How it works, match dates, group stage, play-off format, finals.
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What is it?
The process by which UEFA's 55 member associations will be whittled down to 13 teams for the 2022 final tournament in Qatar. Matches will span just over a year, from March 2021 to March 2022.Official FIFA regulations
How does it work?
There are two stages to qualifying:
Teams will be split into ten groups of five or six (the four teams who reached the 2021 UEFA Nations League finals – Belgium, France, Italy, Spain – will be in the smaller groups). The ten group winners qualify for the World Cup.
The ten group runners-up are joined by the two best group winners of the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League overall ranking that have neither qualified directly for the final tournament as European Qualifiers group winners, nor entered the play-offs already as European Qualifiers group runners-up. The 12 teams will be drawn into three play-off paths for one-off semi-finals and a final. The three path winners qualify for the World Cup.Play-off regulations
What are the groups?
The groups were determined by a draw in Zurich on 7 December 2020.
Group A: Portugal, Serbia, Republic of Ireland, 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, LiechtensteinAll the fixtures
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: 7–8 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: 24, 25, 28, 29 March 2022
When is the 2022 World Cup?
The 22nd finals in Qatar will be the first World Cup not held in May, June, or July; the tournament is instead scheduled for a reduced timeframe between 21 November to 18 December. The draw will be in April 2022.