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2022 World Cup Qualifiers

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211 countries from around the world will participate in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. Each country will play a number of home and away games to determine which teams qualify for the World Cup finals. The competition should be completed by March 2022. Teams are drawn into groups of five or six countries and play a series of home and away games to qualify. Each team in each group will advance to the next round of the competition.

There are 10 groups of five or six teams in the Round One of the qualifying competition. The top two teams in each group will qualify for the finals. The third place team will go into a play-off, with the winner of that play-off advancing to the inter-confederation playoffs. The fifth place team will play in the Asian Football Confederation play-off.

The teams will play 18 matches in the round robin. The matches were originally scheduled to run over the June 2021 window. However, due to a pandemic, matches were postponed. A new window was approved in January. Matchdays 5 and 6 were cancelled, and matchdays 7 and 8 will run June 3 to 9. The newly formed pandemic also postponed the matches to October 2020. The matches were then postponed again to March 2021.

The second round of the qualification competition will take place in June 2022. The winners of each group will go straight through to the finals in Qatar. The second round will include 40 teams, ranked one to 26. The winners of the Group Stage and the best six runners-up from the qualifying group stage will compete for the final two places. The last 16 will then be played in the traditional way. The semi-finals will take place on March 24 and 25. The finals will be played on March 28 and 29.

The teams will be split into four pots based on their FIFA world rankings. There are ten groups of five or six countries in each pot, with the top two teams in each group advancing to the next round. The bottom three teams in each pot will play head-to-head to determine the fifth place team. The fifth place team will then play in the inter-confederation play-off. The winners of the inter-confederation play-off will advance to the finals. The finalist matches will be increased to eight games in 2026.

In addition to the European qualifiers, Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) qualifiers will also take place. The Oceania Football Confederation will feature eleven teams, each playing for a 0.5 slot at the 2022 World Cup. The top three teams in each group will qualify for the 2022 finals.

The African qualifiers will take place in September of this year. The 28 African teams will be ranked 27 to 54. The winners of each group will qualify directly for the World Cup, while the third and fourth place teams will play in a play-off to determine which team goes to the finals.

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