Connect with us

World Cup 2022 Qualifying Review

The draw for the 2022 World Cup finals will take place in Doha, Qatar, on Friday, with 29 out of the 32 spots filled.

The remaining three slots should find their owners in June, though the final European berth could face further delay due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Let’s take a look at which countries have already qualified for November’s showpiece and the upcoming play-off.

Europe

Ten European teams topped their groups to secure automatic berths at Qatar 2022 already in November 2021. 

Germany became the first nation to qualify for winter’s showpiece event via qualifiers. Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, England, France, Netherlands, Serbia, Spain and Switzerland joined the party in the autumn.

Euro 2020 winners Italy suffered a failure of epic proportions in the play-off dawns as North Macedonia defied the odds in Palermo to come out on top of their semi-final tie.

However, it turned out Blagoja Milevski’s side only aided Portugal’s bid to maintain their 100% record of reaching major international tournaments in the 21st century.

Bruno Fernandes’ brace either side of half-time fired Cristiano Ronaldo and co to a comfortable 2-0 win in Porto, booking their ticket for Qatar 2022 at the expense of the qualifying surprise package. 

After FIFA’s decision to withdraw Russia from international action due to their invasion of Ukraine, Poland earned automatic qualification for the play-off finals. 

Despite overcoming the Czech Republic in the semi-finals, Sweden slumped in Chorzow as Robert Lewandowski and Piotr Zielinski propelled the Poles to their second successive appearance at the World Cup finals.

Inspired by another remarkable performance from Gareth Bale, Wales defeated Austria 2-1 in their semi-final tie to make it to the play-off finals. 

The Dragons will meet either Scotland or Ukraine in a battle to secure World Cup qualification once the Ukrainians are ready to proceed. 

According to BBC Sport, June’s international break could be an opportunity for the two nations to see out their semi-final tie.

South America

Brazil and Argentina both enjoyed jaw-dropping 2022 World Cup qualifiers, with the two South American footballing supreme powers going unbeaten in all 17 qualifying matches. 

The two nations secured World Cup qualification with a few games to spare, with Uruguay and Ecuador joining them on the penultimate matchday.

Coming into the final qualifying round, three sides, including Peru, Colombia and Chile, were battling it out for the inter-confederation play-off spot.

The Peruvians’ 2-0 home triumph over Paraguay rendered Colombia’s 1-0 victory away to Venezuela meaningless, halting Los Cafateros’ bid to reach their third successive World Cup finals. 

Peru will play either Australia or the United Arab Emirates in the intercontinental play-offs.

Asia 

In addition to Qatar, who earned an automatic berth as the host nation, the upcoming final tournament will feature the likes of Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

After finishing third in their respective qualifying groups, Australia and the UAE will trade tackles in Asia’s play-offs final.

Whoever comes out on top will have to get past Peru to reach winter’s showpiece event. 

Africa

After beating Egypt in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations grand final, Senegal added insult to injury as they overcame the Pharaohs in the continental play-off decider to book their ticket for Qatar.

Ghana defied the odds to beat Nigeria, while Cameroon, Morocco and Tunisia left the likes of Algeria, DR Congo and Mali in their wake, respectively. 

North America

Canada have claimed their first World Cup finals appearance since 1986 as the CONCACAF-zone qualifying group winners despite a 1-0 loss to Panama on the final matchday.

Arch-rivals Mexico and the United States finished second and third, respectively, while Costa Rica pipped Panama to the inter-confederation play-off finish. 

The Costa Ricans will take on the Oceania region winners New Zealand in the one-off play-offs in high spirits after winning their last four World Cup qualifying games in a row. 

More in