The FIFA World Cup in Qatar 2022 may be five months away, but the biggest and largest step of the journey will be taken on Friday when the draws for the 32-team tournament take place in Doha, Qatar.
Already, 29 teams have secured qualifications, while three more spots are still to be filled. One of the slots is the last European participant, which is yet to be confirmed.
Wales awaits the winner of the play-off tie between Ukraine and Scotland. The game between Ukraine and Scotland has been postponed indefinitely due to the Ukraine crisis with Russia. The winner of the tie, when played, will face Wales for the last European World Cup spot.
Also, Oceania Football Confederation qualifiers winners New Zealand will face Costa Rica for one spot, while the last spot will go the way of Peru or the winner of the UAE v Australia tie.
Only Africa has its five slots filled after Tuesday’s set of qualifiers, where Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal, Tunisia, and Morocco beat their opponents on aggregate to qualify.
Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, and Uruguay qualified from the South, while USA and Mexico are through from the Concacaf region. Asia’s qualified representative includes Iran, South Korea, Japan, and Saudi Arabia.
Notably missing from the 2022 FIFA World Cup include European champions Italy, who were knocked out of the play-offs by North Macedonia, African Giants Nigeria, Algeria, Ivory Coast, and Mohamed Salah’s Egypt. The draws will be conducted by legends of the game, including Jay-Jay Okocha, Lothar Matthäus, and Cafu.
Five other assistants will also join them, including Algerian legend Rabah Madjer, former Australian forward Tim Cahill, Qatar’s Adel Ahmed MalAllah, Ali Daei from Iran, and Bora Milutinović.
All qualified teams have been seeded in four pots, with hosts Qatar joined by world number one Brazil, defending champions France, Argentina, Belgium, England, Spain, and Portugal in pot one.
Pots In Full:
Pot 1 (seeded teams): Qatar, Brazil, Belgium, France, Argentina, England, Spain, Portugal.
Pot 2: Mexico, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Uruguay, Switzerland, USA, Croatia.
Pot 3: Senegal, Iran, Japan, Morocco, Serbia, Poland, South Korea, Tunisia.
Pot 4: Cameroon, Canada, Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, Wales/Scotland/Ukraine, Costa Rica/New Zealand, UAE/Australia/Peru.
Written by: Daniel Ademiju Idowu