Scotland, Portugal get home path in Women’s WCup playoffs

NYON, Switzerland (AP) — Scotland and Portugal were handed the advantage of playing at home throughout the European qualifying playoffs for next year’s Women’s World Cup.

Friday’s draw for the nine-team playoffs saw Scotland paired against Austria, a European Championship quarterfinalist two months ago, with the winner advancing to host Ireland.

Portugal welcomes Belgium, also a Euro 2022 quarterfinalist, and the winner gets to host Iceland five days later

Wales was drawn at home to Bosnia-Herzegovina and the winner travels to face Switzerland five days later. All games are played from Oct. 6 to 11.

Two teams will advance directly to the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and one more to the intercontinental playoffs in February.

World Cup places are awarded to the two playoff winners with the best overall record in qualifying. The other playoff winner enters the intercontinental playoffs where 10 teams compete for the final three places in the newly expanded 32-nation lineup.

Nine European teams already earned their place at the July 20-Aug. 20 tournament by winning their qualifying group. They are: Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden.

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