This week is a pivotal one in terms of the 2022 World Cup Finals in Qatar. Not only will the main qualification competitions for all the different federations end, apart from a couple of postponed games, and some inter-conference playoffs to decide the final spots at the World Cup in June, but the draw for the Finals will take place on Friday.
After this, the teams that have qualified will know which three teams they will be facing at the finals in the group stage, which start in late November this year and they will be able to plot a potential route to the final based on who their prospective opponents could be in the Knockout Stage of the tournament right through to the final.
It is always an exciting time for teams that have qualified, but before this week only around half the teams had confirmed their place in the finals. Now though, we know who the vast majority of teams that have qualified are thanks to results this week.
Let’s now take a look at the situation regarding qualifying in full before we take a look at the latest World Cup Odds with bet365 Sport, as well as a preview of Friday’s massive draw in Qatar.
Let’s start with a look at how things stand closest to home, in Europe.
European World Cup Qualifying
You may recall that we took a look at the World Cup Playoffs in Europe a little while back but that was before Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, which saw Russia expelled from the tournament and the Scotland v Ukraine playoff tie postponed until June.
However, other Playoff games did take place this past week and we now know that from Path B, Poland have qualified after beating Sweden 2-0 in the Path B final.
They will be joined in the finals by Portugal who won through Path C after beating the surprise finalists North Macedonia, who had beaten Italy in the semifinal just a few days beforehand, to claim a finals berth.
In Path A, Wales defeated Austria 2-1 in Cardiff and they will host the winner of the Scotland v Ukraine game in mid-June, with the postponed game between the Scots and Ukrainians set to be played a few days before that date in Cardiff in the summer.
This means the following teams have qualified from Europe.
European World Cup Qualifiers
Ten Group Winners
World Cup Playoff Winners
- Wales or Scotland or Ukraine
The two-legged final playoff games to decide the five qualifiers from Africa for the finals were contested over the past week or so and we now know which five teams will represent the continent in Qatar this winter.
The results of the first and second leg games between the teams were as follows:
First Leg Games
- Egypt 1-0 Senegal
- Cameroon 0-1 Algeria
- Ghana 0-0 Nigeria
- D.R.Congo 1-1 Morocco
- Mali 0-1 Tunisia
Second Leg Games
- Nigeria 1-1 Ghana (1-1 on aggregate – Ghana win on away goals rule)
- Senegal 1-0 Egypt (1-1 on aggregate – Senegal win 3-1 on penalties)
- Algeria 1-2 Cameroon (2-2 on aggregate – Cameroon win on away goals rule)
- Morocco 4-1 D.R.Congo (5-2 on aggregate – Morocco qualify)
- Tunisia 0-0 Mali (1-0 on aggregare – Tunisia qualify)
Therefore Ghana, Senegal, Cameroon, Morocco and Tunisia will be in the draw for the World Cup Finals Group Stage on Friday.
The final set of Third Round Group games were played this week and we now know that Saudi Arabia and Japan from Group B will join Iran and South Korea from Group A as definitely being in the draw for the World Cup Group Stage on Friday.
However, there will be a playoff in June between Australia and the United Arab Emirates for a place in the Inter-Conference game a week or so later against the team that finished in fifth place in the South American qualifying group, which was Peru.
The winners of the Oceania final qualifying game between the Solomon Islands and New Zealand will head into an inter-conference qualifier in June to take on the team that finishes fourth in the North and Central American qualifying campaign.
The game between the Solomon Islands and New Zealand will be played today, kick off at 6pm.
The final games in the South American lengthy qualifying campaign have now been played and it is now confirmed that Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Ecuador have qualified directly for the finals.
Peru pipped Colombia to the fifth-place spot in the table and that means that they will face an Inter-Conference playoff in June against either Australia or United Arab Emirates for a place in the World Cup Finals.
North & Central America
There is still plenty to play for in the North And Central American qualifying, although in truth, it is going to take a rather unusual set of result to change things a great deal as they stand.
Canada have qualified from the group and will be one of the three direct qualifiers from the final round of games in CONCACAF qualifying.
At the moment, the USA and Mexico hold onto the other two automatic qualifying spots. Mexico need just a point to be assured of qualifying, while the United States just need to avoid a defeat of 6-0 or worse in their final game against fourth-placed Costa Rica, in order for the US to qualify.
