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Preview: Path A of the European World Cup Playoffs

Qatar 2022: Where to watch as Wales take on Austria on March 24 in the European World Cup Playoffs

March 24, 2022 By Ali M.
Wales take on Austria in Path A, while Scotland will face Ukraine at a later date, in the highly-anticipated final hurdle to Qatar 2022.

The international break is back, and while it is typically not a much-loved period, this time around, several exciting games will be taking place to entertain supporters of the beautiful game.

The most important fixtures occurring during this break are the European World Cup Playoffs. Ten nations have already booked their tickets to Qatar 2022, including the likes of Belgium, England, France, Germany, and Spain. However, three slots remain available, with 11 nations battling it out for the final few spots.

Path A will be the focus of this preview, which consists of four teams and two rounds – the semifinals and finals. Here's everything you need to know about the upcoming fixtures.

Which nations are in Path A of the European World Cup Playoffs?

  1. Wales

  2. Austria

  3. Scotland

  4. Ukraine

How do the Paths work?

Initially, 12 countries were drawn into three paths for four countries – Russia have since been disqualified due to the war with Ukraine. The four aforementioned teams were placed in Path A, which two nations being pitted against each other in one-legged semifinals. Wales will take on Austria while Scotland will face Ukraine. The winners will lock horns in a final for a spot at Qatar 2022.

Preview: Wales vs Austria - kick off at 12:45 PST/15:45 EST/19:45 GMT

After being grouped with Belgium in the UEFA World Cup qualifiers, many ruled out Wales for an automatic qualification to Qatar 2022. And while those unflattering predictions came true, the Dragons can be hailed for finishing second in their group, beating out the Czech Republic to secure the home advantage in the first of Path A's two playoffs – more on the other fixture later.

Bale and Co. nearly averaged two points per game in Group A, racking up 15 points after eight qualifiers. With four wins, three draws, and only one loss; Gareth Bale and Co. managed to edge out the Czechs to the runners-up spot by a single point, with their brilliant home record playing a huge part in this.

Robert Page's side picked up two wins and two draws on home soil during the group stage, even holding Belgium to a draw. Two games now separate Wales from their first FIFA World Cup appearance since 1958; however, whoever expects a straight-forward road to the finals will be gravely mistaken.

Austria finished fourth in Group F, coming in behind first-placed Denmark and second-placed Scotland while matching third-placed Israel's points tally. Had it not been for their UEFA Nations League endeavors, the visitors would not have made it to the European World Cup Playoffs.

However, form has slowly returned to Das Team, with Franco Foda's men winning three out of their last five games (D2). Of those two losses, Austria slipped up by a mere one-goal defeat. Additionally, the head-to-head record favors the visitors, triumphing in 50 per cent of their previous run-ins, winning five out of 10 encounters. Do not miss this clash.

Wales team news: The home side have a number of concerns, with talisman attacker Gareth Bale likely lacking sharpness due to his lack of playing time in La Liga. Additionally, injuries have ruled out Danny Ward and Kieffer Moore while Joe Morrell misses out due to suspension. Ethan Ampadu is back for the hosts while Rangers midfielder Aaron Ramsey should play his part in this semifinal.

Austria team news: Aleksandar Dragovic and Martin Hinteregger will likely be the center-back pairing, meaning Philipp Lienhart should return to Austria's bench. Arnautovic remains a key attacking threat, with Foda hoping his Bologna attacker delivers the nation a triumph.

Here's how you can catch Italy vs North Macedonia from wherever you're based:

 

Match details, result and original broadcast info

Wales 2 - 1 Austria

March 24, 2022 3:45pmCardiff City Stadium (Cardiff (Caerdydd))

This match has ended. Below are the original Live broadcast details for this match.

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Ukraine and the postponed World Cup Playoff vs Scotland

Due to the invasion of Russia, Ukraine's World Cup Playoff against Scotland has been postponed. The Eastern European nation made this request to FIFA back in February, which was understandably accepted. In its place, Scotland will take on Poland in a fundraising friendly to help the victims of this war.

When will the Scotland vs Ukraine playoff be held?

While there is no set date for this tie, FIFA are hopeful of staging it in June so the 2022 World Cup can go ahead as planned. However, no one knows whether peace will be brokered by then or whether the war will sadly continue.

What about the European World Cup Playoffs Path A final?

Initially, the finals were scheduled to take place on March 29. The Wales vs Austria semifinal on March 24 will go ahead, but with the winners of this tie set to face one of Scotland or Ukraine for a ticket to Qatar 2022, the Path A final had to be postponed. A date is yet to be announced for that tie.


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