You may recall that last week we brought you news of all the remaining World Cup Qualification games that were taking place around the world over the past week and this coming week.

Well since then, a number of those matches have been played and we now have a clearer indication of which teams will (and which team’s won’t) be making the trip to Qatar this winter to compete in the 2022 World Cup Finals.

So, we are now going to go back and take a look at how the games have gone that have already been played, which teams have qualified for the finals since the article was published last Monday and which teams are still battling it out.

We will also clear up which teams (if any) have qualified for the Inter-Conference Playoffs in June.

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We are now going to review the situation from each of the different Conferences starting with UEFA and Europe.

World Cup Qualification Situation

Europe (UEFA)

A total of 13 teams will qualify for the finals.

The ten winners of the Group Stages of the qualifiers have already been decided and are as follows: –

  • Serbia
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • France
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Netherlands
  • Croatia
  • England
  • Germany

Last week we saw four matches played in the Playoffs. With Russia expelled from the playoffs, Poland were given a bye into the Playoff final in Path 2, while in Path 1, the Scotland v Ukraine game was postponed and will now be played some time in June instead.

The results of the games played last week were:

Path 1

  • Wales 2-1 Austria
  • Scotland v Ukraine – Postponed – Will be played in June.

Path 2

  • Sweden 1-0 Czech Republic (AET)
  • Poland qualify for Path 3 final after opponents Russia were expelled from the tournament.

Path 3

  • Italy 0-1 North Macedonia
  • Portugal 3-1 Turkey

This gives us the Playoff Finals as follows, two of which will be played Tuesday night.

Path 1

  • Wales v Scotland or Ukraine (to be played in June)

Two fantastic Gareth Bale strikes saw Wales get past Austria to book a home World Cup Playoff final in June against either Scotland or Ukraine who will play their semifinal tie at Hampden Park a few days before the winner travels to Cardiff for this one off playoff final.

Path 2

  • Poland v Sweden (7.45pm)

Poland’s benefitted from Russia’s expulsion from the tournament to earn a place in the final and Sweden beat the Czech Republic in extra time thanks to a Robin Quaisson goal to earn the right to play the Poles for a place in the finals.

Path 3

  • Portugal v North Macedonia (7.45pm)

In one of the biggest shocks in World Cup Qualification history, minnows North Macedonia stunned Italy with an injury time winner to knock out the 2020 European Champions from the World Cup Finals. Now they travel to Portugal to take on Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal for a place in the finals after Portugal defeated Turkey 3-1 in their semifinal.

Asia

A total of four teams will qualify for the World Cup Finals from Asia’s qualifying campaign, with a fifth team earning a spot in the Inter-Conference Playoff in June, after a playoff between the two third placed teams from the final two-group stage of Asian qualifying.

The penultimate set of games in the Asian qualification campaign were played last week and produced the following results:

24th March

Group A

  • South Korea 2-0 Iran
  • Iraq 1-0 United Arab Emirates
  • Lebanon 0-3 Syria

Group B

  • Australia 0-2 Japan
  • China 1-1 Saudi Arabia
  • Vietnam 0-1 Oman

There’s one set of games remaining to be played in this section on the 29th March.

29th March

Group A

  • Iran v Lebanon
  • United Arab Emirates v South Korea
  • Syria v Iraq

Group B

  • Japan v Vietnam
  • Saudi Arabia v Australia
  • Oman v China

The two teams that finish third in each group will play each other in a 3rd place playoff in June, with the winner going on to face a South American opponent in the Inter-Conference Playoff a week later.

7th June – 3rd Place Playoff

  • 3rd in Group A v 3rd in Group B

We now know the four teams to have directly qualified for the World Cup Finals in Asia, with Japan and Saudi Arabia joining South Korea and Iran in the finals.

Australia will qualify for the third place playoff from Group B, but it will be between the UAE and Iraq for who gets the rights to face Australia in that game from Group A.

Africa

Africa’s five representatives will be decided based on the aggregate score of five final stage games taking place over this international break.

