World Cup Qualification


The official countdown clock is on for the FIFA World cup Qatar with less than nine months away, however there are still plenty decisions to be made before the tournament kicks off in November.

Fifteen teams have secured their spot in the 2022 FIFA world cup, which means their are still 17 spaces up for grabs, and it seems some notable nations have struggling teams finishing the qualifying stage. All 211 FIFA member associations are eligible to enter the 2022 World Cup in Qatar on a qualifying basis

Qualification Process

As Qatar is the host country, they qualify automatically for the tournament. However, Qatar is obliged by the AFC to take part in the Asian qualifying stage since the first two rounds are prerequisites for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup. If Qatar finish as winners or as runners up in their group, then the fifth best group runners up will advance in their place.

The slot allocations for each confederation was discussed in May 2015 by the FIFA Executive Committee in Zürich. The committee decided to stay with the same allocation that had been used in 2006, 2010 and 2014 for both the 2018 world cup and the 2022 world cup.

The allocation:

  • AFC (Asia): 4 or 5
  • CAF (Africa): 5
  • CONCACAF (North, Central America and Caribbean): 3 or 4
  • CONMEBOL (South America): 4 or 5
  • UEFA (Europe): 13
  • OFC (Oceania): 0 or 1
  • Hosts: 1

When did the qualification start?

The qualification play offs for the 2022 FIFA world cup began on June 6 2019, this was when nations from the Asian Confederation played their first round of matches. Mongolia and Brunei played in the opening match.

To make sure the rest of the qualified teams can be chosen before this summer, the FIFA council created an international window in the winter months between January into February.

European clubs had their qualification up to date before this international window, whereas this time was crucial for those in Asia, CONMEBOL and the CONCACAF region, featuring sides from North/South america and the Caribbean.


How is the qualification process panning out?

South America (CONMEBOL)

Qualified teams: Brazil, Argentina

In the recent qualification competitions for the 2022 world cup, all 10 South American nations play against each other. The top four group winners qualify directly to the final round in the host country. The fifth-place team will progress into an intercontinental playoff against a team from Asia.

The first four rounds of qualifying matches in March and September 2020 were postponed, finally being played in October 2020. Another round of matches in March 2021 were put on hold due to issues with European players travelling amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Brazil was the first country to qualify in November 2021, and Argentina qualified a few days after.

The top four teams in the South American nations qualify directly, with the fifth-placed side being able to advance via inter-continental play-offs. This is featuring three other nations from Oceania, Asia and CONCACAF.

Remaining match dates:
  • March 24, 2022
  • March 29, 2022

North America, Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF)

CONCACAF has 35 nations that qualify for the group stage matches, most teams being very minor in the football world.

Since their only appearance in the 1986 World Cup, Canada have been progressing towards making their debut in the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals, after being the winners of three matches in six days.

They beat the USA, El Salvador and Honduras with a 2-0 win. Canada now sits with four points at the top of the qualifying groups, and have 3 matches remaining.

The Format

Round One: The nations ranked 6th - 35th in the FIFA World Ranking were put into six groups of five teams. With each team playing another in their group once, these played out in March and June 2021.

The six winners from each group are in bold:

  • Group A: El Salvador, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Montserrat, US Virgin Islands
  • Group B: Canada, Suriname, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Aruba
  • Group C: Curaçao, Guatemala, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Cuba, British Virgin Islands
  • Group D: Panama, Dominican Republic, Barbados, Dominica, Anguilla
  • Group E: Haiti, Nicaragua, Belize, St Lucia (withdrew), Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Group F: St Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Puerto Rico, Bahamas

Round Two: The six group winners then played games home and away, this was a direct elimination format. These head-to-head games were played on June 12 and 15, 2021. The three group winners, in bold, progressed.

  • Saint Kitts and Nevis (Group F) 0-6 El Salvador (Group A)
  • Haiti (Group E) 0-4 Canada (Group B)
  • Panama (Group D) 2-1 Curacao (Group C)

Final Round: The three winners have joined the other teams ranked 1-5 in the World Cup Rankings, the other teams being; Costa Rica, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, United States

The eight teams then play a total of 14 matches, played both home and away. With the top three teams qualify directly, and the fourth placed team advances onto the next round to play an intercontinental tournament against an Oceania nation in June 2022.

Remaining match dates:
  • March 24, 2022
  • March 27, 2022
  • March 30, 2022

Asia (AFC)

Qualified teams: IR Iran, South Korea

The top two teams in each group automatically qualify for the World Cup 2022, with the two third place sides playing each other for a place in the intercontinental play off against the fifth placed side for a spot in the final round. Iran qualified when they became the winners on 27th January against Iraq, South Korea beat Syria and gained their spot in the final in their 10th World Cup.

The AFC have confirmed that North Korea will no longer be progressing forward in the second round of the qualifiers for World Cup and the AFC Asian Cup China in 2023.

The Format

Round One: The 12 lowest ranking nations played two legged ties in 2019. With advances from; Mongolia, Timor-Leste, Guam, Macau, Bangladesh and Cambodia.

Round Two: The six winners then joined the other 34 nations in Asia, they were drawn into eight groups of five teams. This also acted as qualifiers for the 2023 Asian Cup Finals, and due to this, the 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar took part. This round was completed between May and June 2021. The seventh group winners, and the five best group runners up then advanced.

The 12 winning nations, in bold, advanced to round three.

