SINGAPORE — With the dust settled on football's March international break, all eyes are now the FIFA World Cup Finals draw in Doha on Friday (1 April).
Who are the teams that have qualified for the football extravaganza, which will be held from 21 November to 18 December? How will they be drawn into the various opening groups? Here's a quick rundown:
Which countries have qualified for the 2022 World Cup Finals?
As of Thursday, 29 teams have confirmed their qualifications for the Finals. They are:
Host nation: Qatar
Asia: Iran, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Japan.
Africa: Ghana, Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco, Cameroon.
Europe: Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland.
North and Central America: Canada, Mexico, United States.
South America: Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador.
Which countries can still qualify?
There are three more places up for grabs for the World Cup Finals. They will be settled via play-offs:
Asia play-off: Australia will face the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Doha on 7 June to decide which team enter the inter-confederation play-offs.
Inter-continental play-offs: Peru will face either Australia or UAE, while New Zealand will play Costa Rica. Both matches will be played in Doha on 13 and 14 June. The two winners will qualify for the World Cup Finals.
European play-off: Due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Association of Football requested for their European play-offs semi-final tie against Scotland – originally scheduled for last week – to be postponed. The match will now be played in June, and the winner will face Wales in the play-off final to determine the final European qualifier.
How will the draw seeding and pot allocation be done?
The 29 qualified teams, two inter-continental play-off slot placeholders and the Europe play-off slot placeholder will be split into four pots of eight teams each.
Based on the FIFA World Rankings, the top seven qualified teams and host Qatar are allocated to Team Pot One. Team Pot Two will consist of the qualified teams ranked eighth to 15th, while Team Pot Three will have those ranked 16th to 23rd.
Finally, Team Pot Four will consist of the qualified teams ranked 24th to 28th, plus the two inter-continental play-off winners and the winner of the final European play-off spot.
Following the release of the latest world rankings on Thursday, the four Team Pots would look like this:
Pot 1: Qatar, Brazil, Belgium, France, Argentina, England, Spain, Portugal.
Pot 2: Mexico, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Uruguay, Switzerland, United States, Croatia.
Pot 3: Senegal, Iran, Japan, Morocco, Serbia, Poland, South Korea, Tunisia.
Pot 4: Cameroon, Canada, Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, two winners of intercontinental play-offs, winner of European play-off.
How will the teams be drawn?
Along with the four team pots, there will be eight group pots labelled A to H. Inside each group pot, there are four balls with the position numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4 for each group.
The draw starts with Team Pot One and ends with Team Pot Four. A ball is drawn from the team pot, followed by a ball from one of the group pots, determining the group which the team is drawn into.
Are there any draw constraints?
Yes, there are a few. First of all, host Qatar is pre-assigned to position A1, and thus will be in Group A.
Second, wherever possible, no group should have more than one team from the same qualifying zone drawn into it.
The exception is for Europe, which is represented by 13 teams. In this instance, a group cannot have more than two Europe teams drawn into it. This will mean that five out of the eight groups will have two European teams and the remaining three groups will have one European team each.
How can fans watch the World Cup draw?
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