The anticipated World Cup in Qatar is slowly taking shape with the qualifiers coming to a close. Several big nations have already booked their places in the tournament, which is slightly a year away. In Europe, the qualifying fixtures came to a close on Tuesday, November 16, with reigning champions France and England securing their slots in the tournament. There is however still much to be decided as far as qualification is concerned around the world, with some other big nations such as Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal being thrust into the playoffs.
Portugal somehow found themselves in the playoffs after a last-minute winner from Serbia on Sunday saw Fernando Santos’s side succumb to a shock 2-1 defeat when they only needed a draw to secure their ticket. The likes of Belgium, Denmark, and Germany safely navigated their groups. Switzerland also took full advantage of Italy’s slip up against Northern Ireland as they secured their ticket at the expense of the Azzurri, who recently won the Euro 2020.The Netherlands also made a return to the World Cup after topping a hotly-contested Group G in the qualifiers. So far, these are the teams that have qualified for the World Cup: Qatar (host nation)
Germany (UEFA Group J Winner) on Oct. 11
Denmark (UEFA Group F Winner) on Oct. 12
Brazil (One of CONMEBOL’s top four teams) on Nov. 11
Belgium (UEFA Group E Winner) on Nov. 13
France (UEFA Group D Winner) on Nov. 13
Serbia (UEFA Group A Winner) on Nov. 14
Spain (UEFA Group B Winner) on Nov. 14
Croatia (UEFA Group H Winner) on Nov. 14
Switzerland (UEFA Group C Winner) on Nov. 15
England (UEFA Group I Winner) on Nov. 15
Netherlands (UEFA Group G Winner) on Nov. 16
Argentina (One of CONMEBOL’s top four teams) on Nov. 16
Only five nations from Africa will be in the World Cup 2022 in Qatar. 40 teams from Africa were pooled into 10 groups of four that competed to advance to the final of the qualifying round. Winners of each group earned a spot in the last round which involves a two-legged tie for the five World Cup slots available. As of Wednesday, November 17, the nations progressing to the final round include Algeria, Cameroon, DR Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, and Tunisia. Notably, African heavyweights like Ivory Coast and South Africa will not be taking part in next year’s edition.
Three more nations from Europe will join the others in Qatar, albeit through the grueling playoffs.The six seeded sides who will be handed a home draw for the playoffs are Portugal, Scotland, Italy, Russia, Sweden, and Wales. Unseeded nations include Turkey, Poland, North Macedonia, Ukraine, Austria, and the Czech Republic. There will be six semi-finals, split into three paths which eventually leads to three play of finals which will take place between March 28 and 29.Earlier, it was reported that Argentina has become the latest nation to qualify for the Qatar 2022 World Cup despite playing a goalless draw with their bitter rivals Brazil. It was a quiet night for Lionel Messi and his teammates as the match did not produce any goals but sealed their passage into the Mundial.
Vinicius Junior came closest in the game but was denied by Aston Villa Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez. Nicolas Otamendi was lucky not to have got a red card he elbowed Matheus Cunha inside the box as the referee ruled out any foul or a penalty to Brazil. Messi was spotted struggling with his left knee which slowed him down in the second half of the match. The match ended in a statement with Messi and the rest of the squad assuring their fans that they would be at the World Cup next year.