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Italy and Portugal: the last two European champions will be playing playoffs

The fate of Italy and Portugal will be decided via playoffs for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Euro trophy
Euro trophy

Italy and Portugal have fallen short of automatic qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup on the last match days of their groups. Portugal needed a draw but lost at home to Serbia. Italy needed a win against Northern Ireland but only got a draw.

Portugal won the Euro 2016 in Paris after defeating host country France while Italy won the Euro 2020 in July after defeating England on penalties at Wembley. Both defeated their victims in their own backyard.

Both countries have also made progress at the UEFA Nations League after their triumphs. Italy made it to the semifinals of the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League while Portugal won the 2018/19 UEFA Nations League but the current outing of the two teams at the World Cup qualifiers have been disappointing.

The two countries can still qualify as they will be competing against 10 other countries in the playoffs of which only three countries could go through, considering their squad and recent success, the two are favourites to eventually make it to Qatar.

Elijah Odetokun

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