The first leg of those games were played last week and produced the following results:

  • Egypt 1-0 Senegal
  • Cameroon 0-1 Algeria
  • Ghana 0-0 Nigeria
  • D.R.Congo 1-1 Morocco
  • Mali 0-1 Tunisia

The second legs of these games will be played on Tuesday 29th March with the winner on aggregate earning a place in the finals.

CONCACAF (North And Central America)

There were three crucial matchdays left in the CONCACAF qualifying campaign and we have had two of those already which have given us the following results.

24th March – Matchday 12

  • Jamaica 1-1 El Salvador
  • Panama 1-1 Honduras
  • Mexico 0-0 United States
  • Costa Rica 1-0 Canada

27th March – Matchday 13

  • Canada 4-0 Jamaica
  • El Salvador 1-2 Costa Rica
  • United States 5-1 Panama
  • Honduras 0-1 Mexico

Those results mean that Canada are confirmed as a qualifier, but after that there is so much riding on the games between Costa Rica and the United States and Mexico and El Salvador.

If the United States can avoid a defeat by six goals or more or draw or win the game, then they will qualify.

If Mexico draw or win their game with El Salvador, then they will qualify.

Costa Rica need to defeat the Unites States by several goals and hope the result in the Mexico v El Salvador game goes their way to qualify, however either Costa Rica, Mexico or the United States are guaranteed a place in the Inter Conference Playoff against an Oceania team should they fail to finish in the top three.

The final games to be played on Wednesday this week are as follows:

30th March – Matchday 14

  • Panama v Canada
  • Jamaica v Honduras
  • Mexico v El Salvador
  • Costa Rica v United States

Oceania

Oceania does not have any automatic World Cup Qualification spots, but the winner of this qualifying campaign will take on the fourth place team in CONCACAF qualifying, which is likely to be Costa Rica, in an Inter-Conference Playoff in June.

After finishing their group games and playing the semifinals on the 27th March, The Soloman Islands and New Zealand will meet in the final for the right to earn that shot at World Cup Qualification in the playoff in June.

That game will be played on Wednesday 30th March.

South America (CONMEBOL)

There’s just one final set of games to be played in the South American qualifiers, but we already know which four teams will be representing the region in the World Cup Finals later this year.

The results of the games last week mean that Uruguay and Ecuador will be the teams joining Brazil and Argentina in the finals automatically.

However, there is still plenty to play for in the final set of games with Peru, Colombia and Chile all in with a chance of claiming the Inter Conference Playoff spot of fifth in the table.

Matchday 17 (Thu 24th & Fri 25th March)

  • Colombia 3-0 Bolivia
  • Paraguay 3-1 Ecuador
  • Brazil 4-0 Chile
  • Uruguay 1-0 Peru
  • Argentina 3-0 Venezuela

And the final set of games to be played on Wednesday are:

Matchday 18 (Wed 30th March)

  • Peru v Paraguay
  • Ecuador v Argentina
  • Venezuela v Colombia
  • Chile v Uruguay
  • Bolivia v Brazil

This means that we now know the following teams will be competing in Qatar this winter:

Qatar World Cup Qualifiers Confirmed

Hosts (1) – Qatar

Europe (10) – Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Croatia, England, Germany. + 3 more

Asia (4) – Iran, South Korea, Japan, Australia

N&C America (1) – Canada +2 more from USA, Mexico & Costa Rica

South America (4) – Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Uruguay

Africa (0) – 5 to be decided after second leg of playoffs on Tuesday.

Oceania (0) – Winner to be decided after Qualifier Final on Wednesday

Inter Conference Playoffs

  • 4th Placed CONMEBOL team Vs Winner of Oceania Qualifying
  • 5th Placed CONCACAF team Vs 3rd Place Playoff Winner of Asian Qualifying.

Both these games, along with the Scotland v Ukraine and Wales v Scotland/Ukraine qualifiers will be completed in June to finalise the 32 qualifiers.