2022 FIFA World Cup qualification (UEFA)

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2022 FIFA World Cup qualification (UEFA)
UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying.png
Tournament details
Dates24 March 2021 – 29 March 2022
Teams55 (from 1 confederation)
2018
2026

The European section of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification will act as qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, to be held in Qatar, for national teams that are members of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).[1] A total of 13 slots in the final tournament are available for UEFA teams.[2]

Entrants[edit]

All 55 FIFA-affiliated national teams from UEFA will enter qualification.

On 9 December 2019, the World Anti-Doping Agency initially handed Russia a four-year ban from all major sporting events, after RUSADA was found non-compliant for handing over manipulated lab data to investigators.[3] However, the Russia national team could still enter qualification, as the ban only applies to the final tournament to decide the world champions. The WADA ruling allowed athletes who were not involved in doping or the coverup to compete, but prohibited the use of the Russian flag and anthem at major international sporting events.[4] An appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport was filed,[5] but WADA's decision was upheld and reduced to a two-year ban.[6] The CAS ruling also allowed the name "Russia" to be displayed on uniforms if the words "Neutral Athlete" or "Neutral Team" have equal prominence.[7] If Russia qualifies for the tournament, its players will not be able to use their country's name alone, flag or anthem at the World Cup, as a result of the nation's two-year ban from world championships and Olympic Games in all sports.[7]

Format[edit]

The qualification format was confirmed by the UEFA Executive Committee during their meeting in Nyon, Switzerland on 4 December 2019.[8][9] The qualification will depend, in part, on results from the 2020–21 UEFA Nations League, although to a lesser degree than UEFA Euro 2020. The structure will maintain UEFA's usual 'group stage/playoff stage' structure, with only the specific format of the play-offs amended.[10][11][12]

  • Group stage: 10 groups of 5 or 6 teams (with the 4 teams that make the 2021 UEFA Nations League Finals put into the smaller groups) with group winners qualifying for the World Cup finals.
  • Play-off stage: The 10 group runners-up would be joined by the best 2 Nations League group winners, based on the Nations League overall ranking, that finished outside the top two of their qualifying group. These 12 teams will be drawn into three play-off paths, playing two rounds of single-match play-offs (semi-finals and finals, with the home teams to be drawn), with the 3 path winners qualifying for the World Cup.

The UEFA Executive Committee also approved the use of the video assistant referee system for the qualifiers.[10]

Schedule[edit]

Below is the schedule of the European qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.[9]

In March 2020, UEFA announced that the two matchdays planned to take place in June 2021 would be moved following the rescheduling of UEFA Euro 2020 to June and July 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[13] To allow for the completion of the qualifying group stage in November 2021 as scheduled, UEFA announced on 24 September 2020 that the March and September 2021 windows in the FIFA International Match Calendar were expanded from two to three matchdays.[14][15] The changes to the International Match Calendar for March and September 2021, which extended each window by one day, were approved by the FIFA Council on 4 December 2020.[16]

Round Matchday Dates
First round
(group stage)
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
Second round
(play-offs)
Semi-finals 24–25 March 2022
Finals 28–29 March 2022

The original schedule of the qualifying group stage, as planned before the pandemic, was as follows.[9]

Original group stage schedule
Matchday Dates
Matchday 1 25–27 March 2021
Matchday 2 28–30 March 2021
Matchday 3 4–5 June 2021
Matchday 4 7–8 June 2021
Matchday 5 2–4 September 2021
Matchday 6 5–7 September 2021
Matchday 7 7–9 October 2021
Matchday 8 10–12 October 2021
Matchday 9 11–13 November 2021
Matchday 10 14–16 November 2021

First round[edit]

Seeding[edit]

