The qualification phase for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is nearing its conclusion with a number of nations having booked their places at the finals during this international break.
The tournament, scheduled to take place between Monday 21 November and Sunday 18 December this year, will be the last to feature 32 teams with that number being expanded to 48 for the 2026 World Cup which will be played in the United States, Mexico and Canada.
Uefa will be the most represented confederation in Qatar with 13 spots allocated for European nations. The 10 group winners qualified automatically, with the final three places decided by a play-off round featuring the 10 runners-up and the two best-ranked group winners from the Nations League who finished third or below.
There are four guaranteed places for teams from Conmebol (South America), five from CAF (Africa), four from AFC (Asia) and three from CONCACAF (North America). A further two places are reserved for an inter-confederation play-off in June that will feature a team from South America, Asia, North America and Oceania. Qatar have qualified automatically as hosts.
Which teams have qualified so far for Qatar 2022?
- South Korea
- Saudi Arabia
North, Central American and Caribbean (CONCACAF)
England secured their place at the finals by thrashing San Marino, the lowest-ranked team in world football, in their final qualifier. Gareth Southgate’s squad are among the favourites to win the competition after reaching the semi-final in Russia in 2018 and coming runners-up at Euro 2020 last summer.
They will face Wales, who beat Ukraine in the play-offs to qualify for a first World Cup since 1958. There is no place for Scotland, however, as they fell at the semi-final hurdle.
Neither Northern Ireland nor the Republic of Ireland will qualify either after each finishing outside the top two in their respective groups.
In one of the bigger shocks of Uefa’s qualifying round, Serbia toppled Portugal in Group A by beating them 2-1 in Lisbon on the final matchday, with Aleksandar Mitrovic scoring a 90th-minute winner. It meant Cristiano Ronaldo and co had to win a play-off against Turkey, before avoiding a banana skin against North Macedonia – who knocked out Italy – in the final.
Qatar will be making their debut in the competition after qualifying automatically as the host nation. As has been traditional since the 2006 World Cup in Germany, they will kick the tournament off as hosts in the first game.
The Gulf nation are currently the fifth-highest ranked team in the Asian Football Confederation – behind Iran, Japan, South Korea and Australia – and are the 52nd best team in the world according to Fifa’s most recent rankings.
Who will win the 2022 World Cup?
- Brazil – 9-2
- France – 6-1
- England – 11-2
- Spain 8-1
- Argentina – 8-1
- Germany – 11-1
- Belgium 12-1
- Netherlands – 12-1
- Portugal – 12-1
- Denmark – 28-1
- Croatia – 50-1
- Wales – 150-1
Odds via Bet 365 and correct as of 13 June
Germany (World Cup winners in 2014) and Denmark were the next nations to qualify, doing so during the October international break. Five-time champions Brazil became the first South American side to qualify after a 1-0 win over Colombia in November and the reigning holders France will also be there after topping their group.
The full 32-team line-up for the World Cup is unlikely to be completed until June.
Which African teams have qualified?
Sadio Mane once again came out on top against Mohamed Salah, with Egypt knocked out on penalties by Senegal – just as they did in the Africa Cup of Nations final.
Nigeria will also miss out, but Ghana have qualified – as have Tunisia and Morocco, who came out on top over two legs against Mali and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Cameroon needed extra time as they overcame Algeria on away goals.
Ivory Coast are the biggest absentees from the final round after being beaten to top spot in their group by Cameroon.
The state of play in Asia
The top two teams in Group A and Group B have qualified for the tournament with a round of games to spare.
Iran and South Korea were the first nations through after securing the top two places in Group A and they have since been followed by Saudi Arabia and Japan, who are assured first and second place finishes in Group B.
There are two places up for grabs via the inter-confederation play-offs.
The fifth-best team in the CONMEBOL (South America) standings, fourth-best team in CONCACAF (North America), fourth round play-off winner in AFC (Asia) and second round winner in OFC (Oceania), will be drawn into two-legged ties with the winner of each progressing to the World Cup.
The OFC qualification phase will be played in full in Qatar in March.