  • Group A**: China, Syria,** Philippines, Maldives, Guam
  • Group B: Australia, Jordan, Chinese Taipei, Kuwait, Nepal
  • Group C: IR Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Cambodia
  • Group D: [](Group D: ) Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Palestine, Yemen, Singapore
  • Group E:  Oman, Bangladesh, India, Afghanistan, Qatar
  • Group F: Japan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Myanmar, Mongolia
  • Group G: United Arab EmiratesVietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia
  • Group H: South KoreaLebanon, North Korea (withdrew), Turkmenistan, Sri Lanka

Round Three (final group round): The 12 advanced teams were then drawn into two groups of six teams. The teams who win and the runners-up will gain qualification for the World Cup in Qatar.

Both Iran and South Korea have secured qualifications for the finals of the World Cup 2022.

  • Group A: IR Iran, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon
  • Group B: Japan, Australia, Saudi Arabia, China, Oman, Vietnam
Remaining match dates:
  • March 24, 2022
  • March 29, 2022

Round Four: The teams finishing third in the two rounds will play a two-legged match. This is scheduled to play in May or June 2022. The winning team then advance to an intercontinental playoff against a nation from South America, to be played June 2022.

Europe (UEFA)

Qualified teams: Germany, Denmark, Belgium, France, Croatia, Spain, Serbia, England, Switzerland, Netherlands

There are 55 European nations, and only 13 available places in the FIFA World Cup. The qualifications ran from March to November 2021, and ten places have since been secured.

The 12 remaining countries will participate in a four-nation mini tournament, the winners securing a place at the World Cup. Each match will have one game, with the winning team continuing to the next spot.

The 10 group winners, who directly qualify to the finals, are in bold.

  • Group A: Serbia, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Luxembourg, Azerbaijan
  • Group B: Spain, Sweden, Greece, Georgia, Kosovo
  • Group C: Switzerland, Italy, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, Lithuania
  • Group D: France, Ukraine, Finland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan
  • Group E: Belgium, Wales, Czech Republic, Belarus, Estonia
  • Group F: Denmark, Austria, Scotland, Israel, Faroe Islands, Moldova
  • Group G: Netherlands, Turkey, Norway, Montenegro, Latvia, Gibraltar
  • Group H: Croatia, Slovakia, Russia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta
  • Group I: England, Poland, Hungary, Albania, Andorra, San Marino
  • Group J: Germany, Romania, Iceland, North Macedonia, Armenia, Liechtenstein

The remaining three places will be allocated via playoffs, including the 10 runners-up and the two group winners from the 2020-2021 UEFA Nations League who didn't finish in their qualifying group; Austria and Czech Republic.

The Format

There are three paths, each with four teams featuring a semi-finals and a finals draw for a place at the FIFA World Cup.

(Play-offs) Semi-finals draw:

Path A

  • Scotland v ine
  • Wales v Austria

The winners from Wales V Austria qualify for the World Cup.

Path B

  • Russia v Poland
  • Sweden v Czech Republic

The winners from Russia V Poland qualify for the World Cup.

Path C

  • Portugal v Turkey
  • Italy v North Macedonia Portugal

Winners from Portugal V Turkey qualify for the World Cup.

Final draw:

  • Wales or Austria v Scotland or Ukraine,
  • Russia or Poland v Sweden or Czech Republic,
  • Portugal or Turkey v Italy or North Macedonia.

Oceania (OFC)

Nine out of the eleven FIFA national teams will take part in qualifying, this will be played in March 2022, in Qatar. There will be a nine-team tournament in March in Qatar for the Oceania teams, this is the decider to find which group will advance to the intercontinental play offs to play in the finals.

The Format

Round One: In the first round, the two lowest ranked OFC in the FIFA world ranking, Tonga and Cook Islands, will play a single elimination match.

Round Two: Each team is then split into two further groups of four teams to play each other once, and the top two group winners will progress onto the next round.

  • Group A: Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Vanuatu, Tonga or Cook Islands
  • Group B: New Zealand, New Caledonia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea

Round Three: After the first two rounds and there is a winner gained from each, the four teams then play semi-finals, and then onto the finals for the right to go through to the intercontinental play offs in June.

AFRICA (CAF)

There are 54 FIFA-affiliated nations in Africa.

The Format

Round One: In September 2019, the 28 lowest ranked nations payed two legged tie matches, with the winners from the group stage moving onto the next round.

Round Two: The winning teams from the first round are then joined by the remaining 26 nations. The 40 nations were split into 10 groups with four teams in each, with each group winner advancing to the final tournament.

The final round was due to begin in March 2020, running through to 2021, however, football was suspended. The final group stage ran from September 2021 until November 2021, this concluded this final stage in 11 weeks.

The groups winners, in bold, were:

  • Group A: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Niger, Djibouti
  • Group B: Tunisia, Zambia, Mauritania, Equatorial Guinea,
  • Group C: Nigeria, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Liberia
  • Group D: Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Malawi
  • Group E: Mali, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda
  • Group F: Egypt, Gabon, Libya, Angola
  • Group G: Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia
  • Group H: Senegal, Congo, Namibia, Togo
  • Group I: Morocco, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Sudan
  • Group J: Congo DR, Benin, Madagascar, Tanzania

Round Three: The 10 winning groups were then placed into five two-legged ties to play for one of the five places at the World Cup. Fixtures to be played in March 2022.

  • Cameroon vs. Algeria
  • DR Congo vs. Morocco
  • Egypt vs. Senegal
  • Ghana vs. Nigeria
  • Mali vs. Tunisia

Stick with Tournament Football to keep up to date with all the upcoming World Cup 2022 news, including further insight into the Qualifications, Schedule and the draw. As well as all things Fantasy Football for the forthcoming event.

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