, thus both are favorites.
Like Wales but more recently, Ukraine has been to the world cup just once in the year 2005, getting knocked out in the quarter-finals. Zinchenko helped secure a spot in the playoffs and fans would be looking to bank on his expertise as well as that of his teammates to edge closer to the world cup stage.
Other national teams including, Russia, Scotland, and the lot can also work a miracle and secure a spot for themselves, but the teams stated above are considered favorites. Regardless, an analytical view of the teams in the playoffs would immediately suggest who and who not to back.