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2022 FIFA World Cup qualification

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2022 FIFA World Cup qualification
Tournament details
Dates6 June 2019 – March 2022 (expected)
Teams211 (expected) (from 6 confederations)
Tournament statistics
Matches played11
Goals scored32 (2.91 per match)
Attendance53,108 (4,828 per match)
Top scorer(s)
All statistics correct as of 11 June 2019.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification process is a series of tournaments organised by the six FIFA confederations to decide 31 of the 32 teams which would play in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, with Qatar qualifying automatically as hosts. All 210 remaining FIFA member associations are eligible to enter the qualifying process.

Qualifiers opened in June 2019[1] with Mongolian player Norjmoogiin Tsedenbal scoring the first goal of qualification on 6 June 2019. Unlike previous tournaments, it was agreed that there will be no general preliminary draw, with various draws to be held separately due to "a different timeline" for various confederations.[2]

Qualified teams[edit]

Status of countries with respect to 2022 FIFA World Cup:
  Team has qualified for World Cup
  Team can qualify
  Team failed to qualify with games still to play
  Team failed to qualify with no games left to play
  Team was suspended
  Country not a FIFA member
Team Method of
Date of
Previous best
FIFA Ranking
 Qatar Host 2 December 2010 1st N/A 1 55

The 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers began in June 2019 and are expected to finish in March 2022.

Qualification process[edit]

Not all regional federations have announced their qualification process for the 2022 World Cup. All FIFA member associations, of which there are currently 211, are eligible to enter qualification. Qatar, as hosts, qualified automatically for the tournament. However, Qatar is obliged by the AFC to participate in the Asian qualifying stage as the first two rounds also act as qualification for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup. If they reach the final stage, their choice on whether to continue with World Cup qualifying is subject to FIFA approval. If the hosts choose not to compete, the next-ranked team will advance instead.[3] For the first time after the initial two tournaments of 1930 and 1934, the World Cup will be hosted by a country whose national team has never played a finals match before.[4] The reigning World Cup champions France will also go through qualifying stages as normal.[5]

The allocation of slots for each confederation was discussed by the FIFA Executive Committee on 30 May 2015 in Zürich after the FIFA Congress.[6] The committee decided that the same allocation as used in 2006, 2010 and 2014 would be kept for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments:[7]

  • CAF (Africa): 5
  • AFC (Asia): 4 or 5
  • UEFA (Europe): 13
  • CONCACAF (North and Central America and Caribbean): 3 or 4
  • OFC (Oceania): 0 or 1
  • CONMEBOL (South America): 4 or 5
  • Hosts: 1
World Map FIFA2.svg
Confederation Available slots in finals Teams started Teams eliminated Teams still playing Teams qualified Qualifying start date Qualifying next match date Qualifying end date
AFC 4 or 5 +1 45+1 6 39 0+1 6 June 2019 5 September 2019 March 2022
CAF 5 54 0 54 0 October 2019 November 2021
CONCACAF 3 or 4 35 0 35 0 September 2020 March 2022
CONMEBOL 4 or 5 10 0 10 0 March 2020 March 2022
OFC 0 or 1 11 0 11 0 2019 March 2022
UEFA 13 55 0 55 0 2020 November 2021
Total 31+1 210+1 6 204 0+1 6 June 2019 5 September 2019


The formats of the qualifying competitions depended on each confederation (see below). Each round might be played in either of the following formats:[8]

  • League format, where more than two teams formed groups to play home-and-away round-robin matches, or in exceptions permitted by the FIFA Organising Committee, single round-robin matches hosted by one of the participating teams or on neutral territory.
  • Knockout format, where two teams played home-and-away two-legged matches.


In league format, the ranking of teams in each group is based on the following criteria (regulations Articles 20.4 and 20.6):[8]

  1. Points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss)
  2. Overall goal difference
  3. Overall goals scored
  4. Points in matches between tied teams
  5. Goal difference in matches between tied teams
  6. Goals scored in matches between tied teams
  7. Away goals scored in matches between tied teams (if the tie is only between two teams in home-and-away league format)
  8. Fair play points
    • first yellow card: minus 1 point
    • indirect red card (second yellow card): minus 3 points
    • direct red card: minus 4 points
    • yellow card and direct red card: minus 5 points
  9. Drawing of lots by the FIFA Organising Committee

In cases where teams finishing in the same position across different groups are compared for determining which teams advance to the next stage, the criteria are dependent on the competition format and require the approval of FIFA (regulations Article 20.8).[8]

In knockout format, the team that has the higher aggregate score over the two legs progresses to the next round. In the event that aggregate scores finish level, the away goals rule is applied, i.e. the team that scored more goals away from home over the two legs progresses. If away goals are also equal, then thirty minutes of extra time are played, divided into two fifteen-minutes halves. The away goals rule is again applied after extra time, i.e. if there are goals scored during extra time and the aggregate score is still level, the visiting team qualifies by virtue of more away goals scored. If no goals are scored during extra time, the tie is decided by penalty shoot-out (regulations Article 20.10).[8]

Confederation qualification[edit]


The opening two rounds of qualifying will also serve as qualification for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup. Therefore, Qatar, the 2022 FIFA World Cup host, will participate in these first two rounds of qualifying.[9]

The qualification structure is as follows:[10]

  • First round: 12 teams (ranked 35–46) play home-and-away over two legs. The six winners advance to the second round.
  • Second round: 40 teams (ranked 1–34 (including Qatar as the host) and six first round winners) are divided into eight groups of five teams to play home-and-away round-robin matches. The eight group winners and the four best group runners-up advance to the third round of FIFA World Cup qualification as well as qualify for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.
  • Third round: To follow.
  • Fourth round: To follow.

