Scotland v Ukraine World Cup play-off: When will it be played? Can Ukraine field a team?

The World Cup play-off semi-final between Scotland and Ukraine will not take place this month as scheduled, with the match postponed until later in the year by Fifa.

Tuesday, 8th March 2022, 1:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th March 2022, 1:22 pm

It comes after the Ukrainian FA submitted a request for the match to be postponed following the Russian invasion that has prompted the suspension of their domestic league. The majority of the international squad play in Ukraine, with more than 15 domestic players named in their latest squad.

So what next for Scotland's bid to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar? Here are some potential scenarios facing Steve Clarke's side ...

When will Scotland v Ukraine be played?

Scotland's World Cup play-off against Ukraine has been delayed until June. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

Fifa have told the SFA that the fixture will take place in June. The most likely date is Saturday, June 4, according to reports, with the play-off final, against either Wales or Austria, pencilled in for Tuesday, June 7.

As it stands, Scotland are down to play Nations League fixtures on those dates, with Armenia due to visit Hampden on June 4 and Ukraine, ironically, the scheduled opponents in Glasgow on June 7, so these fixtures will also need to be rescheduled to a later date in order to accommodate the rearranged World Cup play-offs.

Will Ukraine be able to field a team in June?

Simple answer, we don't know. At this stage there are no guarantees over how long the war in Ukraine will last, but Fifa and Uefa are giving the fixture every chance of going ahead by agreeing to delay it for two-and-a-half months. If Ukraine are still in a state of war when June comes around, and unable to fulfil the rearranged fixture, then Fifa could choose to either replace them with the next best placed side in qualification, Finland, or simply award Scotland a bye into the play-off final. The alternative would be to look to postpone again to a later date, but with a short window between June and the World Cup starting in Qatar in mid-November, and no certainty over when the conflict will end, that may prove too difficult.

When is the draw for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar?

The draw for the group stages of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar takes place in Doha on April 1 . This means Scotland will be included as one of several unconfirmed nations and will find out who they could potentially face at the tournament ahead of their play-off matches taking place. The World Cup draw will be missing three confirmed teams in total with the two winners of the inter-confederation play-offs involving teams from AFC, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, and OFC also scheduled for June.

When is the 2022 World Cup in Qatar? What is the format?

The tournament takes place from November 21 to December 18 and will feature 26 teams split into eight groups of four. The top two from each group will qualify for the last 16 knock-out phase. The opening match will feature the hosts Qatar and will be played on November 21, at the Al Bayt Stadium. The World Cup final will take place on December 18 at Qatar’s Lusail Iconic Stadium. In a move away from tradition, the World Cup 2022 is being held in winter, rather than the summer months, to relieve players and fans alike of Qatar’s swelteringly hot summers.