With a year to go to the start of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, Lionel Messi's Argentina became the latest former champions to book a ticket. Argentina played out a goalless draw with bitter rivals Brazil to secure the berth from South America. Brazil, England, Germany, France and Spain are other former champions to have qualified for the 22nd World Cup. (More Football News)
As the first qualification phase for the 2022 World Cup nears its conclusion, here's a look at the confederation-wise qualified teams and others who can make the trip to Qatar. FIFA World Cup 2022 is scheduled to take place between November 21 and December 18.
Possibly for the last time, 32 teams will compete in the biggest single-sport event in the world with FIFA already at work to expand the global tournament to 48 teams for the 2026 World Cup edition, which will be played in the United States, Mexico and Canada.
Qualifying matches for the World Cup 2022 are played on FIFA matchdays. The latest matchday (8) was November 16, 2021. And the remaining matchdays for the qualifiers are -- January 27 (9), January 30 (10). February 2 (11), March 24 (12), March 27 (13) and March 30 (14), 2022.
So, which national teams have qualified so far for Qatar 2022?
UEFA will send the most number of teams (13) to World Cup. 10 group winners from the European Qualifiers get direct qualification spots, with the final three places coming through the play-offs. There are ten groups. The play-offs feature the 10 group runners-up and the two best-ranked group winners from the Nations League, who failed to get a direct spot or finish second.
Teams Qualified (10): Germany (Group J winners), Denmark (Group F winners), France (Group D winners), Belgium (Group E winners), Croatia (Group H winners), Spain (Group B winners), Serbia (Group A winners), England (Group I winners), Switzerland (Group C winners), Netherlands (Group G winners)
Teams in play-offs: Portugal (Group A), Sweden (B), Italy (C), Ukraine (D), Wales (E), Scotland (F), Turkey (G), Russia (H), Poland (I), and North Macedonia (J).
Teams still contention for qualification, via Nations League: Italy, Wales, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Montenegro, Albania, Armenia, Gibraltar, Faroe Islands.
Five teams can qualify from Africa. After the first round, featuring by 28 teams, 14 teams entered the second round, where the top 26 continental teams joined them in ten groups. Which teams make the trip to Qatar will only be known in 2022, after the third and final round of African Qualifiers. The ten teams that have qualified for next year's play-offs are: Algeria (A), Tunisia (B), Nigeria (C), Cameroon (D), Mali (E), Egypt (F), Ghana (G), Senegal (H), Morocco (I) and DR Congo (J).
These ten teams will fight for five available slots over two legs, the usual home-away fixtures. Who plays whom in the third round will be decided in a draw.
South America (CONMEBOL)
Four South American teams will get a direct berth, with the fifth-place team in the 10-team South American Qualifiers getting a chance through the inter-confederation play-offs, versus a team from another confederation. The two-legged play-offs are scheduled for June 22.
Teams Qualified (2): Brazil and Argentina.
Other teams competing in the CONMEBOL qualifiers are Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Four Asian teams will get a direct berth. One more team can earn a World Cup ticket through the inter-confederation play-off. Hosts Qatar got the automatic qualification. So in theory, the 2022 edition can have six Asian teams taking part.
Teams Qualified (1): Qatar as the hosts.
The first two teams in each group of six teams each in the third round will qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2022. And the two third-placed teams in the third round face-off to earn the right to play in the inter-confederation play-off. It will be single-match fixtures.
Teams in the third round are:
Group A - Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, South Korea, Syria and the United Arab Emirates.
Group B - Australia, China, Japan, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam.
North and Central America, and the Caribbean (CONCACAF)
Three teams from the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) get direct World Cup 2022 slots, with one getting a chance via the inter-confederation play-off.
Eight teams -- five top teams (ranked 1 to 5 based on the FIFA rankings of July 2020, and the three winners of the second round -- will compete in the third round with the top-three teams getting direct qualifications. The fourth-placed team will advance to the inter-confederation play-offs.
The eight teams are: Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama and the United States.
There's one inter-confederation play-off slot available for the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC). 11 teams will compete in the first round with the top four making the second stage -- a two-legged knock-out. The two winners then play the final.
11 teams are: American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Tonga and Vanuatu.
The lineup of 32 national football teams for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar will be complete by the end of March 2022.