After the last two draws, the Azzurri are virtually behind Switzerland (if the Swiss win the two games they have less), but Mancini & Co remain masters of their own destiny. Here are the rankings, the rules for qualifying for the World Cup and the next commitments
ITALY, EQUAL WITH SWITZERLAND – BUT IT IS UNBEATABLE RECORD
Italy is virtually second in the World Cup qualifying round, but fate is still in the hands of the European champions. In the first two games after the Wembley triumph, Mancini’s team brakes with two draws: the 1-1 against Bulgaria and the 0-0 against Switzerland complicate the plans. But winning all of them will be first place. First of all it is good to remember the current ranking of the group.
Group C, the ranking
- ITALY 11 points (5 games)
- Switzerland 7 pt. (3 games)
- Bulgaria 5 pt. (5 games)
- Northern Ireland 4 pt. (3 games)
- Lithuania 0 pt. (4 games)
The next commitments: when Switzerland will be level with the matches
The ranking is clear: if Switzerland wins the two games they have less than Italy they would be ahead of the Azzurri. But when will the two national teams be level again? First of all, on Wednesday 8 September the last two races of the current stop are scheduled: Italy-Lithuania and Northern Ireland-Switzerland. It will therefore be in the break of October – where Italy will not take the field in the qualifiers but will play the final stages of the Nations League – that Switzerland will recover the two matches less than the Azzurri. The Swiss will first challenge Northern Ireland at home and then Lithuania away (9 and 12 October): here Italy and Switzerland will therefore be equal in terms of games played.
The decisive return against Switzerland
Chiellini also said it right after the draw with Switzerland: “First we have to think about Lithuania”. And it is true. But if the Azzurri win that match, and Switzerland triumphs in all their matches, the Swiss national team would be first in the standings at +2 over Mancini & Co with the same number of matches played. This is why the match scheduled for November 12, in the last national break for the groups, would become a real play-off: Italy against Switzerland at the Olimpico in Rome.. If Italy wins the direct match they would return to first place one day from the end (November 15: Northern Ireland-Italy and Switzerland-Bulgaria).
- Wednesday 8 September: ITALY-Lithuania
- Wednesday 8 September: Northern Ireland v Switzerland
- Saturday 9 October: Switzerland v Northern Ireland
- Tuesday 12 October: Lithuania-Switzerland
- ITALY engaged in the final stages of the Nations League
- Friday 12 November: ITALY-Swiss
- Monday 15 November: Northern Ireland-ITALY (last day)
- Monday 15 November: Switzerland-Bulgaria (last day)
How do you qualify for the 2022 World Cup? Only the former go to Qatar
Remember: only the first will qualify directly for Qatar 2020, while the play-offs will take place for the second ones. More precisely: they access Qatar 2022 directly the first classified of each of the 10 groups, ma in total they are 13 places available in the European qualifiers for the World Cup. The last three qualified will in fact come from playoff which will involve the runners-up of each group and the two best winners of the Nations League groups left out of the qualifiers. They will therefore be 12 national teams admitted to the play-offs. These 12 teams will be drawn into three distinct play-off routes, with a single-game semi-final and a final. The three winners of the play-off paths will go to the World Cup.