2022 World Cup qualifying: All you need to know
Tuesday, 14 June 2022
How it worked, match dates, group stage, play-off format, finals.
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What is it?
The process by which UEFA's 55 member associations were whittled down to 13 teams for the 2022 final tournament in Qatar.
How did it work?
There were two stages to qualifying:
Teams were split into ten groups of five or six (the four teams who reached the 2021 UEFA Nations League finals – Belgium, France, Italy, Spain – were in the smaller groups). The ten group winners qualified for the World Cup.
The three remaining World Cup berths were determined via the play-offs.
Ten teams qualified after topping their qualifying groups:
A further three teams qualified after winning play-offs:
What was the play-off schedule?
Semi-finals – Thursday 24 March 2022
Path A: Wales 2-1 Austria
Path B: Sweden 1-0 Czech Republic (aet)
Path C: Italy 0-1 North Macedonia, Portugal 3-1 Turkey
Semi-final – Wednesday 1 June 2022
Path A: Scotland 1-3 Ukraine
Finals – Tuesday 29 March 2022
Path B: Poland 2-0 Sweden
Path C: Portugal 2-0 North Macedonia
Final – Sunday 5 June 2022
Path A: Wales 1-0 Ukraine
What were the groups?
The groups were determined by a draw in Zurich on 7 December 2020.
Group A: Portugal, Serbia*, Republic of Ireland, Luxembourg, Azerbaijan
Group B: Spain*, Sweden, Greece, Georgia, Kosovo
Group C: Italy, Switzerland*, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, Lithuania
Group D: France*, Ukraine, Finland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan
Group E: Belgium*, Wales, Czech Republic, Belarus, Estonia
Group F: Denmark*, Austria, Scotland, Israel, Faroe Islands, Moldova
Group G: Netherlands*, Turkey, Norway, Montenegro, Latvia, Gibraltar
Group H: Croatia*, Slovakia, Russia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta
Group I: England*, Poland, Hungary, Albania, Andorra, San Marino
Group J: Germany*, Romania, Iceland, North Macedonia, Armenia, Liechtenstein
When did the qualifying matches take place?
Matchday 1: 24–25 March 2021
Matchday 2: 27–28 March 2021
Matchday 3: 30–31 March 2021
Matchday 4: 1–2 September 2021
Matchday 5: 4–5 September 2021
Matchday 6: 7–8 September 2021
Matchday 7: 8–9 October 2021
Matchday 8: 11–12 October 2021
Matchday 9: 11–13 November 2021
Matchday 10: 14–16 November 2021
Play-offs: 24 & 29 March 2022, 1 & 5 June 2022
When is the 2022 World Cup?
The 22nd finals in Qatar will be the first World Cup not held in May, June, or July; the tournament is instead scheduled for a reduced timeframe between 21 November to 18 December. The World Cup draw took place on Friday 1 April in Doha, Qatar.
World Cup groups
Group A: Qatar (hosts), Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands
Group B: England, Iran, United States, Wales
Group C: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland
Group D: France, Australia, Denmark, Tunisia
Group E: Spain, Costa Rica, Germany, Japan
Group F: Belgium, Canada, Morocco, Croatia
Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon
Group H: Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, Korea Republic