The way for the European nations to Qatar 2022 has been opened. UEFA’s 55 member associations are launching their qualifying campaigns to reach the final next year.
England, one of the top seeds, will be happy with the group they received, with Poland and Hungary topping their opponents’ rank while Wales will also have to get past Belgium and the Czech Republic to sign up for the flagship project in 2022 to qualify.
Scotland avoided many of the top teams in Europe, with Denmark and Austria being the top teams of their opponents.
But how many teams qualify per group? Sky Sports gives you a comprehensive overview of how the European qualifiers work.
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How many European nations qualify?
A total of 13 places are available for the UEFA teams in the final tournament. The 55 teams were divided into five groups of five and five groups of six.
The winners of the 10 groups automatically qualify for the finals, which will be held for the first time in November and December 2022 in order to avoid the punishing summer heat in the Middle East.
What are the groups?
Group a: Portugal, Serbia, Irish Republic, Luxembourg, Azerbaijan
Group B: Spain, Sweden, Greece, Georgia, Kosovo
Group C.: Italy, Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, Lithuania
Group D: France, Ukraine, Finland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan
Group E: Belgium, Wales, Czech Republic, Belarus, Estonia
Group F: Denmark, Austria, Scotland, Israel, Faroe Islands, Moldova
Group G: Netherlands, Turkey, Norway, Montenegro, Latvia, Gibraltar
Group H: Croatia, Slovakia, Russia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta
Group I: England, Poland, Hungary, Albania, Andorra, San Marino
Group J: Germany, Romania, Iceland, North Macedonia, Armenia, Liechtenstein
When will the qualifiers be played?
The qualifying tournaments will be held between March and November 2021. The play-offs are planned for March 2022.
Matchday 1: March 24-25, 2021
Matchday 2: 27.-28. March 2021
Matchday 3: March 30th to March 31st, 2021
Matchday 4: September 1st to 2nd, 2021
Matchday 5: September 4th to 5th, 2021
Matchday 6: September 7th to 8th, 2021
Matchday 7: October 8th to 9th, 2021
Matchday 8: October 11-12, 2021
Matchday 9: 11.-13. November 2021
Matchday 10: 14.-16. November 2021
What’s the game plan?
What if you finish second in your group?
Another three places will be played between the 10 runners-up in the group and the two highest-ranking teams in the Nations League that have not yet qualified or have not finished second.
These 12 teams will be divided into three play-off paths, each with four countries, in order to determine the last three European berths. The format consists of two knockout rounds from which the three additional teams qualify.
UEFA Nations League group winners
Overall Ranking of the Nations League – Top 22
|15th||Bosnia and Herzegovina|
When do the play-offs take place?
There will be rounds of play-offs in a game (semifinals and finals, with the home teams drawn) and the three path winners will qualify for the World Cup.
The semi-finals will be held from March 24th to 25th, 2022 and hosted by the six best-placed runners-up in the qualifying group stage.
The final will take place on March 28 and 29, 2022 and the hosts will be determined by a tie.
What happens next?
The draw for the 2022 World Cup final will take place in April 2022.
The 13 European nations will join the 19 nations to qualify from the other five FIFA confederations and will be split into four pots based on their FIFA world rankings. UEFA can have a maximum of two teams in the same group.
- Group stage: November 21, 2022 – December 2, 2022
- Round of 16: December 3 to 6, 2022
- Quarter-finals: December 9-10, 2022
- Semi-finals: 13-14 December 2022
- Third place match: December 17, 2022
- Final: December 18, 2022