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One last World Cup spot up for grabs in intercontinental playoffs

Haiti players celebrate during the 2022 Concacaf W Championship. (Alfredo Estrella/AFP via Getty Images)

The 2023 World Cup is just around the corner, and one spot in this summer’s tournament remain up for grabs.

New Zealand is hosting a play-in tournament to determine the final three entrants to the World Cup. Ten teams from the six FIFA confederations participated, and just two remain in the running for the final World Cup berth.

U.S. women’s national team fans had reason to pay attention to the tournament, as the USWNT’s final group-stage opponent came out of these intercontinental playoffs. By winning Group A, Portugal moves into Group E for the World Cup, where it will go up against the USWNT, the Netherlands and Vietnam.

Where are the playoffs?

World Cup co-host New Zealand also will host these playoffs, with teams competing in two of the World Cup venues.

Which teams qualified?

Teams that narrowly missed out on World Cup spots via their confederations’ qualifying tournaments join the intercontinental playoff field for one more chance at a trip to Australia and New Zealand.

  • AFC (Asia): Chinese Taipei, Thailand
  • CAF (Africa): Cameroon, Senegal
  • Concacaf (North America): Haiti, Panama
  • Conmebol (South America): Chile, Paraguay
  • OFC (Oceania): Papua New Guinea
  • UEFA (Europe): Portugal

What is the format?

  • The 10-team field was divided into two groups of three teams and one group of four teams.
    • Group A: Portugal, Cameroon, Thailand
    • Group B: Chile, Senegal, Haiti
    • Group C: Chinese Taipei, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Panama
  • The top two seeds (Portugal and Chile) received the top spots in Group 1 and Group 2, respectively, and first-round byes. Each team will face the winner of the first-round match between the two unseeded teams in the group final.
  • The third- and fourth-seeded teams (Chinese Taipei and Papua New Guinea) received the top spots in Group 3. Each faced off against an unseeded team in the first round for a spot in the group final.
  • The winners of Group 1, Group 2 and Group 3 will stamp their tickets to the 2023 World Cup.

What is the schedule?

Group A

  • First round
      • Cameroon 2, Thailand 0
  • Final round
      • Portugal 2, Cameroon 1

Group B

  • First round
      • Haiti 4, Senegal 0
  •  Final round
      • Haiti 2, Chil 1

Group C

  • First round
      • Paraguay 2, Chinese Taipei 2 (Paraguay advances 4-2 on PKs)
      • Panama 2, Papua New Guinea 0
  • Final round
      • Panama vs. Paraguay, 8 p.m. ET Wednesday

The 2023 World Cup will feature a 32-team draw and will kick off in Australia and New Zealand on July 20.