FIFA have carried out the World Cup Playoffs draw in order to hand out the last three tickets for Qatar corresponding to Europe. If both the semifinals and finals were already difficult due to the high level of the teams that did not make it direct, the luck has determined that one of the main candidates for the title —or even both—will not be in the next year’s edition.

Portugal and Italy have been paired up in the path C. That is to say, the last European champions are in a extreme situation. In fact, the definitive duel would take place in a virtual final; however, Portugal will first have to beat Turkey and so Italy North Macedonia.

These are not at all easy challenges, even more taking into account that these are single game rounds. However, the two favorites will play at home in the first round and Portugal would do so in the supposed final. This is a key factor.

This is why we have constantly reiterated in our Twitch channel the value that had for the Spanish National Team to avoid the Playoffs. For a team that is capable of the best and the worst, the European Playoffs seemed to be the worst possible scenario. Just as the rest of the people in Spain, coach Luis Enrique must have followed the draw very quiet. Seeing the outcome, now he can truly say that he has got this concern off his chest.

Spain have won with excessive suffering 12 months of preparation; meanwhile, Portugal or Italy have put themselves into a huge mess for not getting their job done. Therefore, the disappointment and the consequences will be massive for whoever gets knocked out: we could miss out on the possible last World Cup for Cristiano Ronaldo or, on the other side, to continue the agony for Italy on intercontinental tournaments. We must remind you that it would mean for them to not participate in a World Cup for eight years.

We have come from a tremendous competitive EURO and the potential from the “average” national teams keeps growing each season. The Playoffs is a pool full of sharks that the main candidates can’t afford.

Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.

Main image: Twitter @Cristiano.

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