Only one side between Cristiano’s Portugal and Euro 2020 winners Italy will go to the Qatar World Cup 2022.
Italy and Portugal, the current and previous European champions, were drawn into the same qualifying playoff bracket Friday, meaning at least one will fail to qualify for next year’s tournament.
Portugal will face Turkey while Italy will take on North Macedonia in their semi-final playoff matchups, with the winners of those games set to collide in the Path C finale.
The winner of that finale will go to Qatar, with the loser missing out on the World Cup.
“It’s not a great draw and it could have gone better,” Italy coach Roberto Mancini acknowledged. “Just like we wanted to avoid Portugal, they would have wanted to avoid Italy.”
“It’s not worth thinking about (Italy),” Portugal coach Fernando Santos said. “It’s important that we concentrate on beating Turkey.”
Also in the 12-team draw, Scotland will face Ukraine at home, and the winner will play at Wales or Austria in the final of their bracket.
Russia will host Poland for the right to face Sweden or the Czech Republic in their bracket final. Russia or Poland will host the final.