Uruguay, Ecuador, Japan and Saudi Arabia latest to punch their tickets to Qatar
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Uruguay and Ecuador became the latest teams to secure their spots at the 2022 World Cup, joining Brazil and Argentina as the automatic qualifiers from the South American group.
Uruguay beat Peru 1-0 and Ecuador lost 3-1 to Paraguay, meaning both teams have 25 points with one match to play. Peru are on 21 points in fifth place.
Peru, Colombia (20 points) and Chile (19) will now vie for fifth place and a playoff spot against a team from the Asian confederation, with UAE vying for that spot.
Peru host Paraguay, Colombia travel to Venezuela and Chile are at home against Uruguay on Tuesday in the final round of games.
In Asia qualifying, Saudi Arabia clinched a second successive global finals place even before their 1-1 draw with China after Japan beat Australia in Sydney earlier Thursday.
Japan also secured their place in Qatar.
South Korea and Iran have punched their tickets by taking the top two spots in Group A.
Qatar 2022 will be the last 32-team World Cup before the 2026 World Cup across North America expands to 48 teams.
The tournament takes place from November 21-December 18, 2022.
Allocation of spots
Thirteen spots go to Europe, five to Africa, four-and-a-half go to both Asia and South America, three-and-a-half to North and Central America and the Caribbean, and half to the Oceania region. Those “half” spots earned by teams send them to a pair of intercontinental play-offs for the last two places at Qatar 2022.
Uefa (Union of European Football Associations)
The semi-finals and finals, both played over one leg, will take place over the course of five days from March 24-29.
- Wales v Scotland or Ukraine
- Poland v Sweden
- Portugal v North Macedonia
Asia (Asian Football Confederation)
Twelve teams advanced to the third round of Asian qualifying, divided into two groups of six teams to play home-and-away round-robin matches. The top two from each group will qualify for the World Cup, and the third-placed teams will advance to the fourth round.
UAE are currently third in Group A, following a hugely disappointing defeat to Iraq in Riyadh. They face a must-win match against already-qualified South Korea in their final qualifier, and they look nervously over their shoulder and towards other results.
North America, Central America, Caribbean (Concacaf)
Three direct slots and one inter-confederation play-off slot in the final tournament are available for Concacaf teams, now in its third and final round of qualifying.
Canada, United States and Mexico currently occupy the three automatic berths after eight games in the eight-team group with Panama in the play-off spot.
South America (Conmebol)
Five-time world champions Brazil became the first team from South America to book their place in Qatar following a 1-0 win over Colombia on November 11.
Lionel Messi secured a fifth shot at getting his hands on a World Cup after Argentina’s stalemate against Brazil on November 16.
Ecuador sealed their spot at the World Cup finals despite losing 3-1 at Paraguay on Thursday, and while the defeat was not the ideal way to secure qualification they have solidified their claim to being the fourth best side in South America.
The top four teams in the single table advance to the World Cup, while the fifth-place team goes to an intercontinental play-off.
No region’s campaign has been more disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic than Oceania’s.
Oceania is currently slated to stage the entirety of its qualifying process in March 2022, in Qatar, but it’s unclear whether all 11 of Oceania’s teams will participate.
New Zealand are the highest-ranked side, and will be favourites to advance to the intercontinental play-off – where they have twice fallen at that particular hurdle, ahead of Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Tahiti, Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, American Samoa, Samoa, Tonga and Cook Islands.
One representative each from Asia, Concacaf, Oceania and South America will play two-legged ties to determine the last two World Cup berths. Those games are slated for June 2022.
Who won’t be going to Qatar?
While there are still plenty of places to be decided, there will be plenty of big names that won’t be at next year’s World Cup.
Updated: March 25, 2022, 4:54 AM