Qualification for the 2022 World Cup competition started on 6 June 2019 and ended on 14 June 2022. Unlike previous editions, there was no general preliminary draw, with confederations carrying out separate draws due to their differing timelines.
Europe has the most contestants, with 13 national countries, whilst the OFC is the one confederation which will not have any representation in the 2022 World Cup. The tournament will be staged in Qatar, which is the host nation and has eight groups of four teams each. Each team will play three matches which will determine who will make it into the quarter-finals of the competition.
The draw conducted in Doha, Qatar, on April 1, resulted in the following groups:
Group A A1: Qatar A2: Ecuador A3: Senegal A4: Netherlands Group B B1: England B2 Iran B3 USA B4 Wales Group C C1: Argentina C2: Saudi Arabia C3: Mexico C4: Poland Group D D1: France D2: Australia D3: Denmark D4: Tunisia Group E E1: Spain E2: Costa Rica E3: Germany E4: Japan Group F F1: Belgium F2: Canada F3: Morocco F4: Croatia Group G G1: Brazil G2: Serbia G3: Switzerland G4: Cameroon Group H H1: Portugal H2: Ghana H3: Uruguay H4: South Korea.
With the various challenges posed by the global pandemic and other situations that are outside the control of any human being, this qualification process saw seven teams withdrawing from the qualifiers, none of which came from Europe, except Russia, who participated in the UEFA confederation.
Wales and Canada will surely remember this qualification process and will surely want to finish in the top two teams in their respective group.
From this confederation, the allocation of slots available was four plus one or five plus one. Teams that qualified were fives plus one, with Qatar being the host nation, thus qualified automatically.
In the third round of the qualification, Iran and South Korea made it through Group A, whilst Saudi Arabia and Japan were the qualified teams from Group B. The countires who finished the third qualifying round in third place from both Group A and Group B played a playoff to decide who will be the fifth team to make it to the World Cup, and this was won by Australia by 2-1 against the United Arab Emirates.
The Africa Federation, CAF, had three rounds to determine who will represent the confederation in the 2022 World Cup. A total of 10 teams who made it through to the third round had to be reduced to five, each team was paired with another team, and the winner will qualify for the World Cup. Senegal made it through against rivals Egypt on penalties, and Cameroon clawed back a first-leg deficit against Algeria. Ghana eliminated Nigeria by drawing the second leg 1-1 after a goalless first leg, winning the tie on the away goal rule. Morocco thumped DR Congo 5-2 on aggregate with the most straightforward tie in the third round, whilst Tunisia held on to a slender lead in the first leg to inch past Mali.
In a similar format to other confederations, the CONCACAF held the first two rounds that had three winners who were put together with the first five teams in the federation to form the final stage, which was a group of eight countries. Canada managed to successfully top the group with 28 points marking their return to the World Cup, Mexico came in second with equal points, and the United States came in third.
A total of ten countries from South America participated in these qualifiers, which is a league, and the first four countries qualified for the World Cup whilst the fifth-placed team progressed to the intercontinental playoffs. Brazil claimed the top spot in the group with 45 points, Argentina followed with 39 points, Uruguay with 28 points and Ecuador with 26 points. Peru had another chance of getting to the World Cup when they played Australia, but they failed to convert from the penalty spot and lost out to Australia.
In the OFC qualification, the disruption was a bit worse than in other parts of the world, with the qualifying games expected to begin in September 2020, but this was postponed. In the end, the qualifying stage was to be a single match between the two lowest-ranked nations, with the winner advancing to the group stage. Then the eight remaining nations were drawn into two groups of four, playing single leg round-robin. The top two nations from each group advanced to a single-leg knockout stage. The final winner then advanced to the inter-confederations playoffs.
In the semi-finals, Solomon Islands edged past Papua New Guinea winning 3-2, whilst New Zealand defeated Tahiti 1-0. In the Final, New Zealand had a straightforward game as they won 5-0. Unfortunately for New Zealand, their efforts to reach the World Cup group were halted when they lost to Costa Rica in the playoffs. Meaning that no country from the OFC qualifiers made it to the World Cup.
UEFA, which is Europe federation, there are 10 groups in total, with some of them with five and some with six teams. The four nations that made it to the Nations League finals were placed in groups of five nations.
Starting from Group A, Serbia tipped Portugal for the guaranteed spot in the World Cup, whilst Portugal had to go through the second-round route. Group B saw Spain secure their 12th consecutive appearance in the World Cup, with Sweden making it into the playoffs. Group C, Switzerland, topped this group with 18 points, and a disappointed Italy had to contest in the second-round path. In Group D, France, who were the winners in the 2018 World Cup, claimed the top spot, with Ukraine making it to the second round in second place.
Group E, Belgium, got first place, whilst Wales and the Czech Republic made it through to the playoffs. Denmark took Group F by storm, claiming 27 points and Scotland together with Austria. In Group G, the Netherlands group winners with Turkey, following just two points below. In Group H, only one nation managed to make it to the FIFA World Cup, which was Croatia, as Russia, who came in second, was disqualified from competing due to its military intervention in Ukraine. England won Group I, Poland came in second and in Group J, Germany were the winners, and North Macedonia got into the second round.
In the second round, Wales eliminated Austria, which got them to the Final against Ukraine, where a 1-0 win was enough to get the Nation back into the World Cup group stage.
Poland was awarded a walkover, and Sweden defeated the Czech Republic 1-0, but Poland proved to be the stronger side as in the Final, the Group I runners-up won 2-0.
Portugal comfortably dispatched Turkey 3-1, which set up a Final against North Macedonia after Group J runners-up defeated Italy in a shock result. In the Final, Portugal were the winners on the night with a convincing 2-0 result.
So the nations representing UEFA are Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Croatia, England, Germany, Poland, Wales and Portugal. The favourites to win the tournament from UEFA are England, who are the second favourite to win the FIFA World Cup 2022.
WORLD CUP FAVOURITES
Brazil and Argentina are two squads, as well as England, who are tipped to go all the way to the World Cup Final. Germany, with a new manager at the helm, might be an interesting watch, with most of the nation behind England with a lot of potential and expectation. Have your say with LV BET.