World Cup 2022 qualification

The World Cup 2022 qualification for Europe is played by all 55 members of UEFA. 13 teams will qualify for the final tournament in Qatar. The qualifying matches will be played from March 2021 to March 2022.

The 2022 World Cup qualification is held around the World, organized by FIFA, the football associations and participating countries. More than 800 qualifying matches are played over a period of 2.5 years. 211 countries will participate in the World Cup qualification.

The countries must qualify for the soccer World Cup through tournaments on their own continent. The number of countries on a continent that ultimately qualifies for the World Cup depends on the strength of that continent. The stronger the continent, the more countries can qualify. Qatar is automatically qualified as a host country.

2 ways to qualify for the 2022 World Cup

There are 2 ways to qualify for the 2022 World Cup, namely through the group stage and the playoffs. No country can automatically qualify, for example as a host country or as a reigning champion.

Qualifying through the group stage

In the group stage of the World Cup 2022 qualification, teams are divided into 10 groups of 5 or 6 countries each. The top 4 Nations League teams are placed in groups of 5. Ultimately, all 10 group winners will directly qualify for the World Cup in Qatar.

Qualifying through the playoffs

3 countries can qualify for the World Cup through the play-offs. The playoffs are played by the 10 numbers 2 from the group stage + 2 nations from the Nations League.

These 2 countries are the best teams according to the Nations League overall ranking, who have not become first or second in the group stage of the World Cup qualification.

The 12 countries are then divided into 3 paths, the winner of which qualifies. Each path of 4 countries consists of two semifinals and a final.

2022 World Cup qualification per football association

Below is the number of participating countries per football association and the number of countries that can qualify for the 2022 World Cup:

Association Continent Members Participants Places
AFCAFC Asia 46 46 4 or 5
CAFCAF Africa 54 53 + 1 host country 5 + 1 host country
CONCACAFCONCACAF North America 35 35 3 or 4
CSFCONMEBOL South America 10 10 4 or 5
OFCOFC Oceania 11 11 0 or 1
UEFAUEFA Europe 55 55 13
Total   211 210 + 1 host country 31 + 1 host country

Football associations World Cup 2022 qualificationAll 211 countries that are members of FIFA can participate in the qualification for the World Cup. Myanmar has to play the home games abroad. This is because Myanmar was initially excluded from participating in supporter riots during the 2014 World Cup qualifier against Oman. Zimbabwe is also excluded from participating in the 2022 World Cup because the former coach José Claudinei did not pay. Subsequently, Indonesia was also excluded because of a penalty from the Football Association of Indonesia.

Statistics World Cup qualification 2022

The 211 countries participating in the 2022 World Cup qualification is a new record. The previous record stood at 203 football countries for the 2014 World Cup.

Although Qatar has been automatically placed as a host country, it still takes part in the qualifying competitions. The host country is classified in group E, with the matches counting for the points of the other group members (Oman, Afghanistan, India and Bangladesh). The group matches of Qatar also count towards the qualification for the AFC Asia Cup.

The first time more than 100 countries participated in the qualification rounds for a World Cup was more than 30 years ago. At the time, 103 countries competed for one of the 24 places at the WK1982 in Spain.

More about the numbers and facts of the World Cup 2022 qualification.


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The World Cup 2022 qualification will be played by 55 members of UEFA from March 2021 to March 2022. 13 teams will qualify for the World Cup in Qatar.