The draw held on 9 September at the headquarters of UEFA, in Nyon, thus put in the way of the formation of the 'quinas' the two teams present in the 'play-off' better placed in the 'ranking' of FIFA, since Belgium occupies the 19th and Iceland the 14th.
Belgium, which beat Portugal 1-0 in the last clash, on the 7 March 2020, in the Algarve Cup, was second in Group F, with 22 points from 10 games, behind Norway and ahead of Poland, Albania, Kosovo and Armenia.
In the case of Iceland, who beat Portugal 4-1 at the 2019 Algarve Cup, they were second in Group C with 18 points from eight games, missing out on direct qualification in the final round by falling 1-0 to the Netherlands with a goal in the 90+3 minute.
In the last European Championship, in England, Belgium reached the quarter-finals, where they were eliminated by Sweden, 1-0 winners with a goal in the 90+2 minute, while the Nordics fell in the first round, like Portugal.
The Icelandic team did not lose, however, drawing all three matches by one goal, the first against Belgium and also against Italy and France, two teams already qualified for the final phase of the 2023 World Cup.
Francisco Neto's team qualified for the play-offs by finishing second in Group H, with 22 points, against Germany, who qualified for the final phase.
In the accounts of the runners-up (results with first, third, fourth and fifth), Portugal, discounting the two results with Bulgaria (sixth placed) totalled 16 points, with 18-9 in goals, and was only the seventh best, with only the top three going directly to the second round.
In the first round, and in addition to Portugal vs Belgium, Scotland host Austria and Wales host Bosnia-Herzegovina, while in the second round, Lusitania or Belgium host Iceland, Scotland or Austria host Ireland and Switzerland host Welsh or Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Of the three winners of the second round, the two best - sum of points in the group stage (with first, third, fourth and fifth) and in the second round - go through to the final round and the third to an Intercontinental play-off.
In this play-off, which will take place in New Zealand (17-23 February 2023) and will seal the last three places, China Taipei, Thailand, Cameroon, Senegal, Papua New Guinea, Haiti, Panama, Chile and Paraguay are already there, with the UEFA representative missing.
For the final round, 27 of the 32 teams have been defined, nine of which represent Europe, namely Sweden, Spain, England, Denmark, Norway, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Italy.
The other teams already qualified are the hosts Australia and New Zealand, plus China, Japan, the Philippines, Korea Republic and Vietnam (Asia), Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia (Africa), Canada, Costa Rica, Jamaica and the United States (CONCACAF) and Argentina, Brazil and Colombia (South America).