The draw for the first round (group stage) was held in Zürich, Switzerland on 7 December 2020, 18:00 CET (UTC+1).[17][18][19][20][21][22] However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the draw was held as a virtual event without any representatives of member associations present. It was originally planned to be held on 29 November 2020.[23] On 18 June 2020, the UEFA Executive Committee approved the draw regulations for the qualifying group stage.[24] The draw was presented by Spanish journalist Cristina Gullón and conducted by FIFA's acting director of competitions, Jaime Yarza.[25] He was assisted by former footballers Daniele De Rossi and Rafael van der Vaart, who drew the balls from the pots.[26]

The 55 teams were seeded into six pots based on the FIFA World Rankings of November 2020, after the conclusion of the league phase of the 2020–21 UEFA Nations League. Pots 1 to 5 contained ten teams, while Pot 6 contained five teams. The teams were drawn into ten groups: five groups of five teams (Groups A–E) and five groups of six teams (Groups F–J). The draw started with Pot 1 and completed with Pot 6, from where a team was drawn and assigned to the first available group in alphabetical order. Therefore, each six-team group contains one team from each of the six pots, while each five-team group contains one team from each of the first five pots.[27]

The following restrictions were applied with computer assistance:[15][28][29]

  • Nations League finalists: The four teams participating in the 2021 UEFA Nations League Finals (Belgium, France, Italy and Spain) were drawn into a group with five teams (Groups A–E). Additionally, a group could contain a maximum of one Nations League finalist, but all four teams were in the same pot for the draw.
  • Prohibited clashes: For political reasons, matches between following pairs of teams were considered prohibited clashes, unable to be drawn into the same group: Kosovo / Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo / Serbia, Kosovo / Russia, Russia / Ukraine. (Armenia / Azerbaijan and Gibraltar / Spain were also identified as prohibited clashes, but the teams in the former pair were in the same pot for the draw, while the teams in the latter pair were restricted to different-sized groups based on draw pots and conditions.)
  • Winter venues: A maximum of two teams whose venues are identified as having high or medium risk of severe winter conditions could be placed in each group: Belarus, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Russia, Ukraine.
    • The two "hard winter venues" (Faroe Islands and Iceland) generally cannot host games in March or November, and therefore could not be drawn together; the others shall play as few home matches as possible in March and November.
  • Excessive travel: A maximum of one pair of teams identified with excessive travel distance in relation to other countries could be placed in each group:
    • Azerbaijan: with Iceland, Gibraltar, Portugal.
    • Iceland: with Armenia, Cyprus, Georgia, Israel.
    • Kazakhstan: with England, France, Gibraltar, Iceland, Malta, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Wales. (Andorra and Faroe Islands were also identified with Kazakhstan for excessive travel distance, but the teams were in the same pot for the draw.)

Teams were allocated to seeding pots as follows (November 2020 FIFA Rankings shown in second column).[30][31]

Pot 1
Team Rank
 Belgium 1
 France 2
 England 4
 Portugal 5
 Spain 6
 Italy 10
 Croatia 11
 Denmark 12
 Germany 13
 Netherlands 14
Pot 2
Team Rank
  Switzerland 16
 Wales 18
 Poland 19
 Sweden 20
 Austria 23
 Ukraine 24
 Serbia 30
 Turkey 32
 Slovakia 33
 Romania 37
Pot 3
Team Rank
 Russia 39
 Hungary 40
 Republic of Ireland 42
 Czech Republic 42
 Norway 44
 Northern Ireland 45
 Iceland 46
 Scotland 48
 Greece 53
 Finland 54
Pot 4
Team Rank
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 55
 Slovenia 62
 Montenegro 63
 North Macedonia 65
 Albania 66
 Bulgaria 68
 Israel 87
 Belarus 88
 Georgia 89
 Luxembourg 98
Pot 5
Team Rank
 Armenia 99
 Cyprus 100
 Faroe Islands 107
 Azerbaijan 109
 Estonia 109
 Kosovo 117
 Kazakhstan 122
 Lithuania 129
 Latvia 136
 Andorra 151
Pot 6
Team Rank
 Malta 176
 Moldova 177
 Liechtenstein 181
 Gibraltar 195
 San Marino 210

