Normally the international break can be pretty dull. But this break bucked that trend, because this was the final break of UEFA World Cup qualifying.
Of course there will be play-offs to come in 2022, but November represented the final group stage matches.
We now know for certain which 10 group winners will line-up in the finals in Qatar next winter.
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A quick reminder on how teams are sorted as this is a FIFA event not UEFA. If teams are level on points it comes down to goal difference, then goals scored and then head-to-head.
So what's the situation? Let’s run through it group by group.

GROUP A

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Serbia have grabbed the automatic qualifying spot with their dramatic late win in Lisbon, leapfrogging their opponents and stealing a World Cup place from beneath them. Portugal settle for the play-offs but at least they'll be seeded in the semi-finals and at home.

GROUP B

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Spain won their do-or-die clash with Sweden thanks to Alvaro Morata's late goal that handed them a 1-0 win. Sweden, who threw away their advantage with a loss to Georgia last week, are consigned to the play-offs. But history looks favourably upon them as they beat Italy at this stage to make the 2018 Russia World Cup.

GROUP C

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What have you done, Italy? The Euro 2020 champions blew top spot on the final day after drawing in Northern Ireland, with Switzerland's 4-0 win in Bulgaria propelling them straight to Qatar. A bit harsh on the unbeaten Italians, who will at least be seeded in the play-offs.

GROUP D

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Job done. The defending champions are back again, it wasn't always pretty but they've done it. Now they can try and work out the kinks over the next year or so. Absolute heartbreak for Finland who miss out on a play-off spot to a very exciting Ukraine team right at the death.

GROUP E

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It's play-off time for Wales as they hold off a resurgent Czech Republic with a draw against table-toppers Belgium.

GROUP F

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Denmark's perfect record was ended at the final hurdle by Scotland, whose win ensured they will be seeded for the play-offs.

GROUP G

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A fairly uninspiring performance from an Erling Haaland-less Norway sees them miss out. The Netherlands' late surge puts them into the finals automatically while everyone's favourite dark horse Turkey sneak into the play-offs.

GROUP H

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Croatia leapfrogged Russia with a last-gasp own goal in the crunch tie against their rivals and qualify automatically! Russia will play their play-off semi-final at home.

GROUP I

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England confirmed their spot in Qatar with their 10-goal demolition of San Marino, with Poland heading into the play-offs despite a 2-1 defeat at Hungary in their final game.

GROUP J

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Germany take the automatic spot as they coasted to first place with 27 points from a possible 30, winning their final match against Armenia 4-1. North Macedonia make the play-offs and will play that match away from home.

Nations League wild cards

Don’t think we’re done yet. You may or may not remember that two teams from the Nations League are also given a spot in the play-offs to take the play-off number up to 12 from an initial 10 second-placed teams.
The allocation goes to the best two Nations League group winners (i.e. those in the highest leagues) who haven’t finished in the top two of their World Cup qualification group. For reference here, in order, are the 14 group winners.
France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Wales, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Montenegro, Albania, Armenia, Gibraltar, Faroe Islands.
The first five are all group winners or secured second place, so it means that Austria and Czech Republic are set to become the 11th and 12th teams in the play-offs.

Play-off teams and format

Seeded teams in bold
  • Portugal
  • Scotland
  • Italy
  • Russia
  • Sweden
  • Wales
  • Turkey
  • Poland
  • North Macedonia
  • Ukraine
  • Austria
  • Czech Republic
So then, the play-off format.
The six best ranked teams (based on points accrued in the World Cup qualifying groups) will be seeded for a semi-final draw, meaning a home tie in the single-legged fixture. The six semi-finals will be split into three sets with each set going to a final and then producing a winner who makes it to the World Cup. The six seeded teams are Portugal, Scotland, Italy, Russia, Sweden and Wales. The unseeded teams are Turkey, Poland, North Macedonia and Ukraine, as well as Austria and Czech Republic via the Nations League path. Three of those 12 will get to the World Cup in Qatar.
Semi-finals will be held on March 24, with the finals on March 29.
To add some spice, the final will also be held over one leg, with the home team determined by a random draw. To remove some spice, Russia and Ukraine can not be paired together.
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