The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be the 22nd since the tournament’s inception in 1930 and the first held in the Gulf states.
This year’s tournament will be the last tournament to feature 32 teams, with hosts Qatar plus holders France, Germany, Denmark, Brazil, Belgium, Croatia, Spain, Serbia, England, Switzerland, Netherlands, Argentina, Iran and South Korea already qualified.
Qualifying hots up
We are now entering the final round of qualifying for teams across the confederations.
The last two places will be settled via intercontinental play-offs in June.
Qatar are due to play in the opening game at the Al Bayt stadium in Al Khor, with the opponent still TBC after all qualifying rounds are complete.
Former Barcelona academy manager Felix Sanchez is currently in charge of the host nation, who will be looking to make a big impression on their World Cup debut.
The group stage will run until Friday, December 2 with the first of the knockout games starting the following day on Saturday, December 3.
The final will take place a week before Christmas, at the Lusail Stadium in Doha, on December 18.
Four-time World Cup winners Germany were the first team to qualify for this year’s World Cup, topping a group which contained Romania, Armenia and Iceland.
Euro 2020 finalists England again secured automatic qualification by finishing first in their group, whilst Wales and Scotland must go through the play-offs.
Italy and Portugal will also play each other in a mouth-watering clash if they win their respective semi-finals against North Macedonia and Turkey respectively.
Brazil and Argentina are already qualified from the CONMEBOL section, with Uruguay, Ecuador, Peru and Colombia all still in contention for the remaining South American qualifying spots.
The fifth-placed team from South America will face a fourth-placed team from the Asian Football Confederation to confirm the final qualifier on June 13 or 14 in Qatar.
While other confederations’ qualifying journeys are nearing an end after months of twists and turns, Oceana’s eight hopefuls are only now preparing to start out on the road to Qatar.
The OFC preliminary competition will be played in a mini-tournament format featuring eight teams and consisting of a round-robin group stage, semi-finals and final, all to be played in Doha.
The winner will represent Oceania in the FIFA intercontinental play-off matches in June against the fourth-placed team from the Concacaf zone.
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