Groups[edit]

The fixture list was confirmed by UEFA on 8 December 2020, the day following the draw.[32][33][34] Qatar are partnered with the five-team Group A, which enables the 2022 World Cup hosts to play centralised friendlies against these countries on their "spare" match dates. However, these friendlies do not count in the qualifying group standings.[35][36]

Group A[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification Portugal Serbia Republic of Ireland Luxembourg Azerbaijan
1  Portugal 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup 14 Nov 1 Sep 12 Oct 24 Mar
2  Serbia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to second round 27 Mar 24 Mar 4 Sep 12 Oct
3  Republic of Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 11 Nov 7 Sep 27 Mar 4 Sep
4  Luxembourg 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 30 Mar 9 Oct 14 Nov 1 Sep
5  Azerbaijan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 Sep 30 Mar 9 Oct 11 Nov
First match(es) will be played on 24 March 2021. Source: FIFA, UEFA

Group B[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification Spain Sweden Greece Georgia (country) Kosovo
1  Spain 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup 14 Nov 25 Mar 5 Sep 31 Mar
2  Sweden 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to second round 2 Sep 12 Oct 25 Mar 9 Oct
3  Greece 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 11 Nov 8 Sep 31 Mar 14 Nov
4  Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 28 Mar 11 Nov 9 Oct 2 Sep
5  Kosovo 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 Sep 28 Mar 5 Sep 12 Oct
First match(es) will be played on 25 March 2021. Source: FIFA, UEFA

Group C[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification Italy Switzerland Northern Ireland Bulgaria Lithuania
1  Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup 12 Nov 25 Mar 2 Sep 8 Sep
2   Switzerland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to second round 5 Sep 9 Oct 15 Nov 28 Mar
3  Northern Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 15 Nov 8 Sep 31 Mar 12 Nov
4  Bulgaria 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 28 Mar 25 Mar 12 Oct 5 Sep
5  Lithuania 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 31 Mar 12 Oct 2 Sep 9 Oct
First match(es) will be played on 25 March 2021. Source: FIFA, UEFA

Group D[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification France Ukraine Finland Bosnia and Herzegovina Kazakhstan
1  France 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup 24 Mar 7 Sep 1 Sep 13 Nov
2  Ukraine 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to second round 4 Sep 28 Mar 12 Oct 31 Mar
3  Finland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 16 Nov 9 Oct 24 Mar 4 Sep
4  Bosnia and Herzegovina 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 31 Mar 16 Nov 13 Nov 7 Sep
5  Kazakhstan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 28 Mar 1 Sep 12 Oct 9 Oct
First match(es) will be played on 24 March 2021. Source: FIFA, UEFA

Group E[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification Belgium Wales Czech Republic Belarus Estonia
1  Belgium 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup 24 Mar 5 Sep 30 Mar 13 Nov
2  Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to second round 16 Nov 30 Mar 13 Nov 8 Sep
3  Czech Republic 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 27 Mar 8 Oct 2 Sep 16 Nov
4  Belarus 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 Sep 5 Sep 11 Oct 27 Mar
5  Estonia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 Sep 11 Oct 24 Mar 8 Oct
First match(es) will be played on 24 March 2021. Source: FIFA, UEFA

Group F[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification Denmark Austria Scotland Israel Faroe Islands Moldova
1  Denmark 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup 12 Oct 1 Sep 7 Sep 12 Nov 28 Mar
2  Austria 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to second round 31 Mar 7 Sep 12 Nov 28 Mar 15 Nov
3  Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 15 Nov 25 Mar 9 Oct 31 Mar 4 Sep
4  Israel 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 25 Mar 4 Sep 28 Mar 15 Nov 12 Oct
5  Faroe Islands 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 Sep 9 Oct 12 Oct 1 Sep 7 Sep
6  Moldova 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 Oct 1 Sep 12 Nov 31 Mar 25 Mar
First match(es) will be played on 25 March 2021. Source: FIFA, UEFA

