October 26 – The eagerly anticipated 12-team European playoffs to decide who joins the 10 qualifying group winners at the World Cup in Qatar will be made on November 26.
The playoff draw at FIFA headquarters will comprise the runners-up in the 10 European groups plus two group winners form the UEFA Nations League.
The 12 countries will be drawn into three four-team brackets and play March 24-29 next year. Seeded teams get a home game in the bracket semi-finals.
The path to Qatar through Nations League results is open to teams who place third or worse in their World Cup qualifying group. Those could be Austria, the Czech Republic, or Wales. A separate draw will decide which teams host the three playoff finals.
Norway’s hopes of reaching the finals have taken a serious hit with the news that Erling Haaland, the much admired young superstar of European football, could be out till January with injury. Haaland, 21, has 13 goals in 10 appearances for Borussia Dortmund so far this season.
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