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Eight stadiums will host the event across five cities in Qatar: Lusail, Al Khor, Al Rayyan, Al Wakrah, and Doha.
The World Cup draw was conducted on April 1 where the complete group stage schedule, including times and dates, was set. The World Cup knockout stage is predetermined. Slots have already been assigned to the top two teams that will qualify from each group.
Two initial slots were reserved in Group D and Group E for the winner of the two intercontinental playoffs. Australia claimed the first ticket with a victory on penalties over Peru. Costa Rica then beat New Zealand by a 1-0 scoreline in the other intercontinental playoff to claim the 32nd and final slot at Qatar 2022.
So which teams qualify for World Cup? Keep reading this post to find your answer.
How many teams are in the World Cup?
The 2022 men’s World Cup in Qatar will be the last to feature 32 teams before the field expands to 48 teams for the 2026 World Cup. The FIFA men’s World Cup has involved 32 teams for the last six editions, since France in 1998.
Moreover, joining host nation Qatar at the tournament will be 31 other countries that have earned a ticket through regional qualifying matches. Each region was provided a set number of qualifying berths by the world governing body FIFA, which organizes the World Cup:
- Africa (CAF): 5
- Asia (AFC): 4 (plus 1 playoff qualifier)
- Europe (UEFA): 13
- North/Central America & Caribbean (CONCACAF): 3 (plus 1 playoff qualifier)
- Oceania (OFC): 1 playoff qualifier
- South America (CONMEBOL): 4 (plus 1 playoff qualifier)
When does the World Cup start?
- Inaugural match: Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022
- World Cup final: Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022
The 2022 FIFA World Cup will kick off on a Sunday — a day earlier than originally scheduled — with hosts Qatar facing Ecuador in the opening Group A match at the Al Bayt Stadium.
The World Cup final will also be held on a Sunday, as per tradition. The trophy will be hoisted by the winner on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022.
Which teams qualify for World Cup?
A total of 32 teams have officially qualified for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including the host nation. The final two spots were filled by the intercontinental playoff winners on June 13 and June 14.
In addition, to host nation Qatar, there were 13 nations to qualify from Europe, four from South America, four from Asia, five from Africa, four from North America, and Australia, which is a member of the Asian confederation.
Besides, the four playoff qualifiers in the list above participated in two intercontinental playoff matches played in June 2022, featuring one nation from each of the four different regions. Those matchups determined the final two qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup: Asia vs. South America, and North America vs. Oceania.
- Asia vs. South America: Australia (3rd in the Asian qualifying group) beat Peru (5th in South America) in a penalty shootout on June 13 to claim a place in Qatar. The Socceroos, into their fifth straight World Cup, defeated the United Arab Emirates 2-1 in an Asian confederation playoff just to earn the chance to face Peru.
- North America vs. Oceania: Costa Rica (4th place in North America) advanced to the World Cup after beating New Zealand (Oceania winner) 1-0 on June 14 for the final ticket to Qatar. The Ticos joined Germany, Spain, and Japan in Group E.
The final European World Cup berth was also determined in June 2022. Wales beat Ukraine 1-0 in a single-elimination playoff final on June 5. (Wales and Ukraine defeated Austria and Scotland, respectively, to reach the final.) The final European qualifying spot was pushed to the June window after Ukraine requested the postponement from the original March date due to the Russian invasion of the country.
Is World Cup Qualifying Too Complicated?
There are two sides to the coin to this question. When looking at the overall picture with regard to World Cup qualifying, there are a huge number of games and paths between all the different confederations. It simply means that when you look at the sum of all the qualification routes, it seems complicated.
However, when you break it down into each specific confederation, it is remarkably simple. The only confusion comes from some continents having inter-continental play-offs, while Europe keeps its play-offs in-house. The Nations League in Europe also changes things as the best two ranked European sides that did not finish in the top two in their groups are given a place in the playoffs.
Ultimately, World Cup qualifying needs to give the sides a good chance of making it to the showpiece event. The group stages of qualifying are designed to test a team over a longer period, with a few bad games not terminal to a team making it to the World Cup.
World Cup Group Draw
These were the results of the group-stage draw, conducted in Doha, Qatar on April 1.
- 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
World Cup Draw Pots
On March 31 FIFA released their updated FIFA World Rankings, which were used to sort the teams into separate pots ahead of the draw held on April 1. Each 2022 World Cup group consists of one team from each of the four pots below.
The top eight teams in the World Rankings (as of March 31) went into Pot 1, the next best eight teams into Pot 2, and so on. Pot 4 also contained the three placeholders for the spots yet to be claimed. This process helped ensure there is a competitive balance across the groups.
(FIFA World Ranking on March 31, 2022, added in parentheses below. Qatar was included in Pot 1 as the host nation, which is a FIFA tradition at World Cup events.)
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