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World Cup 2022 Draw Pots Are Set as Qualifying Comes to an End

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The draw for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is nearly here. Just a few qualifying matches remain before the FIFA ranking that will be used to determine the draw is revealed—but due to the advanced number crunching from places like We Global Football, we have a clear idea of what they’ll look like.

One team from each of the four pots will be drawn into eight groups that will be selected at random in Friday’s draw. As the host, Qatar automatically secures a spot in Pot 1, while the rest of the teams—except for those who will contest playoffs in June—fall in order based on the March 31 FIFA ranking. The oddity of the draw is that it will be conducted with three places at the World Cup still to be claimed. Two intercontinental playoffs and one UEFA playoff (postponed from this window due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine) will be contested in June, with the three eventual winners having spots in Pot 4 designated for them in the draw.

In the draw itself, only European nations can be grouped with each other (a maximum of two in a group), with teams from all other confederations cannot be paired together (so, for example, the U.S. would not be able to be in Canada’s group).

Here’s a look at what the pots will be for Friday’s draw:

Pot 1

  • Qatar
  • Brazil
  • Belgium
  • France
  • Argentina
  • England
  • Spain
  • Portugal

The first pot of the draw was set Tuesday thanks to Portugal’s triumph in a UEFA playoff. Host Qatar will be a desired Pot 1 grouping for many teams, while top-ranked nations Brazil, Belgium and France follow. The largest omission from this stacked group? FIFA’s current No. 6-ranked team, Italy. The Azzurri were stunned by North Macedonia in their UEFA qualification playoff semifinal and will now miss their second straight World Cup. The nation second to only Brazil in Cup wins (and last year’s European champion) will have to wait another four years to end its drought.

Pot 2

  • Netherlands
  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • Mexico
  • Switzerland
  • USA
  • Uruguay
  • Croatia

After finishing second and third, respectively, in Concacaf qualifying, Mexico and the United States populate this second group. It includes the likes of four-time World Cup winner Germany, 2018 runner-up Croatia and the historically strong Netherlands. The Dutch have redemption of their own to seek: like the U.S., they failed to qualify in in 2018. The Germans, too, will look to avenge failures in Russia when they were shockingly knocked out in the group stage in 2018, just four years after their latest tournament win.

Pot 3

  • Senegal
  • Iran
  • Japan
  • Morocco
  • Serbia
  • Poland
  • South Korea
  • Tunisia

There aren’t too many traditional heavy-hitters in this group, but there is plenty of dangerous talent that could pose problems for opponents come November. Senegal was bumped to the third pot once the U.S. and Mexico officially qualified. Sadio Mané’s squad is coming off a thrilling AFCON title and boasts a stout back line that’s backed up by Chelsea star goalkeeper Edouard Mendy. Poland and South Korea sport world-class attacking talent in Robert Lewandowski and Son Heung-min, respectively. Serbia is led into Qatar by rising star Dušan Vlahović, and Iran breezed through AFC qualification.

Pot 4

  • Cameroon
  • Canada
  • Ecuador
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Ghana
  • UEFA Playoff Winner
  • Peru-AFC Third Place Playoff winner
  • Costa Rica-New Zealand Playoff winner

The story of Concacaf (and maybe of World Cup qualifying as a whole), Canada qualified for its first men’s World Cup in 36 years. But there are still some things to be decided here. Wales, despite currently being ranked No. 20, will enter Pot 4 because of a delay in the playoff if it wins its matchup with the winner of Ukraine and Scotland. One intercontinental playoff will be populated by the fourth-place Concacaf team (Costa Rica) playing the winner of the Oceania Football Confederation (New Zealand). The other playoff pits the winner of the Asian Football Confederation third-place playoff (United Arab Emirates vs. Australia) against the fifth-place team in CONMEBOL (Peru). The winners of both those matches will advance to Qatar and occupy places in the final pot.

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