Roundup of the UEFA Qualifying Play-Offs for 2023 FIFA World Cup as teams battled for three final European qualification spots.
In a change from the men’s qualification format, those who qualified for UEFA Qualifying Play-Offs for the Women’s World Cup were ranked based on their group performances – minus sixth placed teams in six team groups – with the top three automatically qualifying for the Second Round.
Switzerland, Iceland and Republic of Ireland therefore received byes to the Second Round, whilst Scotland, Austria, Wales, Bosnia & Herzegovinia, Portugal and Belgium were condemned to the First Play-Off Round, from which the winners qualified for the Second Round.
The three Second Round winners were then again ranked following merger of Group and Play-Off Second Round results, with the top two automatically booking their spot at the World Cup.
The lowest-ranked play-off winner meanwhile were designated to the inter-confederation Play-Offs in February 2023.
Substitute, Abi Harrison headed in a 92nd minute winner as Scotland eliminated this summer’s UEFA Euro Quarter-Finalist, Austria, by a narrow 1-0 result in extra time in torrential conditions at Hampden Park.
Jess Fishlock’s volley in first-half injury time of extra-time proved enough for Wales to eliminate Bosnia & Herzegovinia, following a frustrating encounter in which the Welsh dominated but wasted numerous shots.
Fatima Pinto struck a 89th minute winner to send Portugal through to the second round of the play-offs following a 2-1 home win over Belgium, in which Diana Silva’s opener was cancelled out by Tessa Wullaert’s equaliser for the Belgian Red Flame.
Switzerland qualified automatically for the World Cup as the highest-ranked play-off winner with 22 points, after Fabienne Humm’s close-range strike completed a 2-1 extra-time win over Wales, having equalised through Ramona Bachmann to cancel out Rhiannon Roberts’ opener.
Amber Barrett’s 72nd minute counter-attack strike fired Republic of Ireland to a first-ever major Finals in any competition, as the Irish defeated Scotland 1-0 in a close encounter at Hampden Park to secure the second automatic qualification spot with 20 points.
Portugal thrashed Iceland 4-1 after extra time in Pacos de Ferreira but results elsewhere meant that they were the lowest-ranked play-off winner, and will now face an inter-confederation play-off in February 2023.