MATCHDAY: Scotland-Ukraine WC playoff; Finalissima in London
A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Wednesday:
WORLD CUP PLAYOFF
Scotland hosts Ukraine in Glasgow for the right to play Wales on Sunday for a place at this year’s World Cup in Qatar. The game was postponed by FIFA in March because Ukraine could not field a team one month after its country was invaded by Russia. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy gave his blessing for Ukraine’s players and coach Oleksandr Petrakov to leave their homeland to prepare for and play the game at Hampden Park.
Italy and Argentina will meet at Wembley Stadium in London for a match between the most recent winners of the European Championship and Copa America. It is the first of three inter-continental championships that UEFA and CONMEBOL — the soccer bodies of Europe and South America, respectively — have agreed to stage. It will be the third time the champions of the world’s two most powerful soccer confederations face off in official competition. On the other two occasions, France beat Uruguay in 1985 and Argentina beat Denmark in 1993.
Wales visits Poland just four days before a much bigger match — against either Scotland or Ukraine in a World Cup playoff. For that reason, Wales coach Robert Page is unlikely to risk his main players and jeopardize the team’s chances of qualifying for its first World Cup since 1958.
The promotion playoffs begin in Spain with the first leg of the Canary Islands derby between Tenerife and Las Palmas. The return match at Las Palmas will be on Saturday, with the winner advancing to face either Girona or Eibar for the final spot in the first division next season. Girona hosts Eibar in their first leg on Thursday, with the return game on Sunday. Eibar finished in third place, just missing out on the two automatic promotion places that went to Almería and Ronaldo-owned Valladolid.
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