Which teams have already qualified for the Qatar World Cup?
Just seven months after Italy beat England at Wembley to win Euro 2020, international football fans are already beginning to turn their attention to the Qatar World Cup which is set to begin this November. Due to concerns over heat exhaustion, the sport’s showpiece tournament will take place for the first time in winter.
FIFA’s awarding of the World Cup to Qatar has caused great controversy and been met with widespread criticism, with many raising concerns about everything from the disruption to the traditional football calendar, to human rights abuses in the construction of stadia in the Arab state.
With all that to one side, football fans are still understandably excited for the festival of football which comes around just once every four years, or slightly less in this case, with many countries already qualified and waiting to hear who they will face at the World Cup. Fans from across the globe are sure to be using Footybite streams to keep up with the all the action in Qatar.
Here are the nations who have already booked their flights to Qatar from various parts of the world, and the teams who may be joining them after several continental and intercontinental play-offs determine the final list of 32 teams in the draw later this year.
Which nations have already qualified from UEFA?
Germany, Denmark, France, Belgium, Croatia, Spain, Serbia, England, Switzerland and the Netherlands have booked their tickets to the big show by emerging as group winners in UEFA world cup qualifying. It’s a list full of the usual big hitters with the only surprise being Serbia who managed to beat Portugal to top spot in Group A.
Three more nations will join these ten to make up the total of 13 European representatives at the tournament, but only after navigating a play-off phase. One behemoth will be missing from the competition as Italy and Portugal are drawn in the same path way and will likely face each other in the final play-off, assuming they get past North Macedonia and Turkey respectively. British fans will hope either Scotland or Wales make it to the tournament as they take on Ukraine and Austria before potentially facing off in a play-off final of their own. Poland, Sweden or the Czech Republic will take the third spot after their play-off process, with Poland likely to move directly into the final of their pathway after Russia was suspended by FIFA and subsequently kicked out of the tournament.
Who else has already qualified for the Qatar World Cup?
The vast majority of those countries already qualified are from Europe with only a handful of other nations joining them. Hosts Qatar of course qualify automatically as tradition dictates. Two of South America’s CONMEBOL representatives are already decided as Brazil and Argentina have both qualified in style and with games to spare. Iran and South Korea both guaranteed their passage to the World Cup by qualifying together from AFC Group A, with Iran currently two points ahead at the top of the group. As yet, there are no other nations officially qualified for the tournament.
Which nations might still qualify from Asia?
In the other side of AFC qualifying, Saudi Arabia currently top Group B with Japan behind them. Australia are trailing behind in third but still in with a chance of snatching one of those two qualifying spots. If they fail to do so, they will still have a play-off place to fall back on with the third placed teams from both groups facing each other, with the winner then entering the inter-confederation play-offs. Oman are too far behind to catch Australia but their potential play-off final opponent could be any of three teams with just four points separating the United Arab Emirates, who currently occupy third place, Lebanon and Iraq.
What about the contingent from Africa?
CAF qualifying culminates in five two-legged play-offs to determine the five qualified teams representing Africa. The all important ties taking place in late March are as follows: a repeat of the Africa Cup of Nations final between Egypt and Senegal, Cameroon vs Algeria, Ghana vs Nigeria, DR Congo vs Morocco and Mali vs Tunisia. It’s business as usual in Africa qualifying with all the big names present. The only surprise package could be DR Congo who are hoping to reach only a second World Cup in their entire history.
What will come of CONCACAF qualification?
In the CONCACAF standings, only Canada are so far assured of at least an inter-confederation play-off. Although as they sit eight points clear of fourth spot, they are almost certain to qualify automatically, as are the United States and Mexico who sit four points behind them. That crucial play-off spot is currently occupied by Panama with Costa Rica just one point behind them and El Salvador still mathematically in with a chance but very, very unlikely to make up ground.
Who will join Brazil and Argentina from CONMEBOL?
Brazil and Argentina have already qualified from the CONMEBOL qualification, with Ecuador and Uruguay occupying the other two automatic spots at the time of writing. With two more matches to go, Peru are currently in the inter-confederation play-off spot but Chile and Colombia are following close behind with both still more than able to take their place.
What about the one place from the OFC?
The one representative of the OFC, the Oceania Federation, will be decided in the strangest set of circumstances. After multiple delays due to the coronavirus pandemic, the likes of New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti and the Cook Islands will meet in a qualification tournament throughout March in Qatar to decide who will qualify. A group stage and knock-out format will be played out in its entirety all at once between March 17 and March 30. This unusually short qualification process could spring a surprise on us with some of those smaller nations possibly looking to capitalise on the chaos.
After the last few qualifying matches and continental play-offs are played later this month, we will have many more guaranteed attendees at the Qatar World Cup. Then will come those crucial intercontinental play-offs pitting nations from across the world against each other for the right to occupy those last few spots at the party. When all of those are decided and the final list of 32 teams is official, FIFA will carry out the draw for the 2022 World Cup on 1 April in Doha.
One thing is for sure. Regardless of which nations make it, this World Cup will be as highly anticipated as ever and could potentially be one of the most fascinating football tournaments in recent memory. We have to wait a little while longer to know exactly which nations will make it but the final count is already starting to take shape.
Written by: Craig Hanson, Sports Journalist