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Women's World Cup play-offs: Scotland-Austria, Wales-Bosnia & Herzegovina, Portugal-Belgium in round 1

The two-round play-offs on 6 and 11 October will decide two finals spots and one berth in the intercontinental play-offs.

Wales, like round 1 opponents Bosnia and Herzegovina, have got as far as a play-off for the first time in major tournament qualifying
Wales, like round 1 opponents Bosnia and Herzegovina, have got as far as a play-off for the first time in major tournament qualifying Getty Images

The European play-offs for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup will be played on 6 and 11 October, with six teams beginning in round 1 and three more waiting in round 2 to face the winners of the first ties.

Play-off bracket

Round 1 (Thursday 6 October)

Portugal vs Belgium (18:00 CET)
Wales vs Bosnia and Herzegovina (20:15 CET)
Scotland vs Austria (20:35 CET)

Round 2 (Tuesday 11 October)

Portugal / Belgium vs Iceland (KO TBC)
Scotland / Austria vs Republic of Ireland (KO TBC)
Switzerland vs Wales / Bosnia and Herzegovina (19:00 CET)

All play-offs level after 90 minutes will go to extra time, and if necessary a penalty shoot-out.

Who qualifies directly?

The two play-off winners with the highest rankings – based on results in the qualifying group stage (against the sides ranked first, third, fourth and fifth in their section) and the round 2 play-offs – will qualify for the finals in Australia and New Zealand from 20 July to 20 August. The remaining play-off winner will compete in the inter-confederation play-offs in New Zealand from 17 to 23 February.

Round 1: Thursday 6 October

Portugal vs Belgium (18:00 CET)

  • Both teams are aiming for World Cup debuts.
  • Belgium reached the Women's EURO 2022 quarter-finals; Portugal went out in the group stage.
  • Belgium are unbeaten in six game against Portugal, who last beat the Red Flames in 1998.
  • The winners will be at home to Iceland (who have also never previously made the World Cup).

Wales vs Bosnia and Herzegovina (20:15 CET)

  • Both teams are in their first play-off for a final tournament.
  • These sides were in the same 2019 World Cup qualifying group, Wales winning 1-0 home and away.
  • The winners will be away to Switzerland (who featured at the 2015 World Cup).

Scotland vs Austria (20:35 CET)

  • Scotland qualified for the 2019 World Cup, exiting in the group stage.
  • Austria reached the Women's EURO 2022 quarter-finals, after making the last four in 2017, but have never qualified for the World Cup.
  • Austria have only been in one previous play-off, losing 3-1 on aggregate to Russia in qualifying for Women's EURO 2013. Scotland lost to the Netherlands in a 2015 World Cup play-off and also lost two-legged ties to reach EURO 2009 and 2013.
  • The winners will be at home to the Republic of Ireland (who are hoping to reach a debut major tournament).

How the play-off winner ranking is decided

To determine the ranking of the play-off winners, the results of the round 2 play-offs (three points are awarded for a win, one for a draw, and none for a defeat) are added to the results of the group stage matches used to determine the ranking of the group runners-up (see Paragraph 14.04 of the official regulations). The following criteria are applied in the order given:

1: Higher number of points

2: Superior goal difference

3: Higher number of goals scored

4: Higher number of away goals scored

5: Higher number of wins

6: Higher number of away wins

7: Lower disciplinary points total based only on yellow and red cards received by players and team officials (red card = 3 points, yellow card = 1 point, expulsion for two yellow cards in one match = 3 points)

8: Higher position in the UEFA women's national team coefficient rankings used for the group stage draw (see Annex B.1.2 of the official regulations)

Ranking after group stage

Inter-confederation play-offs

A ten-team tournament will be held in New Zealand from 17 to 23 February to decide the last three finalists, with UEFA represented by the third-best play-off winners.

Continental allocation/Contenders
AFC: 2 (Chinese Taipei, Thailand)
CAF: 2 (Cameroon, Senegal)
CONCACAF: 2 (Haiti, Panama)
CONMEBOL: 2 (Chile, Paraguay)
OFC: 1 (Papua New Guinea)

The teams will be split into three groups: two of three teams and one of four, with seeding decided by FIFA ranking. All three groups will be played as separate knockout competitions, with the winner of each qualifying for the World Cup finals. In the two three-team groups, the seeded team will go straight to the final (after playing a friendly against New Zealand or a guest nation) and meet the winners of the semi-final between the other two sides in their group.

Who has qualified for the World Cup so far?

Hosts: 2 (Australia, New Zealand)
AFC: 5 (China, Japan, Philippines*, South Korea, Vietnam*)
CAF: 4 (Morocco*, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia*)
CONCACAF: 4 (Canada, Costa Rica, Jamaica, United States)
CONMEBOL: 3 (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia)
UEFA: 11 (Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, 2 play-off winners TBC)
Inter-confederation play-offs: 3 TBC