World Cup 2022 draw
World Cup 2022 draw

The countdown to the Qatar 2022 World Cup has begun. The draw for the showpiece tournament will be held on April 1, more than seven months before the event kicks off on Nov. 21.

As is customary, the tournament will run for roughly a month with the final held on Sunday, Dec. 18 at the Lusail Stadium. The 32 participating teams will all be dreaming of surviving the six matches leading up to the title match and succeeding 2018 winners France as world champs.

The 2022 edition is not only the first to be played in the Middle East, but it’s also the last one under the current format before the event is expanded to 48 teams for the 2026 version.

Due to scheduling havoc wreaked by COVID-19, three spots in the field of 32 will be decided in June, a few months after the group-stage draw on April 1.

MORE: South America World Cup qualifying standings & schedule

When is the World Cup draw 2022?
The 2022 World Cup Draw will take place in Doha, Qatar on April 1.

By that stage, 29 of the 32 nations will have been decided with three spots that will still remain unclaimed until June.

The two FIFA intercontinental playoffs will take place in June, as will the playoff final for last berth available in Europe. Wales is scheduled to host Scotland or Ukraine in that winner-take-all match.

Which teams are in the World Cup Draw 2022?
So far, 29 teams have secured their place at the tournament, including the hosts Qatar. Holders France, who won the 2018 tournament, are among those to have already qualified.

There are three berths outstanding that will be determined in June via the European and intercontinental playoffs.

World Cup pots 2022
The World Cup draw on April 1 will start with Pot 1 and end with Pot 4. Teams drawn from each pot are slotted into a group beginning with Group A and moving on through Group H.

After a team is selected, then its designation in the group is randomly selected for teams in Pots 2-4. Teams from Pot 1 automatically take the first slot in each group (A1, B1, C1, etc.).

Pot 1 Pot 2 Pot 3 Pot 4
Qatar (51)* Mexico (9) Senegal (20) Cameroon (37)
Brazil (1) Netherlands (10) Iran (21) Canada (38)
Belgium (2) Denmark (11) Japan (23) Ecuador (46)
France (3) Germany (12) Morocco (24) Saudi Arabia (49)
Argentina (4) Uruguay (13) Serbia (25) Ghana (60)
England (5) Switzerland (14) Poland (26) Intercont’l Playoff 1
Spain (7) USA (15) South Korea (29) Intercont’l Playoff 2
Portugal (8) Croatia (16) Tunisia (35) Euro Playoff
Geographic restrictions: Teams from the same region cannot be drawn in the same group with the exception of Europe. Since there are 13 European teams in the draw and only eight groups (A-H), a maximum two European nations are permitted in a single group. If there’s a geographic clash, the team drawn is simply moved to the next group in sequence.

Who can still qualify for World Cup 2022?
There are still eight nations around the world that can qualify to Qatar 2022. They’ll be battling for the remaining spots in June.

Asia (AFC)
In the Asian section of World Cup qualifying, the top two teams advance from each of two groups. Iran and South Korea are through from one group, with Saudi Arabia and Japan joining them from the other group.

The two third-place finishers will face off for a spot in the single-game intercontinental playoff in June. Australia will meet the United Arab Emirates for the right to move to the intercontinental showdown against a team from South America.

Africa (CAF)
There were five pairings to determine which teams made it through to the World Cup, with each of the aggregate-goal winners progressing. These were all two-legged encounters that wrapped up on March 29.

Away goals served as the tiebreaker if teams are even on goals after the second leg.

Ghana and Cameroon advanced on away goals. Senegal needed a penalty-kick shootout to get past Egypt. Tunisia squeezed by Mali 1-0 on aggregate, and Morocco took care of DR Congo.

Egypt vs Senegal (1-1 on agg.)
Senegal advance 3-1 on penalties

Cameroon vs Algeria (2-2 on agg.)
Cameroon advance on away goals

Ghana vs. Nigeria (1-1 on agg.)
Ghana advance on away goals

DR Congo vs Morocco (2-5 on agg.)

Mali vs Tunisia (0-1 on agg.)
North America (CONCACAF)
Canada’s men’s team became the first team to qualify from this region for the first time since 1986 and they were joined on the final matchday by the USA and Mexico. The fourth-place team, Costa Rica, will play in a June intercontinental playoff against Oceania representative New Zealand.

South America (CONMEBOL)
Perennial giants Brazil and Argentina are already through, and Ecuador and Uruguay joined them by claiming the other two automatic berths. Peru claimed fifth place to advance to the other intercontinental playoff against Australia or the United Arab Emirates.

Oceania (OFC)
Qualifying for the Oceania region was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and is taking place in March.

Eight teams were split into two groups, with the top two teams from each group making it through to the knockout semifinals. The winner of the final will advance to the playoff against the North American playoff qualifier.

The two groups were comprised of the following teams, though Vanuatu and Cook Islands were forced to withdraw due to a COVID-19 outbreak:

Group A: Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Vanuatu
Group B: Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papa New Guinea
New Zealand defeated the Solomon Islands 5-0 in the final on March 30. To get there, the Kiwis beat Tahiti (2nd in Group A) in one semifinal, while the Solomon Islands knocked off Papua New Guinea (2nd in Group B) in the other semi.

Europe (UEFA)
The European playoffs have been complicated somewhat after world governing body FIFA and European body UEFA jointly suspended Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Poland was set to play Russia in a playoff fixture, but with Russia’s ban, it was given a bye to the playoff final. The Polish side handled Sweden 2-0 in that game, and Robert Lewandowski is heading to the World Cup, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal will be another star who will be there after his team eased past North Macedonia 2-0 at home. That win followed a 3-1 win over Turkey, also at the Dragao Stadium in Porto. North Macedonia’s cinderella run is over after ousting Italy.

Ukraine’s playoff match in Scotland was postponed until June due to the war sparked by Russia’s invasion. Wales will be awaiting to host the winner of that match, also in June.

Here’s how the final three tickets available in Europe will be decided (home teams listed first in each match):

Playoff Final 1: Wales vs. Scotland or Ukraine (in June)
Playoff Final 2: Poland 2, Sweden 0
Playoff Final 3: Portugal 2, North Macedonia 0
Intercontinental playoffs
There will be two intercontinental playoffs, with these games determining the final two teams to reach the World Cup finals in Qatar. These fixtures, which will be played between June 13-14, will be held in Qatar.

Asia (AFC) 3rd-place playoff winner (Australia or UAE) vs. South America (CONMEBOL) 5th place (Peru)
North America (CONCACAF) 4th place (Costa Rica) vs. Oceania (OFC) winner (New Zealand)
How does the World Cup 2022 draw work?
The 32 teams that qualify will be divided into four pots, based on the FIFA world rankings released on March 31. There will be a placeholder for the three slots that won’t yet be decided.

Hosts Qatar will automatically join the seven other best-ranked teams as one of the top seeds in Pot 1, and will be assigned to Group A as is customary at the FIFA World Cup.

Eight groups of four teams each (consisting of a team from each of the four pots) will be drawn for Groups A through H.

No group can have more than one team from each region except in the case of Europe (UEFA), for which the maximum limit per group is two European teams given the 13 spots assigned to European nations.

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