The European World Cup playoffs resume on Tuesday, March 29th with two more teams able to secure a berth at the planet’s biggest soccer tournament in Qatar this November/December.
North Macedonia, Wales, Sweden and Portugal are all just one win away from reaching the World Cup following the first round of playoffs on March 24th.
Those games saw Wales double Austria 2-1 at home while Sweden edged the Czech Republic 1-0 in extra time. Portugal took care of Turkey 3-1 at home and in the biggest shock of the day, North Macedonia traveled to Italy and beat the reigning European champions 1-0 thanks to a last-minute goal by Aleksandar Trajkovski.
The lineup for Tuesday, March 29th features Poland hosting Sweden with North Macedonia visiting Portugal. If a game ends in a draw after 90 minutes it will go to 30 minutes of extra time (two 15-minute halves). If it’s still level after extra time it will be decided by a penalty shootout.
Due to the unfortunate situation between Russia and Ukraine, Russia has been banned from the qualifying tournament and the World Cup while Ukraine’s game against Scotland last week has been postponed until June.
This means Wales must now play the waiting game and will eventually host the winner of the Scotland vs Ukraine match, hopefully sometime in June. The situation also enabled Poland to advance against Sweden next week with a walkover as they were originally scheduled to face Russia in the first playoff round.
Poland enters their game against Sweden as the 28th-ranked men’s team in the world by FIFA while Sweden is ranked 17th. Meanwhile, Portugal is currently ranked eighth with North Macedonia coming in at 67th.
The oddsmakers at bet365 have Poland listed as +137 favorites to be Sweden, who are +220 with a 90-minute draw at +200. Portugal is the clear favorite over North Macedonia at -500 with their visitors at +1400 and a draw at +550.
Bet365 also offers several other types of wagers for the playoff games including live betting. Some of the other popular bets include total goals, both teams to score, the correct score, half-time score, the game decided in extra time, and the game decided by a penalty shootout etc.
The 22nd edition of the World Cup is scheduled for November 21st to December 18th with the official draw being scheduled to place on April 1st.