A comprehensive guidelines for the World Cup Inter-Confederation PlayoffsIn just three matchdays in June, five nations will contest the last two spots in the World Cup in Qatar as either of Australia, UAE, Peru, Costa Rica, and New Zealand will get that ticket by way of the inter-confederation playoffs.
Originally scheduled for March, the fixtures were moved according to adjusted schedules caused by the pandemic, meaning that the winners would only have five months to prepare for the finals which will kick off in November.
What we need to know?
The playoffs that we know before 2022 composed of a pair of two-legged ties in which the away goals rule is being used, even up to extra time.
Now, the playoffs will be held in just one venue, the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan which. Also, for the first time, all the ties will be decided by a single, knockout match. That means the matches can go beyond the 90 minutes, with penalties looming if the scores are level after 120 minutes.
In other words, these games are not for the faint-hearted.
Path 1: Australia/UAE v Peru – June 7 and June 13
A stepladder awaits in the first playoff bracket, wherein the fourth and final round of the Asian qualifiers will be played first and will be contested between the two third placers in the Third Round. The winner here will face the fifth-place team in the CONMEBOL qualifiers, which was the toughest in every World Cup cycle.
It will be the seventh time that both Australia and UAE will face off, their fifth straight competitive match with the former winning three straight before the latter snapped it in the 2019 Asian Cup quarterfinal at home.
Experience is the Socceroos’ main weapon, as they qualified by this way in two of their past four World Cups (2006 and 2018). Should they get past the Arab side, revenge will be on their minds against the South American side that defeated them 2-0 in Russia four years ago in Group C.
However, the hunger factor will go to the Emiratis’ way, as they seek to end a long drought for their first World Cup since debuting for the only time in Italia 90. If they manage to win against the Aussies, it will be just their second meeting with the Incas, as they played to a goalless draw in the 2005 Kirin Cup in Japan.
Path 2: Costa Rica v New Zealand – June 14
Not much has been said but this will be the last significant match in this cycle (the rescheduled Brazil-Argentina match is just to formally end the CONMEBOL qualifiers), with this being just their second meeting between the two sides after their 2007 friendly which was won by the Ticos. Alvaro Saborio bagged a brace in a 4-0 rout.
However, this tie had multiple stories related to the number three, with Keylor Navas and co. hoping to extend their international careers with a third straight World Cup. On the other hand, the All Whites are looking to avoid a third successive qualifying failure since last making it in 2010, with their two previous cycles end in the final playoff hurdle, against respective Latin American opposition.