World Cup 2022: Czech Republic Gets Second Chance in Playoffs

czech republic estonia

With one year to go until the 2022 World Cup gets underway in Qatar, several nations have now booked their place – while others must face a nervous wait.

A dramatic final round of fixtures in European qualifying drew to a close on Tuesday. 

In the final game of the group stage, the Czech Republic beat Estonia 2:0 in Prague’s Letná stadium. The home team went into the lead in the 59. minute after a goal by Jakub Brabec. Substitute Jan Sýkora upped the score to 2:0 five minutes before the end of the game.

The Czech Republic finished third overall in Group E, behind Belgium and Wales and will have to make it through the knock-out stage of the qualifiers to play in Qatar next year.

Who has qualified from Europe?

European Championship runners-up England qualified for the 2022 World Cup as one of 10 group winners, sealing top spot in style by thrashing San Marino 10-0 in their final Group I game on Friday.

Also heading to the World Cup are 2018 winners France, while Belgium, Denmark and Germany all safely navigated their groups as well.

It was not all straightforward for Europe’s heavyweights, however.

There were some crucial top-of-the-table deciders in the final round of fixtures, with Serbia scoring a 90th-minute winner to pip Portugal to first place, and both Spain and Croatia netting late on to edge their respective closest challengers Sweden and Russia.

In a thrilling conclusion to qualifying, Switzerland also took full advantage of Italy’s draw against Northern Ireland to take Group C on Monday, while on Tuesday the Netherlandsemerged victorious from a closely contested Group G.

Who is in play-offs

Joining those 10 group winners in Qatar will be three other European nations, who will come from the 10 runners-up and two Nations League teams in the play-offs.

European champions Italy and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, as well as Sweden and Russia, join Scotland and Wales as the seeded play-off nations.

They could face Poland, who finished six points behind Euro 2020 finalists England, North Macedonia, Turkey and Ukraine – who all sealed runners-up spots – plus the Czech Republic and Austria courtesy of their Nations League performances.

The play-offs will begin with six single-leg semi-final matches played between 24 and 25 March 2022.

 

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