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204 member associations in contention for 2022 FIFA World Cup – Qatar berths!

With 204 member associations still in the race for a berth at the 2022 FIFA World Cup – Qatar, AFC House in Kuala Lumpur is set to take centre stage on July 17, 2019, when 40 Asian member associations will learn their fate during the draw for the second round of the AFC preliminary competition.

The 40 member associations will be drawn into eight groups of five teams and compete in a double round-robin format, with matches to be held from September 5, 2019 to June 9, 2020. Based on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking of June 14, 2019, the five pots are as follows:

  • Pot 1: Iran, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, China
  • Pot 2: Iraq, Uzbekistan, Syria, Oman, Lebanon, Kyrgyz Republic, Vietnam, Jordan
  • Pot 3: Palestine, India, Bahrain, Thailand, Tajikistan, North Korea, Chinese Taipei, Philippines
  • Pot 4: Turkmenistan, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Yemen, Afghanistan, Maldives, Kuwait, Malaysia
  • Pot 5: Indonesia, Singapore, Nepal, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Guam, Sri Lanka

A total of 12 teams (the group winners and the four best runners-up) will advance to the 2023 AFC Asian Cup – China and the final round of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The four best teams in the final qualifying round will secure a spot at the global showpiece, with a fifth team going through to the intercontinental play-offs (Qatar are not permitted to advance to the final qualifying round because, as hosts, they have already qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup).

Brunei Darussalam, Laos, Pakistan, Bhutan, Timor-Leste and Macau are already out of the race following their respective defeats against Mongolia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Guam, Malaysia and Sri Lanka in the first round of the preliminary competition in June 2019.

All other FIFA member associations are in contention for one of the 31 2022 FIFA World Cup berths that are still up for grabs.

The road to Qatar is set to come to a close in March 2022. The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar will kick off on November 21, with the final scheduled for December 18.

FIFA World Cup 2022 preliminary competition: overview by confederation

AFC

  • Start date: June 2019
  • Spots at FIFA World Cup final competition: 4.5
  • Format: three rounds, linked to AFC Asian Cup 2023 qualifying (see details above)

CAF

  • Start date: September 2019
  • Spots at FIFA World Cup final competition: 5
  • Format:
    • *Round 1 (September 2019): 28 member associations to play knockout matches, with the 14 winners advancing to round 2.
    • Round 2 (March 2020 – October 2021): the 14 winners of round 1 to join 26 other member associations to form ten groups of four member associations, with the ten group winners advancing to round 3.
    • Round 3 (November 2021): the ten group winners of round 2 to play knockout matches, with the five winners qualifying for the FIFA World Cup 2022.
  • * FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking of July 2019 to be used for the seeding of round 1

CONMEBOL

  • Start date: March 2020
  • Spots at FIFA World Cup final competition: 4.5
  • Format: a round-robin league, with teams facing off home and away

CONCACAF

  • Start date: September 2020
  • Spots at FIFA World Cup final competition: 3.5
  • *Format:
  • Hexagonal (September 2020 – September 2021): one group of six member associations, with the top three qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the fourth-placed team qualifiying for the CONCACAF playoff.
  • Non-hexagonal (September 2020 – October 2021):
    • Group phase (September – November 2020): five groups of four member associations and three groups of three member associations, with the eight group winners advancing to the quarter-finals.
    • Quarter-finals (March 2021): knockout round with eight member associations, with the four winners advancing to the semi-finals.
    • Semi-finals (June 2021): knockout round with four member associations, with the two winners advancing to the final.
    • Final (September 2021): knockout match between two member associations, with the winner advancing to the Concacaf play-off.
  • CONCACAF playoff (October 2021): knockout match between the fourth-placed team of the hexagonal and the winner of the non-hexagonal, with the winner qualifying for the intercontinental play-offs.
  • * FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking of June 2020 to be used for seeding

OFC

  • Start date: to be confirmed
  • Spots at FIFA World Cup final competition: 0.5
  • Format: to be confirmed

UEFA

  • Start date: to be confirmed
  • Spots at FIFA World Cup final competition: 13
  • Format: to be confirmed

Draw information: the upcoming draws at the AFC and CAF are scheduled for July 17 and 27, respectively; the draw dates for the four other confederations are yet to be confirmed.

Anti-discrimination measures
Throughout the preliminary competition, FIFA will implement comprehensive anti-discrimination measures in cooperation with the member associations and confederations. An overview is available here.

Regulations
The FIFA World Cup 2022 Preliminary Competition Regulations are available on FIFA.com.

FIFA World Cup preliminary competition statistics
For an overview of all-time FIFA World Cup preliminary competition statistics, please click here

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