Two more spots at the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar will be confirmed on Tuesday evening when the European play-offs continue on what is sure to be a dramatic night of football with the prize on offer being so huge.
We were due to have the big Portugal vs Italy showdown for a spot at the finals on the schedule on Tuesday but nobody handed that script to North Macedonia and instead it is them who will meet the former European champions.
Portugal vs North Macedonia
The key match of the night comes from Porto where Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portugal team host the surprise package to make it this far in the form of North Macedonia, who caused a huge shock when they took care of Italy on Thursday evening and who will be out to repeat that here.
Portugal would be seen as one of the favourites to win the World Cup if they get there but after fading in their final group match to Serbia they have had to go the scenic route to make it to the finals. To be fair to Portugal they held their nerve to overcome Turkey on Thursday night and will be looking for a repeat of that here. North Macedonia held to the tails of Italy on Thursday night and then shocked them in injury time and I would imagine they will look to keep things tight and pounce if they get a chance at the other end. Usually though teams who cause major shocks get found out in the next game when their opponent takes them a lot more seriously. I suspect that will be the case here but the odds on Portugal don’t exactly inspire a punt.
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Poland vs Sweden
Potentially the more competitive match of the evening comes in Chorzow where Poland look to make it to the finals once again when they host a Sweden side who certainly don’t lack for talent in their quest to reach the World Cup.
Sweden had to hold their nerve to overcome the Czech Republic on Thursday evening but were good enough to come through in extra time and that should stand them in good stead here. Poland were the beneficiaries of Russia getting booted out of the competition and are now one knockout victory away from qualifying for the tournament but they are missing some key players in Arkadiusz Milik and Mateusz Klich whereas Sweden will get the experience of Zlatan Ibrahimovic back in their ranks for this match. I don’t see there being a lot between these two but it is notable that Sweden have won the last eight meetings including at the Euros last summer. That suggests they match up well to Poland and as I mentioned the other night I like the attacking options they have developed at their disposal. I think that Sweden have it in them to keep things tight, pinch something at the other end and be the ones to book their place at the finals.
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