It is unlikely Costa Rica will move up from fourth, but they are assured of at least finishing in that position in the table which would guarantee then an Inter-Conference playoff game against the Oceania qualifying winner (either New Zealand or the Solomon Islands) in June.
So Who Is Confirmed For Qatar 2022?
The full list of the 27 teams confirmed for Qatar 2022 are as follows:
- Hosts (1) – Qatar
- Europe (12) – Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Croatia, England, Germany, Poland, Portugal,
- South America (4) – Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador
- Africa (5) – Senegal, Ghana, Morocco, Tunisia, Cameroon.
- North & Central America (1) – Canada
- Asia (4) – Iran, Saudi Arabia, Japan, South Korea
Tonight’s games in the North And Central American qualifiers will also decide which two from the United States, Mexico and Costa Rica go through to the finals. We will also discover which Oceania team reaches the Inter Conference Playoff Final in June later today.
By tomorrow, we will know 29 of the 32 teams in the finals and the remaining teams will be decided by the following fixtures scheduled for June.
European World Cup Playoffs – Path A
- Scotland v Ukraine (Glasgow)
- Wales v winner of Scotland v Ukraine (Cardiff)
Asian Third Place Playoff
- Australia v United Arab Emirates
- USA/Mexico or Costa Rica v New Zealand or Solomon Islands
- Australia or UAE v Peru
How Will The World Cup Draw Progress On Friday?
By Friday, 29 of the 32 World Cup Qualifiers will be known, with the remaining teams set to be decided in June, as such the teams that could still qualify will be entered into the draw with the winner of that qualification route taking up the spot at the World Cup Finals.
The draw will be made in Doha, Qatar at 5pm UK Time.
The 29 known qualifiers will be allotted into one of four pots, based on their ranking.
The 3 teams still to know their fate that are involved in June’s playoff games will be placed in Pot Four with the lowest ranked nations.
Teams cannot be drawn into a group with another team from their qualifying confederation, apart from European teams which can have no more than two European teams in the same group.
Qatar have already been allocated the position of one team in Group A. Seven more seeds from Pot One of the highest seeds will be drawn.
Pot Two will contain the next eight highest seeds, Pot three the next eight after that and finally Pot Four will contain the remaining lower ranked teams and the teams still to qualify via the remaining playoffs.
What We Know So Far?
With Qatar being allocated a spot in Group A, Pot One will have just seven teams in it and based on the FIFA rankings, those seven teams will be:
Based on the ranking positions, the eight teams in Pot Two will be:
- Mexico or Senegal
- USA or Senegal
If the Mexico (12th) and USA (13th) qualify then they will be placed in Pot Two of the draw. However, if Costa Rica (42) qualify then Senegal (18) will be placed in Pot Two along with either the US or Mexico depending on who finishes second in that qualification group.
Pot Three is where the permutations based on the games still to be played become more difficult to figure out, but it looks likely that the following teams could be in Pot Three.
- Senegal (if not elevated to Pot 2)
- South Korea
The teams that will be in Pot 4 will likely be:
- Saudi Arabia
- Australia/UAE or Peru
- New Zealand/Solomon Islands or USA/Mexico or Costa Rica
- Wales or Scotland/Ukraine
Group Of Dreams / Group Of Death
Looking at the draw structure, the best possible outcome for a Pot 1 team like England would be a group comprising of USA/Senegal or Mexico, along with Iran from Pot 3 and Saudi Arabia or Peru or Costa Rica or someone similar from Pot 4.
However a much tougher prospect could see Germany or Netherlands from Pot 2, Senegal from Pot 3 and Ecuador from Pot 4.
Tune in from Friday to see how the draw pans out and who your favourites will be facing later this year.
Latest World Cup Winner Odds
Bet365 is offering the following odds on the Outright Winner market for the World Cup.
- Brazil – 5/1 favourites
- France – 6/1
- England, Spain – 7/1
- Germany – 9/1
- Argentina, Belgium – 10/1
- Portugal – 14/1
- Netherlands – 16/1
- Denmark 25/1
- 66/1 bar
Germany at 9/1 are tempting but I feel England will go well again in this tournament and could be worth a shout at 7/1.