Current stage (first round)[edit]

2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC First Round


CAF announced on 10 July 2019 a reversion to the format used for its 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification competition.[11]

  • First round: 28 teams (ranked 27–54) will play home-and-away over two legs. The 14 winners will advance to the second round.
  • Second round: 40 teams (teams ranked 1–26 and 14 first round winners) will be divided into 10 groups of four teams to play home-and-away round-robin matches. The 10 group winners will advance to the third round.
  • Third round: The 10 teams which will have advanced from the second round will play home-and-away over two legs. The five winners will qualify for the World Cup.


CONCACAF announced a restructured format for the qualifiers of the 2022 FIFA World Cup on 10 July 2019.[12]

  • Hexagonal group: The top 6 ranked CONCACAF teams based on the FIFA rankings of June 2020 will play home-and-away round-robin matches in one single group. The top three teams will qualify for the World Cup, and the fourth-placed team advances to a play-off against the winner of the lower-seeded knockout phase in order to advance to the inter-confederation play-offs.
  • Lower-seeded group stage and knockout phase: The remaining CONCACAF teams (ranked 7 to 35 based on the FIFA rankings of June 2020) will be divided into eight groups (five groups of four teams and three groups of three teams) to play home-and-away round-robin matches. The winners of each group will advance to a knockout phase, each of the quarterfinals, semifinals, and final to be played in a two-legged home-and-away series. The winner of the knockout phase will advance to a play-off against the fourth-placed team of the Hexagonal group in order to advance to the inter-confederation play-offs.


The CONMEBOL Council decided on 24 January 2019 to maintain the same qualification structure used for the previous six tournaments.[13] The ten teams will play in a league of home-and-away round-robin matches. The top four teams qualify for the World Cup, and the fifth-placed team advances to the inter-confederation play-offs.



The 2020–21 UEFA Nations League season will be partially linked with European qualifiers for the World Cup, similar to the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying play-offs,[14] therefore the league can provide two teams a participation in the second round of qualification.[15]

The qualifying format for the FIFA-affiliated UEFA teams will be confirmed by the UEFA Executive Committee meeting on 24 September 2019 in Ljubljana, Slovenia.[15]

  • First round (group stage): The 55 UEFA teams affiliated with FIFA at the time of the draw will be divided into ten groups (five groups of six teams and five groups of five teams) to play home-and-away round-robin matches. The winners of each group qualify for the World Cup, and the ten runners-up advance to the second round (play-offs).
  • Second round (play-offs): A possible option is the ten runners-up from the first round being joined by two teams based on Nations League performance.[15] The 12 teams will play one other team in the first stage, with the six winners entering the second stage. Both stages will be in two legs, home and away. The three second stage winners qualify for the World Cup.

Inter-confederation play-offs[edit]

There will be two inter-confederation playoffs to determine the final two qualification spots for the finals. They are scheduled to be played in March 2022.


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  1. "June kickoff for qualifiers to 2022 World Cup of 32 or 48 teams". The Malta Independent. Associated Press. 4 March 2019.
  2. "2022 World Cup: How qualifying works around the world". ESPN FC. ESPN. 25 May 2019.
  3. Palmer, Dan (31 July 2017). "Hosts Qatar to compete in qualifying for 2022 World Cup". insidethegames.biz. Dunsar Media Company. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  4. Harding, David (6 September 2017). "World Cup failure puts Qatar back in spotlight". Yahoo Sports. Agence France-Presse. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  5. "2022 World Cup odds: France favorite to repeat in Qatar; USA behind Mexico with 16th-best odds". CBSSports.com. 15 July 2018. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  6. "2022 FIFA World Cup to be played in November/December". FIFA. 20 March 2015.
  7. "Current allocation of FIFA World Cup™ confederation slots maintained". FIFA. 30 May 2015.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 "Regulations – 2022 FIFA World Cup Preliminary Competition" (PDF). FIFA. 15 March 2019.
  9. Palmer, Dan (31 July 2017). "Hosts Qatar to compete in qualifying for 2022 World Cup". insidethegames.biz. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  10. "Pakistan to learn World Cup, Asian Cup qualifying fate on April 17". Dawn.com. 22 March 2019.
  11. "CAF reverts to previous format for 2022 African World Cup qualifiers". Ahram Online. 10 July 2019.
  12. "Concacaf Announces Format for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Confederation Qualifiers". Concacaf.com.
  13. "Clasificatorio sudamericano al Mundial de Qatar arrancará en marzo del 2020" (in Spanish). Conmebol.com. 24 January 2019.CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)
  14. "UEFA Nations League format and schedule approved". UEFA.com. 4 December 2014.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 "UEFA plots 2022 World Cup qualifying path via Nations League". The Washington Post. Associated Press. 4 June 2019. Retrieved 13 June 2019.

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