Russia won’t be at this year’s FIFA World Cup tournament in Qatar after world football’s governing body, FIFA confirmed that they have been thrown out of the playoffs for the tournament in the European section.
The Russians were on course to qualify for the World Cup 2022 tournament on Qatari soil via the playoffs. They had secured their place in the World Cup 2022 playoffs on the European scene after narrowly finishing second to Croatia in Group H. Russia finished one point behind Croatia at the end of their respective Group H campaigns. Group H leaders Croatia finished with 23 points from ten games, while runners-up Russia recorded 22 points from ten games.
Russia were drawn in path B when the draw for the World Cup 2022 playoffs in the UEFA region was held alongside Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic. Russia were drawn against Poland in the first semi-final tie in path B, with the winner facing the winner of the second semi-final tie between Sweden and the Czech Republic.
Poland and Sweden protested to FIFA last month on the back of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as they both insisted that they won’t play Russia in the World Cup 2022 qualifying play-offs. The two countries took the stance in protest to the invasion of Ukraine orchestrated by Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia. In the end, FIFA accepted the stance as Russia were disqualified from the play-offs. The Russians have since taken the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). If the expulsion of Russia is upheld, Poland will face the winner of the Sweden vs. Czech Republic tie for a place in Qatar 2022.
In path A of the play-offs in the European section, the winner of the Scotland vs. Ukraine tie will face the winner of the Wales vs. Austria tie for a place in Qatar 2022. For path C, the winner of the Italy vs. North Macedonia tie will face the winner of the Portugal vs. Turkey tie for a place in Qatar 2022.