Russia out of World Cup 2022: Poland advanced, Ukraine can still qualify after match postponed

Russia World Cup draw
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FIFA's stance on the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine has reached tangible consequences, as the football governing body officially announced that Russia is disqualified from World Cup qualification.

Football's global governing body has taken a firm position on Russian football in recent weeks, with a combined decision, alongside UEFA, to expel Russian teams from all relevant club competitions.

The initial message of restricting Russia to playing a neutral venues was met with frustration and it subsequently ramped up to full ban, with their expulsion from the tournament in Qatar set to remain in place in 2022. While it was announced last week that Russia would be left out, the elimination of Russia is official now that FIFA announced Poland advances directly to the mini-bracket final.

MORE: Details on FIFA's decision to ban Russia from competitions

In addition, FIFA announced that Ukraine's mini-bracket semifinal against Scotland is postponed until the June international window, accepting a request submitted by the besieged nation. Ukraine is not subject to any ban from FIFA, but the decision has been made on security grounds and a lack of player availability.

Russia eliminated from 2022 FIFA World Cup contention

While it had been previously announced that Russia would be banned from all international competitions indefinitely, no announcement specific to World Cup qualifying had been given as UEFA and FIFA decide how to proceed with the format after Russia's ban.

On Tuesday, that decision was made as Poland was officially advanced past its match against Russia and into the mini-bracket final.

MORE: Poland advanced by UEFA, but is that the fairest decision?

That leaves Russia officially disqualified from contention, with no way back. The decision could be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but that would have to be done quite soon with the matches in less than a month's time.

Ukraine World Cup qualifier postponed

Ukraine confirmed its intention to request a postponement from FIFA on March 3 due the escalating conflict in their native country with UEFA and the Scottish FA working in tandem to secure a solution. The request was granted on March 7, with the Hampden Park clash now moved from its original date of March 24 to a summer fixture.

FIFA and UEFA have presented a united front in removing the Russian national team and club sides from their competitions.

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The Scottish FA have also backed the decision to move the game to a later date in 2022 with president Rod Petrie stating how "football is inconsequential amid conflict" and he will now await the next update.

Despite the postponement, Austria will still take on Wales in that mini-bracket's other semifinal as previously scheduled in March. The mini-bracket's final will take place in June as well after both participants are determined.

New potential European World Cup playoff schedule

Ukraine's trip to Glasgow is the only current UEFA connected 2022 World Cup play off which has been postponed at this stage, with a reported new date to be determined in June.

Russia's play off semi final opponents Poland confirmed their intention to boycott their match in Moscow this month with potential finalists Sweden and Czech Republic mirroring the protest.

Robert Lewandowski Poland

FIFA and UEFA's decision to expel Russia means Poland will receive a free pass into the final, if the Russian Football Union's appeal against the decision is rejected later this month.

With the 2022 World Cup final draw scheduled for April 1, the fate of Path A - involving Scotland and Ukraine - will remain undecided.

June has been earmarked as the most reasonable date for the new fixture, based on the lack of FIFA international windows in 2022, but the Scottish FA may be forced to move their incoming UEFA Nations League games to accommodate it.

MORE: FIFA 22 removes Russian national team and clubs from EA Sports game in wake of Ukraine invasion

How European World Cup playoffs work

Twelve UEFA nations enter the playoff stage in March, including the ten group runners up from the main qualification process, and the best two UEFA Nations League sides.

The 12 nations have been split into three 'Paths' from A to C, with four teams in each, and the winners of each play off semi final will face off in a final, for the chance to clinch one of the three remaining spots in Qatar.

When is the FIFA World Cup draw?

The Group Stage draw for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is scheduled for April 1, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.

The expectation was that 30 of 32 final places already confirmed, with only two nations still to be confirmed from the summer inter-continental play-offs in June 2022. However, that number drops to 29 with one more European place will now be added to the delayed list.

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Kyle Bonn is a soccer content producer for The Sporting News.
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