Wales may not know World Cup fate until September as Ukraine matches could be postponed further
Wales may not know their World Cup fate until just before the tournament begins as Ukraine’s matches could be pushed back to September.
If they beat Austria tonight, Wales will face the winners of Scotland v Ukraine. But due to the Russian invasion, it remains unclear when that match could be played.
Steve Clarke, the Scotland manager, told the Times newspaper that despite being scheduled for June he suspects that the World Cup play-off tie against Ukraine will be postponed again and may even be pushed back to the next international window after that, in September.
He said that Scotland would be flexible to take into account what was best for Ukraine, after the month-long Russian invasion showed no signs of an end.
The World Cup is scheduled to take place in Qatar between 21 November and 18 December this year.
Steve Clarke said it was a “horrible situation” and the fixture could not go ahead until the “war was stopped”.
“Obviously, it’s not looking great at this moment,” Steve told the Times. “If you’re asking me now, will the game go ahead in June, then it’s going to be difficult. It’s a situation we can’t control so I’ll focus on these two friendlies and make sure we get something out of the games in this camp. Then, maybe in April, we can all sit down together, look at the schedule and how it’s going to pan out for us.
“We have to be guided by Fifa, Uefa and most importantly by Ukraine themselves. If you look at it and you’re honest about the situation now then, yes, it’s difficult to see how we’ll be playing them in June.
“And it’s not just about the fixture, it’s the fact that they need to get together, have a training camp and get all their players on the pitch with a proper period of time to prepare for such an important game.”
In the meantime Wales will play an international challenge match on Tuesday, 29 March (KO 7.45pm) at Cardiff City Stadium to raise funds for the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.
Their opponent for the match will be determined depending on the outcome of the World Cup play-off semi-final with Austria tonight.
Should Wales win against Austria, they will play the losing team from the Path B semi-final between Sweden and Czech Republic. If Wales fail to win against Austria, Tuesday’s opponents in Cardiff will be Scotland.
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