Italy and Portugal Drawn in Same Group for World Cup Playoff

The draw for Europe’s final three qualifying places ensured that either Italy, the European champion, or Portugal, with Cristiano Ronaldo, would miss the finals in Qatar.

Italy and Portugal were drawn into the same World Cup qualifying bracket on Friday, ensuring that either the reigning European champion (Italy) or one of soccer’s biggest stars (Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo) will be absent from next year’s tournament in Qatar.

Italy will face North Macedonia at home in a semifinal in March, and the winner will travel to play the winner of the bracket’s other semifinal — either Portugal or Turkey — for one of the last three European places in the World Cup. The

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