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Only two of the Playoff Finals will be held – Paths B and C – with Path A delayed until June as it involves the Ukraine. They are set to face Scotland in the Semifinals before the winner of that match plays away to Wales in Cardiff.
(TOP: North Macedonia’s Aleksandar Trajkovski – centre).
The first clash on Tuesday evening sees Poland take on Sweden in Chorzow. The former team were given a bye through the Playoff Semifinals – with their scheduled opponents, Russia, axed from the World Cup – while the latter overcame the Czech Republic 1-0 last Thursday after extra time thanks to a goal from Robin Quaison.
The Polish Eagles will hope veteran striker Robert Lewandowski can fire them to a second successive World Cup tournament.
“It’s not only about me, we have a good team and we are determined to put ourselves into the next World Cup,” said the Bayern Munich attacker. “We must not assume anything will be easy for us; our opponents will be of a high calibre and the prize up for grabs is one of the most important a player can have in his career.”
The second clash was one in which everyone was expecting Portugal to be facing Italy. While the Navigators duly saw off the challenge of Turkey in the Semifinals (3-1, with goals from Otavia, Diogo Jota and Matheus Nunes), the Azzurri were shocked 1-0 by minnows North Macedonia in Palermo.
Aleksandar Trajkovski scored the decisive goal in injury time at the end of the game to see the Lions put themselves just 90 minutes away from a first-ever World Cup appearance.
“I am very happy for Trajkovski with his goal. The game was prepared in this way, we know that Italy are a great team with several champions but we played as we should. We know our strengths. Before the game I told the guys to have fun and they did just that,” said manager Blagoja Milevski.
Captain Stefan Ristovski is confident they can qualify for Qatar: “I am overjoyed with the victory and I expect a great welcome on my return to North Macedonia,” he said. “Can we beat Portugal? Yes, we will win. We will do everything to win and we will do it.”
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European WCQ broadcast details, 29 March 2022
All times CAT
Tuesday 29 March
20:45: Path B: Poland v Sweden – LIVE on SuperSport Variety 3, SuperSport Maximo 2 and SuperSport GOtv Select 2
20:45: Path C: Portugal v North Macedonia – LIVE on SuperSport Grandstand, SuperSport Football, SuperSport Maximo 360 and SuperSport GOtv Football