December 07, 2020

European World Cup 2022 Qualifying Draw

The much anticipated December 7th draw for the European section of the World Cup 2022 qualifiers is here. Hosted in Zurich as a live-stream event, fans will be able to watch from 6 pm (local time) to find out when and against whom their teams must play to win a place at the tournament in Qatar in two years.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the event at the FIFA headquarters in Switzerland will be hosted virtually. It will not include any member associations’ representatives - making it a more muted affair than usual.

However, by the end of the evening, the European qualifiers will be on course for the 2022 games with the first three matchdays scheduled for March 2021.

How the Draw Works

The 55 European teams, competing for one of 13 available places at the 2022 games, have been seeded into six pots according to their FIFA ranking (as of November 26th ‘20). The ten highest-ranked teams have been assigned to Pot 1 and so on through to Pot 5, with Pot 6 containing the five lowest-ranked teams.

Pot Seedings

Pot 1: 

Belgium, France, England, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands.

Pot 2: 

Switzerland, Wales, Poland, Sweden, Austria, Ukraine, Serbia, Turkey, Slovakia, Romania.

Pot 3: 

Russia, Hungary, Republic of Ireland, Czech Republic, Norway, Northern Ireland, Iceland, Scotland, Greece, Finland.

Pot 4:

Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, Israel, Belarus, Georgia, Luxembourg.

Pot 5: 

Armenia, Cyprus, Faroe Islands, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Lithuania, Latvia, Andorra.

Pot 6: 

Malta, Moldova, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar, San Marino.

The draw will split those fifty-five teams into ten groups - drawing one from each pot to make five groups of six teams and five groups of five teams.

The Qualifiers

Teams in each group will play each other during the European Qualifiers tournament, to be held over ten matchdays from March ‘21 to November ‘21. The 10 group winners will advance directly to the 2022 competition in Qatar. A further three places will be available to the 10 group runners-up, plus the two best 2020/21 UEFA Nations League group winners*. 

The last three 2022 slots will be contested via play-off matches (two rounds of single-leg elimination games) to determine the continent’s final three. The playoffs will be held during the March ‘22 international window.

To find out how the UEFA Nations League group runners up are eligible for the World Cup qualifiers, read our Understanding the UEFA Nations League and its Link to the World Cup 2022 article.

Published: December 07, 2020
Last updated: December 07, 2020
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