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2022 FIFA World Cup qualification (UEFA)
Tournament details
Dates25 March 2021 – 29 March 2022
Teams55 (from 1 confederation)
2018
2026

The European section of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification will act as qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, to be held in Qatar, for national teams which are members of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). A total of 13 slots in the final tournament are available for UEFA teams.

Entrants

All 55 FIFA-affiliated national teams from UEFA will enter qualification. On 9 December 2019, the World Anti-Doping Agency handed Russia a four-year ban from all major sporting events, after RUSADA was found non-compliant for handing over manipulating lab data to investigators. However, the Russia national team could still enter qualification, as the ban only applies to the final tournament to decide the world champions. If Russia were to qualify, Russian footballers could still potentially compete at the tournament, pending a decision from FIFA. However, a team representing Russia which uses the Russian flag and anthem cannot participate under the WADA decision.

Format

The qualification format was confirmed by the UEFA Executive Committee during their meeting in Nyon, Switzerland on 4 December 2019, pending validation from FIFA. The qualification will depend, in part, on results from the 2020–21 UEFA Nations League, although to a lesser degree than UEFA Euro 2020. The structure will maintain UEFA's usual 'group stage/playoff stage' structure, with only the specific format of the play-offs amended.

  • Group stage: 10 groups of 5 or 6 teams (with the 4 teams that make the 2021 UEFA Nations League Finals put into the smaller groups) with group winners qualifying for the World Cup finals.
  • Play-off stage: The 10 group runners-up would be joined by the best 2 Nations League group winners based on the Nations League overall ranking which have not yet directly qualified or reached the play-offs. These 12 teams will be drawn into three play-off paths, playing two rounds of single-match play-offs (semi-finals and finals, with the home team to be drawn), with the 3 path winners qualifying for the World Cup.

The UEFA Executive Committee also approved the use of the video assistant referee system for the qualifiers, subject to the approval of FIFA.

Schedule

Below is the schedule of the European qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

In March 2020, UEFA announced that the two matchdays planned to take place in June 2021 would be moved following the rescheduling of UEFA Euro 2020 to June and July 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To allow for the completion of the qualifying group stage in November 2021 as scheduled, UEFA announced on 24 September 2020 that the March and September 2021 windows in the FIFA International Match Calendar were expanded from two to three matchdays. The changes to the International Match Calendar for March and September 2021, which extended each window by one day, were approved by the FIFA Council on 4 December 2020.

Stage Matchday Dates
Qualifying group stage Matchday 1 24–25 March 2021
Matchday 2 27–28 March 2021
Matchday 3 30–31 March 2021
Matchday 4 1–2 September 2021
Matchday 5 4–5 September 2021
Matchday 6 6–7 September 2021
Matchday 7 8–9 October 2021
Matchday 8 11–12 October 2021
Matchday 9 11–13 November 2021
Matchday 10 14–16 November 2021
Play-offs Semi-finals 24–25 March 2022
Finals 28–29 March 2022

First round

Seeding

The draw for the first round (group stage) was held as a virtual event (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) in Zürich, Switzerland on 7 December 2020, 18:00 CET (UTC+1).

The 55 teams were seeded into six pots based on the FIFA World Rankings of November 2020, after the conclusion of the league phase of the 2020–21 UEFA Nations League. Pots 1 to 5 contained ten teams, while Pot 6 contained five teams. The teams were drawn into ten groups: five groups of five teams (Groups A–E) and five groups of six teams (Groups F–J). The draw started with Pot 1 and completed with Pot 6, from where a team was drawn and assigned to the first available group in alphabetical order. Therefore, each six-team group contains one team from each of the six pots, while each five-team group contains one team from each of the first five pots.

The following restrictions were applied with computer assistance:

  • Nations League finalists: The four teams participating in the 2021 UEFA Nations League Finals (Belgium, France, Italy and Spain) were drawn into a group with five teams (Groups A–E). Additionally, a group could contain a maximum of one Nations League finalist, but all four teams were in the same pot for the draw.
  • Prohibited clashes: For political reasons, matches between following pairs of teams were considered prohibited clashes, unable to be drawn into the same group: Kosovo / Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo / Serbia, Kosovo / Russia, Russia / Ukraine. (Armenia / Azerbaijan and Gibraltar / Spain were also identified as prohibited clashes, but the teams in the former pair were in the same pot for the draw, while the teams in the latter pair were restricted to different-sized groups based on draw pots and conditions.)
  • Winter venues: A maximum of two teams whose venues are identified as having high or medium risk of severe winter conditions could be placed in each group: Belarus, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Russia, Ukraine.
    • The two "hard winter venues" (Faroe Islands and Iceland) generally cannot host games in March or November, and therefore could not be drawn together; the others shall play as few home matches as possible in March and November.
  • Excessive travel: A maximum of one pair of teams identified with excessive travel distance in relation to other countries could be placed in each group:
    • Azerbaijan: with Iceland, Gibraltar, Portugal.
    • Iceland: with Armenia, Cyprus, Georgia, Israel.
    • Kazakhstan: with England, France, Gibraltar, Iceland, Malta, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Wales. (Andorra and Faroe Islands were also identified with Kazakhstan for excessive travel distance, but the teams were in the same pot for the draw.)

Teams were allocated to seeding pots as follows (November 2020 FIFA Rankings shown in second column).

