The countdown to the Qatar 2022 World Cup has begun. The draw for the showpiece tournament will be held today at 4pm GMT in Doha, more than seven months before the event kicks off on November 21.
As is customary, the tournament will run for roughly a month with the final held on Sunday, December 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 is 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 today’s group-stage draw.
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.
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 still eight nations around the world that can qualify to Qatar 2022. They will be battling for the remaining spots in June.
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.
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 would not 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.
The draw will be attended by 2,000 guests and will be led by Carli Lloyd, Jermaine Jenas and Samantha Johnson, assisted by the likes of Cafu (Brazil), Lothar Matthaus (Germany), Adel Ahmed MalAllah (Qatar), Ali Daei (IR Iran), Bora Milutinovic (Serbia/Mexico), Jay-Jay Okocha (Nigeria), Rabah Madjer (Algeria) and Tim Cahill (Australia). – sportingnews.com