Group G[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification Netherlands Turkey Norway Montenegro Latvia Gibraltar
1  Netherlands 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup 7 Sep 16 Nov 4 Sep 27 Mar 11 Oct
2  Turkey 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to second round 24 Mar 8 Oct 1 Sep 30 Mar 13 Nov
3  Norway 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 Sep 27 Mar 11 Oct 13 Nov 7 Sep
4  Montenegro 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 13 Nov 16 Nov 30 Mar 7 Sep 27 Mar
5  Latvia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 Oct 11 Oct 4 Sep 24 Mar 1 Sep
6  Gibraltar 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 30 Mar 4 Sep 24 Mar 8 Oct 16 Nov
First match(es) will be played on 24 March 2021. Source: FIFA, UEFA

Group H[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification Croatia Slovakia Russia Slovenia Cyprus Malta
1  Croatia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup 11 Oct 14 Nov 7 Sep 27 Mar 30 Mar
2  Slovakia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to second round 4 Sep 30 Mar 11 Nov 7 Sep 27 Mar
3  Russia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 Sep 8 Oct 27 Mar 11 Nov 7 Sep
4  Slovenia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 24 Mar 1 Sep 11 Oct 14 Nov 4 Sep
5  Cyprus 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 Oct 24 Mar 4 Sep 30 Mar 11 Oct
6  Malta 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 11 Nov 14 Nov 24 Mar 8 Oct 1 Sep
First match(es) will be played on 24 March 2021. Source: FIFA, UEFA

Group I[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification England Poland Hungary Albania Andorra San Marino
1  England 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup 31 Mar 12 Oct 12 Nov 5 Sep 25 Mar
2  Poland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to second round 8 Sep 15 Nov 2 Sep 28 Mar 9 Oct
3  Hungary 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 Sep 25 Mar 9 Oct 8 Sep 12 Nov
4  Albania 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 28 Mar 12 Oct 5 Sep 15 Nov 8 Sep
5  Andorra 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 Oct 12 Nov 31 Mar 25 Mar 2 Sep
6  San Marino 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 15 Nov 5 Sep 28 Mar 31 Mar 12 Oct
First match(es) will be played on 25 March 2021. Source: FIFA, UEFA

Group J[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification Germany Romania Iceland North Macedonia Armenia Liechtenstein
1  Germany 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup 8 Oct 25 Mar 31 Mar 5 Sep 11 Nov
2  Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Advance to second round 28 Mar 11 Nov 25 Mar 11 Oct 5 Sep
3  Iceland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 Sep 2 Sep 5 Sep 8 Oct 11 Oct
4  North Macedonia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 11 Oct 8 Sep 14 Nov 2 Sep 28 Mar
5  Armenia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 14 Nov 31 Mar 28 Mar 11 Nov 8 Sep
6  Liechtenstein 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 Sep 14 Nov 31 Mar 8 Oct 25 Mar
First match(es) will be played on 25 March 2021. Source: FIFA, UEFA

Second round[edit]

The second round (play-offs) will be contested by the ten group runners-up and the best two Nations League group winners, based on the Nations League overall ranking,[37] that finished outside the top two of their qualifying group. They will be separated into three play-off paths, with each path featuring two single-leg semi-finals and one single-leg final. The semi-finals will be hosted by the six best-ranked runners-up of the qualifying group stage, while the host of the final will be determined by a draw.[38] The semi-finals will be played on 24–25 March, and the finals on 28–29 March 2022. The winners of each path will qualify for the World Cup.

Nations League group winners[edit]

UNL Group winner Rank
A  France 1–4
 Belgium
 Italy
 Spain
B  Wales 17
 Austria 18
 Czech Republic 19
 Hungary 20
C  Slovenia 33
 Montenegro 34
 Albania 35
 Armenia 36
D  Gibraltar 49
 Faroe Islands 50

References[edit]

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External links[edit]