Pot 1
Team Rank
 Belgium 1
 France 2
 England 4
 Portugal 5
 Spain 6
 Italy 10
 Croatia 11
 Denmark 12
 Germany 13
 Netherlands 14
Pot 2
Team Rank
 Switzerland 16
 Wales 18
 Poland 19
 Sweden 20
 Austria 23
 Ukraine 24
 Serbia 30
 Turkey 32
 Slovakia 33
 Romania 37
Pot 3
Team Rank
 Russia 39
 Hungary 40
 Republic of Ireland 42
 Czech Republic 42
 Norway 44
 Northern Ireland 45
 Iceland 46
 Scotland 48
 Greece 53
 Finland 54
Pot 4
Team Rank
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 55
 Slovenia 62
 Montenegro 63
 North Macedonia 65
 Albania 66
 Bulgaria 68
 Israel 87
 Belarus 88
 Georgia 89
 Luxembourg 98
Pot 5
Team Rank
 Armenia 99
 Cyprus 100
 Faroe Islands 107
 Azerbaijan 109
 Estonia 109
 Kosovo 117
 Kazakhstan 122
 Lithuania 129
 Latvia 136
 Andorra 151
Pot 6
Team Rank
 Malta 176
 Moldova 177
 Liechtenstein 181
 Gibraltar 195
 San Marino 210

Groups

The fixture list was confirmed by UEFA on 8 December 2020, the day following the draw. Qatar are partnered with the five-team Group A, which enables the 2022 World Cup hosts to play centralised friendlies against these countries on their "spare" match dates. However, these friendlies do not count in the qualifying group standings.

Group A

Main article: 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – UEFA Group A
Team Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Notes
 Portugal Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup
 Serbia Advance to second round
 Republic of Ireland
 Luxembourg
 Azerbaijan

Group B

Main article: 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – UEFA Group B
Team Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Notes
 Spain Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup
 Sweden Advance to second round
 Greece
 Georgia
 Kosovo

Group C

Main article: 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – UEFA Group C
Team Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Notes
 Italy Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup
 Switzerland Advance to second round
 Northern Ireland
 Bulgaria
 Lithuania

Group D

Main article: 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – UEFA Group D
Team Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Notes
 France Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup
 Ukraine Advance to second round
 Finland
 Bosnia and Herzegovina
 Kazakhstan

Group E

Main article: 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – UEFA Group E
Team Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Notes
 Belgium Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup
 Wales Advance to second round
 Czech Republic
 Belarus
 Estonia

Group F

Main article: 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – UEFA Group F
Team Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Notes
 Denmark Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup
 Austria Advance to second round
 Scotland
 Israel
 Faroe Islands
 Moldova

Group G

Main article: 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – UEFA Group G
Team Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Notes
 Netherlands Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup
 Turkey Advance to second round
 Norway
 Montenegro
 Latvia
 Gibraltar

Group H

Main article: 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – UEFA Group H
Team Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Notes
 Croatia Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup
 Slovakia Advance to second round
 Russia
 Slovenia
 Cyprus
 Malta

Group I

Main article: 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – UEFA Group I
Team Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Notes
 England Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup
 Poland Advance to second round
 Hungary
 Albania
 Andorra
 San Marino

Group J

Main article: 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – UEFA Group J
Team Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Notes
 Germany Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup
 Romania Advance to second round
 Iceland
 North Macedonia
 Armenia
 Liechtenstein

Second round

Main article: 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – UEFA Second Round

The ten group runners-up and the best two Nations League group winners, based on the Nations League overall ranking, which have not yet directly qualified or reached the play-offs will contest the second round. They will be separated into three play-off paths, with each path featuring two single-leg semi-finals and one single-leg final. The home teams will be determined by a draw. The semi-finals will be played on 24–25 March, and the finals on 28–29 March 2022. The winners of each path will qualify for the World Cup.

Nations League group winners

UNL Group winner Rank
A  France 1–4
 Belgium
 Italy
 Spain
B  Wales 17
 Austria 18
 Czech Republic 19
 Hungary 20
C  Slovenia 33
 Montenegro 34
 Albania 35
 Armenia 36
D  Gibraltar 49
 Faroe Islands 50


External links

2022 FIFA World Cup qualification
AFC
First Round · Second Round · Third Round · Fourth Round (play-off)
CAF
First Round · Second Round · Third Round
CONCACAF
Top-Seeded Round (Hexagonal) · Lower-Seeded Round Group Stage · Knockout Stage · Play-off Round
CONMEBOL
Round Robin
OFC
First Round · Second Round · Third Round
UEFA
First Round (Group A · Group B · Group C · Group D · Group E · Group F · Group G · Group H · Group I · Group J) · Second Round (play-offs) Related: Nations League
Play-offs
CONMEBOL v CONCACAF · OFC v AFC
202021 in European football (UEFA)
Domestic leagues

Albania · Andorra · Armenia · Austria · Azerbaijan · Belarus '20 '21 · Belgium · Bosnia and Herzegovina · Bulgaria · Croatia · Cyprus · Czech Republic · Denmark · England · Estonia '20 '21 · Faroe Islands '20 '21 · Finland '20 '21 · France · Georgia '20 '21 · Germany · Gibraltar · Greece · Hungary · Iceland '20 '21 · Israel · Italy · Kazakhstan '20 '21 · Kosovo · Latvia '20 '21 · Lithuania '20 '21 · Luxembourg · Malta · Moldova '20 '21 · Montenegro · Netherlands · North Macedonia · Northern Ireland · Norway '20 '21 · Poland · Portugal · Republic of Ireland '20 '21 · Romania · Russia · San Marino · Scotland · Serbia · Slovakia · Slovenia · Spain · Sweden '20 '21 · Switzerland · Turkey · Ukraine · Wales

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League cups

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UEFA competitions

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International competitions
UEFA Euro 2021 (qualification) · 2022 FIFA World Cup (qualification) · 2020–21 UEFA Nations League (League A · League B · League C · League D · Finals · Final)
202122 in European football (UEFA)
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