Tough World Cup playoff draw for Seleção

Ever since the Seleção failed to win their World Cup qualifying group and were relegated into the playoffs, the overriding feeling was that avoiding Italy was paramount. 

But Portugal’s strange propensity to land the toughest possible draw struck again, as Fernando Santos’s team were placed in Path 3, as were Italy. 

To qualify for Qatar 2022 Portugal must beat Turkey at home, then the winner of the Italy-North Macedonia semi-final, also at home. 

 

 

The draw was streamed live by Fifa.com and the coaches of both Italy and Turkey reacted immediately after learning the outcome.

“It’s a very difficult draw for us,” said Italy coach Roberto Mancini. “If we win our semi-final we go to play the final in Turkey or Portugal, very strong teams.”

Turkey coach Stefan Kuntz was realistic when giving his opinion, although he added a note of optimism. “Definitely path C is the most difficult and the hardest one.” said the German. “But the development of the team and all the staff over the last few weeks gives me a lot of hope and of course the big wish is to bring the most important game back to Turkey to see what we can achieve.” 

Fernando Santos also gave his reaction to the draw shortly afterwards:

“There’s no point talking about Italy. Mancini was right when he began by saying ‘if we knock out North Macedonia…’ We have to focus on beating Turkey. That’s the important game.

“The draw is what it is. There are positives, starting with the fact we play at home. But to play [the final] at home we must beat Turkey. It’s good that we’re playing in front of our own crowd and that we avoid tiring journeys.

“Turkey are a team with lots of good players. Sometimes they click collectively, other times they don’t. We must take Turkey seriously. They cause lots of problems for their opponents. In principle, we’ll be playing teams who play 4-3-3, and that’s good. We need to prepare very well.

“Now’s the time to prepare, analyse, fine-tune the details of the training camp. It’s too far ahead to start thinking about the call-ups, although of course there are some players who will be in the squad as normal.

“My players and I are extremely confident.”

Suspensions / schedule 

Portugal will be without João Cancelo and Renato Sanches for the Turkey encounter after both players picked up a second yellow card in the final Group A qualifying match against Serbia. 

The Portugal-Turkey semi-final will be played on Thursday 24 March 2022. Should the Seleção win, they will host the final five days later on 29 March 2022. 

by Tom Kundert

Related: Portugal denied by Serbia in stoppage time; await World Cup playoff draw

Related: PortuGOAL podcast - Portugal vs Serbia World Cup Qualifier Special

 

 

Comments (64)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Perfect. Portugal out = Santos bye. A day to crlebrate

Rolf Gerber
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Shame on you. Firing Santos is not a priority greater than the team's success.

Samuel
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The team‘s success? WHAT SUCCESS? Playing crap brand of football and somehow qualify with luck and Ronaldo? Look at the crap that this team produces since years. Ok, you‘re the type of fan that sees it from game to game and is happy when they...

The team‘s success? WHAT SUCCESS? Playing crap brand of football and somehow qualify with luck and Ronaldo? Look at the crap that this team produces since years. Ok, you‘re the type of fan that sees it from game to game and is happy when they don‘t lose. So be it. But sustainable success stories in international football look completely the opposite of this clueless crap that Portugal is playing UNDER SANTOS and WITH RONALDO. Welcome to the Ronnie-show, byebye team development. Santos the Greek is the undertaker of Portugal‘s future in international football. So if you prefer not to lose (=qualify for Qatar with this crap), then do so. I‘d rather see a new start to finally get out of the team what‘s in it and even more important build something strong. PT as it shows today is weaker than the 2016 team. No big team fears Portugal and this is because they are not biased but see very clear what this team is missing: Identity, passion, strategy, determination. The fish starts stinking from the head.

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Rolf Gerber
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Nice Undertaker/WWE reference. I can see Santos in the Paul Bearer outfit.

Chris
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I say this out of pure concern for your well being Samuel.....

Were you dropped on your head??

That's the dumbest thing I've read in a while.

Chris
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Unnecessary Chris. I have zero faith in FS but no true fan will be celebrating if/when Portugal misses the World Cup and I think that's the point Samuel was putting across. Plus who's the one who guaranteed Santos is gone if Portugal fail? Did...

Unnecessary Chris. I have zero faith in FS but no true fan will be celebrating if/when Portugal misses the World Cup and I think that's the point Samuel was putting across. Plus who's the one who guaranteed Santos is gone if Portugal fail? Did FPF President Gomes mutter a single word after the Serbia debacle? Clearly it's Friends over welfare.

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SupremoGino
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It is quite frankly a naive notion to think anyone would be happy about Portugal missing the world cup.

