All eyes on Portugal and Italy as FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers return for final rounds - watch live in India
The final rounds of the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers will commence from Thursday, March 24.
The first set of matches will be played in the AFC confederation, where Australia, Japan and Saudi Arabia will battle for the final two spots to join South Korea and Iran at the main event in November 2022.
The final two rounds of the AFC round qualifiers are scheduled for March 24 and March 29.
In Africa, the 10 group winners from the second round of the CAF qualifiers will cross swords in the third round. The first leg games will be played on March 25, while the second legs will be held on March 29.
The five winners from each fixture will directly qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
In Europe, Portugal and Italy will be under the spotlight as both teams chase a spot in the World Cup finals. The European giants are drawn together in playoff Path C, where wins in their respective fixtures against Turkey and North Macedonia will pit Cristiano Ronaldo’s men against Giorgio Chiellini’s Azzurri.
Robert Lewandowski’s Poland will meet the winner of the Path B semi-final between Sweden and Czech Republic. The Polish, who were to face Russia in the first semi-final, were given a bye following Russia’s indefinite suspension from all football activities by FIFA.
The Path A playoffs will resume in June with the winner of the Wales and Austria semi-final fixture set to meet the winner from Scotland’s clash against Ukraine.
Meanwhile, USA, Mexico and Canada will look to seal the three direct places from the CONCACAF confederation in the final round of qualifiers, starting March 24.
USA take on Mexico in one of the biggest games of the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers, while Canada, who have 25 points from 11 games, face Costa Rica in the first of their final three games in the qualifying schedule.
Elsewhere, Ecuador are well-placed to register a third-place finish in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers as they have tallied 25 points from 16 games. With 22 and 21 points respectively, Uruguay and Peru will go toe-to-toe to secure the final direct qualification berth from the South American confederation.
Furthermore, the Oceania FIFA World Cup 2022 playoff winners will also play the third-placed team from the third round of the CONCACAF qualifiers in the inter-confederation playoffs.
The other fixture in the inter-confederation playoffs will pit the fourth round (playoff) winner from AFC confederation against the fifth-best team in the CONMEBOL qualifiers.
FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers schedule, fixtures and India match times
Thursday, March 24
Australia vs Japan - 2:40 PM IST
South Korea vs Iran - 4:30 PM IST
Lebanon vs Syria - 5:30 PM IST
Vietnam vs Oman - 5:30 PM IST
China PR vs Saudi Arabia - 8:30 PM IST
Iraq vs UAE - 10:30 PM IST
Solomon Islands vs Tahiti - 7:30 PM IST
Fiji vs Papua New Guinea - 10:30 PM IST
New Zealand vs New Caledonia - 10:30 PM IST
Friday, March 25
Italy vs North Macedonia - 1:15 AM IST
Portugal vs Turkey - 1:15 AM IST
Sweden vs Czech Republic - 1:15 AM IST
Wales vs Austria - 1:15 AM IST
Brazil vs Chile - 5 AM IST
Colombia vs Bolivia - 5 AM IST
Paraguay vs Ecuador - 5 AM IST
Uruguay vs Peru - 5 AM IST
Jamaica vs El Salvador - 4:35 AM IST
Panama vs Honduras - 6:35 AM IST
Mexico vs USA - 7:30 AM IST
Costa Rica vs Canada - 7:35 AM IST
DR Congo vs Morocco - 8:30 PM IST
Cameroon vs Algeria - 10:30 PM IST
Mali vs Tunisia - 10:30 PM IST
Saturday, March 26
Egypt vs Senegal - 1 AM IST
Ghana vs Nigeria - 1 AM IST
Argentina vs Venezuela - 5 AM IST
Monday, March 28
Canada vs Jamaica - 1:35 AM IST
El Salvador vs Costa Rica - 2:35 AM IST
USA vs Panama - 4:30 AM IST
Honduras vs Mexico - 4:35 AM IST
Tuesday, March 29
Japan vs Vietnam - 4:05 PM IST
Iran vs Lebanon - 5 PM IST
UAE vs South Korea - 7:15 PM IST
Oman vs China PR - 9:30 PM IST
Syria vs Iraq - 9:30 PM IST
Saudi Arabia vs Australia - 11:30 PM IST
Nigeria vs Ghana - 10:30 PM IST
Senegal vs Egypt - 10:30 PM IST
Wednesday, March 30
Poland vs Sweden/Czech Republic - 12:15 AM IST
Portugal/Turkey vs Italy/North Macedonia - 12:15 AM IST
Algeria vs Cameroon - 1 AM IST
Morocco vs DR Congo - 1 AM IST
Tunisia vs Mali - 1 AM IST
Bolivia vs Brazil - 5 AM IST
Chile vs Uruguay - 5 AM IST
Ecuador vs Argentina - 5 AM IST
Peru vs Paraguay - 5 AM IST
Venezuela vs Colombia - 5 AM IST
Thursday, March 31
Costa Rica vs USA - 6:35 AM IST
Jamaica vs Honduras - 6:35 AM IST
Mexico vs El Salvador - 6:35 AM IST
Panama vs Canada - 6:35 AM IST
Where to watch the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers live in India?
The FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers will be telecast live across the Sony Sports Network’s SD and HD TV channels in India.
Live streaming for the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers will be available on the SonyLIV app and website.
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Featured photo: AFP / MARCO BERTORELLO