With a break in play for the domestic season, as attention turns to international football – with the 2022 World Cup in Qatar looming, there are qualifying places still up for grabs. In fact, across all confederations, there are 44 countries looking to compete for the remaining 17 places – making it increasingly exciting for those searching the latest odds somewhere like here: https://www.paddypower.com/bet.
Let’s take a look at how things are panning out around the world, as we guide you through some of the teams still hoping to secure their place at this winter’s World Cup.
With the qualifiers at the third-round stage, there are 10 teams remaining – the winners of each group – and now in true knockout style, they’ll have to play over two legs. The five winners will all qualify for the World Cup.
There are some huge battles to come, not least a repeat of last month’s African Cup of Nations final, with Egypt hoping to get revenge on Senegal. The tie also sees Liverpool teammates Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane going head-to-head once more.
The remaining ties include:
- Nigeria vs Ghana
- Algeria vs Cameroon
- Morocco vs Congo
- Tunisia vs Mali
The groups are almost settled – with South Korea, Iran, Japan and Saudi Arabia already qualified, with a match to spare. In Group A, the UAE are in the driving seat, occupying third place – while there are three points separating them from Lebanon, who too, could still reach the next round. In Group B, it can only be Australia who will advance to the next round, having secured third place by a four-point cushion.
The winner of Australia’s match against the third-placed team in Group A will enter the inter-confederation play-off match, against the representative from South America.
The 10 winners of the groups have already qualified – while the teams finishing as runners-up have progressed to the second round. With Russia suspended from the tournament, opponents Poland have received a bye to the next stage – but there are still only three more places up for grabs, and it’s likely that a heavyweight is likely to miss out.
With Scotland’s match against Ukraine postponed, we could well see a clash of the home nations, with Wales through to the final in Path A. European Champions, Italy, won’t be there after they were knocked out by North Macedonia – who now face heavyweight Portugal in Path B. In Path C, Poland take on Sweden.
North. Central American and Caribbean
Two matches remain, and it’s all still to play for – as no team has qualified. One thing that is certain is that Jamaica, Honduras and El Salvador have already been eliminated.
At the top of the table, Canada leads the way, and the lowest they can finish is fourth. John Herdman’s side boast a three-point cushion over the USA in second and Mexico in third. The two nations met earlier in the week, playing out a goalless draw which didn’t do their chances any harm.
With just one place up for grabs – and that place not guaranteed, due to the inter-confederation play-off, the qualifying campaign for the Oceania nations has been chaotic, to say the least.
Vanuatu and the Cook Islands withdrew from the tournament, due to covid outbreaks, and whole of Group A was void – with the Solomon Islands and Tahiti progressing. New Zealand have qualified from Group B, as well as Papua New Guinea who beat Fiji in their final game. The next round of fixtures are as follows:
- Solomon Islands vs Papua New Guinea
- New Zealand vs Tahiti
Both Brazil and Argentina, who have been unbeaten thus far in their respective qualifying campaigns, have secured their places in Qatar. Their rearranged fixture is yet to be confirmed. Ecuador and Uruguay have also had their places confirmed after the penultimate round of fixtures.
There are three nations all vying for the inter-confederation play-off place – Peru, Colombia and Chile. The latter are seventh in the standings and face Uruguay in their final match. Elsewhere, Peru host Paraguay, and Colombia travel to Venezuela.