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Portugal vs North Macedonia: World Cup play-off final preview, kick-off time, predicted line-ups

When is it? How can you watch it? What are the possible line-ups? All you need to know about the FIFA World Cup Path C play-off final between Portugal and North Macedonia. Will Cristiano Ronaldo lead his side to Qatar or will Italy's conquerors spring another shock?

Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal are bidding to reach the 2022 World Cup
Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal are bidding to reach the 2022 World Cup AFP via Getty Images

Portugal and North Macedonia meet in the FIFA World Cup Path C play-off final on Tuesday 29 March.

The winner will book one of three remaining places at the 2022 tournament in Qatar, with the World Cup draw due to take place on Friday 1 April.

Portugal vs North Macedonia at a glance

When: Tuesday 29 March (20:45 CET)
Where: Estádio do Dragão, Porto
What: Path C play-off final
How to follow: Build-up and live coverage will appear here

Where to watch Portugal vs North Macedonia on TV

Fans can find their local broadcast partner(s) here.

How did the teams get here?

Highlights: Portugal 3-1 Turkey
Highlights: Portugal 3-1 Turkey

Serbia denied Portugal top spot in Group A with a last-day 2-1 win in Lisbon. Fernando Santos's side then beat Turkey 3-1 in the play-offs. North Macedonia edged out Romania to finish second behind Germany in Group J. They beat the Germans 2-1 in Duisburg in qualifying then pulled off an even bigger shock by eliminating Italy in the play-off semis.

Possible line-ups

Portugal: Diogo Costa; João Cancelo, Pepe, Fonte, Guerreiro; Danilo, Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, Otávio; Ronaldo, Jota

North Macedonia: Dimitrievski; S. Ristovski, Velkovski, Musliu, Alioski; Churlinov, Ademi, Bardi, Elmas; M. Ristovski, Trajkovski

Expert predictions

Carlos Machado, Portugal reporter
Portugal are favourites again, but will be mindful of how they rode their luck against Turkey as they face another side who will line up to defend. The returns of João Cancelo and Pepe should ease Fernando Santos's defensive concerns, and with Bernardo Silva in a free role, and Cristiano Ronaldo and Diogo Jota as menacing as ever, Portugal know how to dominate games.

Highlights: Italy 0-1 North Macedonia
Highlights: Italy 0-1 North Macedonia

Igor Panevski, North Macedonia reporter
The North Macedonia fairytale continues; after making it to UEFA EURO 2020, the team have a historic opportunity to get to the World Cup following a sensational victory in Palermo. They have never met Portugal competitively, but North Macedonia drew 0-0 with their hosts in a 2012 friendly in Leiria and know how to frustrate big sides. Blagoja Milevski's side beat Germany away in qualifying so why not Portugal too?

World Cup pedigree

Portugal
Final tournaments: 7 (1966, 1986, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018)
Best: third place (1966)

North Macedonia
Final tournaments: none
Best: N/A

What the coaches say

Great Ronaldo Portugal goals
Great Ronaldo Portugal goals

Fernando Santos, Portugal coach: "Everyone knew what was going to happen except the North Macedonian people. This is a final and finals are very difficult. I have been involved in plenty of them so I know what I'm talking about. In the end, these are games are there to be won. We'll approach the game with the same respect as we showed Turkey."

Blagoja Milevski, North Macedonia coach: "We won against one of the best teams in the world [Italy]. We won't stop here; we have one last step to get to the World Cup. We are well on our way to confirming why we are among the top 20 teams in Europe."