Qatar World Cup 2022 qualification: Who’s in, Who’s out & Who’s in play-offs

With one year to go until the 2022 World Cup gets under way in Qatar, several nations have now booked their place – while others must face a nervous wait.

A dramatic final round of fixtures in European qualifying drew to a close on Tuesday, with reigning world champions France and Gareth Southgate’s England among those to secure their spots.

However, there will be some big names in Europe’s play-off deciders in March – plus there’s plenty still yet to be decided around the rest of the world, with 13 of the 32 spots now taken.

The 13 spots have been taken by; Belgium, France, Spain, Croatia, Denmark, England, Germany, Netherlands, Serbia, Switzerland, Brazil, Argentina and hosts Qatar.

Who has qualified from Europe?

European Championship runners-up England qualified for the 2022 World Cup as one of 10 group winners, sealing top spot in style by thrashing San Marino 10-0 in their final Group I game on Friday.

Also heading to the World Cup are 2018 winners France, while BelgiumDenmark and Germany all safely navigated their groups as well.

Ronaldo’s Portugal will need to earn a place via the play-offs

It was not all straightforward for Europe’s heavyweights, however.

There were some crucial top-of-the-table deciders in the final round of fixtures, with Serbia scoring a 90th-minute winner to pip Portugal to first place, and both Spain and Croatia netting late on to edge their respective closest challengers Sweden and Russia.

In a thrilling conclusion to qualifying, Switzerland also took full advantage of Italy’s draw against Northern Ireland to take Group C on Monday, while on Tuesday the Netherlands emerged victorious from a closely contested Group G.

Who is in play-offs, when are they and how do they work?

Joining those 10 group winners in Qatar will be three other European nations, who will come from the 10 runners-up and two Nations League teams in the play-offs.

Wales and Scotland must go via this route but they will be joined by some surprising names.

Scotland’s superb closing victory over Denmark ensured they will be one of the six seeded sides granted a home draw for the play-offs, which take place next March, while Wales earned a precious draw against the world’s number one ranked side Belgium to secure a home draw of their own.

European champions Italy and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, as well as Sweden and Russia, join Scotland and Wales as the seeded play-off nations.

They could face Poland, who finished six points behind Euro 2020 finalists England, North MacedoniaTurkey and Ukraine – who all sealed runners-up spots – plus the Czech Republic and Austria courtesy of their Nations League performances.

The play-offs will begin with six single-leg semi-final matches played between 24 and 25 March 2022.

The six semi-finals are split into three paths, leading to three play-off finals – also decided by a single match – which will take place between 28 and 29 March.

Who has qualified from the rest of the world?

That’s just Europe. What about the rest of the world? Brazil became the first South American nation to qualify for the 2022 World Cup, doing so with six qualifiers to play following a 1-0 win over Colombia on Friday.

World Cup trophy

Copa America champions Argentina joined their rivals in qualifying after a goalless draw against Brazil at home and results elsewhere secured their spot on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Ecuador are six points clear of Colombia and Peru in the race to guarantee qualification with a top-four finish.

Canada, the United States and Mexico occupy the top three automatic qualification places in the race to decide which North American, Central American and the Caribbean nations will be present in Qatar.

Canada went top after beating Mexico 2-1 on Tuesday, while USA drew 1-1 with Jamaica and Panama’s 2-1 win over El-Salvador saw them draw level with Mexico on 14 points, behind only on goal difference in the inter-confederation play-off spot.

In Asia, where qualifying will resume in January, 16 points from a possible 18 ensure Saudi Arabia top a difficult Group B – which also includes Japan, in second, and third-placed Australia.

Messi’s Argentina is in

Over in Group A the top two have a significant margin with Iran, who have also dropped just two points, leading South Korea. Meanwhile, Qatar automatically qualify as hosts.

Finally, in Africa, five qualification places will be decided by five two-legged play-off matches due to take place in March.

Mohamed Salah’s Egypt will be one of the sides involved, as will Algeria, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia.



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