It is a reflection of the reality we are now in and the stupidity of Santos and the FPF.

Since we are all pretty aware of the low...

It is quite frankly a naive notion to think anyone would be happy about Portugal missing the world cup.

It is a reflection of the reality we are now in and the stupidity of Santos and the FPF.

Since we are all pretty aware of the low likelihood of making it out of the playoffs, out of anger and frustration, we would at least find comfort in Santos' sacking after his pathetic work.

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Chris
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Well, that's a shame.

Tiago
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Good. This is what we deserve. It does suck that either Italy or Portugal will miss out on the WC though.

Will be 2 tough matches. I’ll be amazed if we get through, a large part of me thinks this will be Fernando Santos’ swan song. We will have...

Good. This is what we deserve. It does suck that either Italy or Portugal will miss out on the WC though.

Will be 2 tough matches. I’ll be amazed if we get through, a large part of me thinks this will be Fernando Santos’ swan song. We will have the benefit of playing at home, but as we all well know, that doesn’t guarantee anything.

Without any major changes to the side or system, we might even bow out against Turkey.

Getting through these two games would provide some confidence to the squad, but I think Santos’ has dug himself in a little too deep this time.

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Teresa
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Agreed. And with new Covid variants spreading like wildfire, I wouldn't be surprised if the only positive from this draw (having a home crowd) is taken from us as well. It's the Portuguese way.

George
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Hi folks , as much as I would love to see a new manager for the national team. We have to remain positive and believe that next year could be the year that our struggles qualifying will actually help us(particularly the young players) attain...

Hi folks , as much as I would love to see a new manager for the national team. We have to remain positive and believe that next year could be the year that our struggles qualifying will actually help us(particularly the young players) attain some great experience in crunch matchups. Pressure makes diamonds. I'm ready for the lectures and long winded, pessimistic responses...

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Gee Dee/NYC
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Remain positive about what? That we couldn't even draw against Serbia at home because the old dinosaur in charge of the Seleccao is utterly useless?

Do you think even if he somehow prayed his way past Turkey and Italy, we would do anything in...

Remain positive about what? That we couldn't even draw against Serbia at home because the old dinosaur in charge of the Seleccao is utterly useless?

Do you think even if he somehow prayed his way past Turkey and Italy, we would do anything in the World Cup?

FPF and Santos both RUA!!!!

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Chris
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I was positive when we got an easy group to qualify with, I was positive when we only needed only a draw against Serbia and were playing at home. My positive perspective is gone. Oh wait, Santos guaranteed, I repeat guaranteed we would...

I was positive when we got an easy group to qualify with, I was positive when we only needed only a draw against Serbia and were playing at home. My positive perspective is gone. Oh wait, Santos guaranteed, I repeat guaranteed we would be at the WC in 2022. What a buffon, Santos is. Santos had no idea who we would draw against and what Pot we would be in. Forgot that Cancelo and Renato will miss the first game. He has no idea who will be healthy come March 2022 to play. But I gave credit you Gee Dee.

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John Senos
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Great! We are officially out of the world cup,If only Santos was sacked after the euros

Greaze
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Do you guys remember the time Mourinho offered to be loaned to us from Real Madrid for a couple of qualifiers but Real refused ? Hypothetically speaking , if we had him managing and we played 3 at the back using Dalot as a false Center back then...

Do you guys remember the time Mourinho offered to be loaned to us from Real Madrid for a couple of qualifiers but Real refused ? Hypothetically speaking , if we had him managing and we played 3 at the back using Dalot as a false Center back then we would surely qualify. Mo has had crappy players at his last 3 teams
Roma , Tottenham and Man U.

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Gee Dee NYC
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Mourinho is a broken shell of a man. I admire him, but he's lost his mojo and I don't think he would be the guy to take these talented yet unmotivated players anywhere.

Young, proactive and fiery manager is what was needed but it's all...

Mourinho is a broken shell of a man. I admire him, but he's lost his mojo and I don't think he would be the guy to take these talented yet unmotivated players anywhere.

Young, proactive and fiery manager is what was needed but it's all pointless now anyways.

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Chris
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Congratulations to all the Fernando Santos backers and fans. He's really made you all proud.

Let's look at the bright side.......

Oh wait, there isn't one.

Looks like it's a steady diet of club futebol for me from now on. As always, being a...

Congratulations to all the Fernando Santos backers and fans. He's really made you all proud.

Let's look at the bright side.......

Oh wait, there isn't one.

Looks like it's a steady diet of club futebol for me from now on. As always, being a Seleccao fan is hazardous to your health as opposed to giving you something to distract you in a positive way from all of life's stresses.

