World Cup qualifying has entered its final stretch
As hosts, Qatar receives automatic qualification to the World Cup, which consists of 32 teams in eight groups of four and will be held between November 21 and December 18. Qualifying for the 2022 World Cup began on June 6, 2019, when nations from the Asian confederation played their first round of matches. Mongolia’s Norjmoogiin Tsedenbal scored the very first goal in a 2-0 win over Brunei Darussalam.
We are now into the final stretch, all regular qualifying was completed in March. We will still know 29 of the 32 qualifiers, and the finals draw will be held on April 1. The last three places will be settled in the intercontinental playoffs, and the postponed UEFA path, in June. World Cup qualifying has entered its final stretch, with 20 of the 32 finalists already known. But which countries take the 12 places that remain? Check right now:
Olley: England is still in progress
Still in disputation
The last three places will be decided by playoffs. Two of the finals will be held and two more winners will qualify for the World Cup.
- Poland vs. Sweden
- Portugal vs. North Macedonia
- Ogden: Portugal are more than just Ronaldo
- The playoff path was postponed due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but is scheduled to take place in June.
- Playoff Path A semifinal:
- Scotland vs. Ukraine
The winners of the semifinal will be away to Wales in the final for a place at the World Cup.
Still in contention:
Vickery: Tense battle to seal playoff place
The four automatic places have all been confirmed in South America, leaving just the intercontinental playoff place to dispute. The team that finishes fifth in the group going forward to take on the winners of the Asian playoff path for a place at the World Cup.
Still in disputation:
- United States
- Costa Rica
How United States and Mexico can qualify
Bonagura: Will United States have enough to beat Panama
There is one round of qualifiers to play and the top three qualify automatically. Canada has already secured one of those slots, with the fourth-placed team facing the winners of the Oceania region.
The five places in Africa are decided by two-legged playoffs, with the second leg being held on Tuesday.
The first-leg scores of the five ties are as follows, with the winners advancing to the World Cup.
- Cameroon 0-1 Algeria
- DR Congo 1-1 Morocco
- Egypt 1-0 Senegal
- Ghana 0-0 Nigeria
- Mali 0-1 Tunisia
- Qatar (as hosts)
- IR Iran
- South Korea
- Saudi Arabia
Still in disputation:
- United Arab Emirates
Australia and United Arab Emirates will meet in a playoff in May or June, with the winners going through to the intercontinental playoff to take on a team from South America for a place. Oceania plays New Zealand on Wednesday in the final of the Oceania region. The winners will take on a team from CONCACAF for a place at the World Cup finals.
What is the World Cup schedule?
The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will feature 32 teams in eight groups of four. Four fit will be played each day during the group stage, which will run over a 12-day period and see winners and runners-up progress to the round of 16. Matches will only be assigned to venues after the finals draw, so organizers can choose kick-off times to suit television audiences in different countries, as well as supporters in Qatar.
The finals draw is scheduled to take place in April 2022, after the March window for international fixtures.
Unlike at Euro 2020, there will be a third-place play-off game on December 17.
- Group stage: November 21- December 2
- Round of 16: December 3-6
- Quarterfinals: December 9/10
- Semi-finals: December 13/14
- Final: December 18
We will keep you informed on further updates about World Cup!