And we have an Engineering genius who makes $3 million a year to thank for this. Good job Fernando, you've managed to classify you as the same low bar quality as Carlos Queiroz.

Fernando Gomes of the FPF should also step down now, as this is as much on him as it is on Eeyore the donkey.

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Chris
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Chris, basically we have to hope Portugal does NOT qualify in some miraculous way. Because if that happens, Santos will stay till the end of Qatar at least… a nightmare. And then Euro 24 is ruined as well. If you‘re somehow interested in the...

Chris, basically we have to hope Portugal does NOT qualify in some miraculous way. Because if that happens, Santos will stay till the end of Qatar at least… a nightmare. And then Euro 24 is ruined as well. If you‘re somehow interested in the future of the the seleção, there‘s only one hope: PT OUT!!

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Rolf Gerber
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Sadly, that is true. I could even see him sticking it out for his whole contract which runs until 2024.

Sad times.

Chris
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Rolf, no need to hope for a miracle, it is likely to happen that we don't qualify. We haven't had many victories over the Italians, we did get a win in Nations League qualifying, then they went on there record unbeaten streak.

Oh, I can here it...

Rolf, no need to hope for a miracle, it is likely to happen that we don't qualify. We haven't had many victories over the Italians, we did get a win in Nations League qualifying, then they went on there record unbeaten streak.

Oh, I can here it now, but they also came in second. Teams can have a hangover of over confidence, I am sure that is what happened. No way they don't give it there all, they will not let themselves be out of two world cups in a row.

Let's put this in perspective for Portugal, before the Golden Generation came of age, we only made it to 2 world cups. After they came of age, we haven't missed one, 5 straight.

Most knowledgeable soccer people would say this is the most talented and deep group of players we have ever had.

To have this much talent a nd miss the world cup would be a complete scandal and it is very likely to happen.

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Paulo
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We're going to have a possessed Ronaldo and ten scardy cats behind him. At least, Pepe will be back for the semi. I don't expect much, but Ronaldo may in fact cement his legacy further without having to actually win a WC if he carries us to Qatar.

Daniel DaSilva
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The only Portuguese person on planet earth who is excited with the draw is Cristiano. The win-crazy, goal-hungry, psycho that he is, only sees this as another opportunity to assert his greatness. He may not be at the peak of his powers, but I...

The only Portuguese person on planet earth who is excited with the draw is Cristiano. The win-crazy, goal-hungry, psycho that he is, only sees this as another opportunity to assert his greatness. He may not be at the peak of his powers, but I think he’s playing more intelligently than ever before.

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Teresa
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Teresa, let's hope that this does not happen. Nothing more toxic than Ronaldo bailing PT out with kind of a extraterrestrial performance. The scary thing is that this could really happen. But anyone who hopes Ronaldo would do that is just keen...

Teresa, let's hope that this does not happen. Nothing more toxic than Ronaldo bailing PT out with kind of a extraterrestrial performance. The scary thing is that this could really happen. But anyone who hopes Ronaldo would do that is just keen for hero stories etc. blabla. Wants to be a compatriot to be the so called GAT and is willing to sacrifice the whole team. Is not aware that this would mean Santos stays in, Ronaldo gets even bigger, the team gets even smaller. And Portugal will find themselves somewhere as a quite good football nation but with no access to the claim to be a "great" football nation. Football is a team sport and therefore I really hope for the good of Portugal as a football nation, that this has an end now.

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Rolf Gerber
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Oh I agree with you 100% percent. And if we do happen to get through I am willing to bet it’s because of CR7.

The team has lived too long in his shadow, which is semi-understandable, given he is the greatest player of all time. I wish that...

Oh I agree with you 100% percent. And if we do happen to get through I am willing to bet it’s because of CR7.

The team has lived too long in his shadow, which is semi-understandable, given he is the greatest player of all time. I wish that wasn’t the case, but that’s what it is. Cry

If I’m not mistaken, we beat Italy in the NL without him, and in the first game, we played really well. We played fluid, attacking football, much thanks to 2018 Bernardo Silva, who, looks like he’s back.

We’ve seen this too many times. Portugal scrapes by, Ronaldo to the rescue, out in R16/QF, rinse and repeat.

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Teresa
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All sadness aside, there's a legit upside to missing out. Our players will have a month to rest up while the rest of the World spends a month in Qatar during the Champions League group stages and league challenges.

Daniel DaSilva
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TOMA, thats what you get for plain incompetence and defending incompetence.

Cant wait for the deflection article!

Val
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I'm waiting for the new betting odds article on Portugal winning the World Cup. Excited to see when they hit zero.

George
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