2022 FIFA World Cup qualification (UEFA)
UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying.png
Tournament details
Dates24 March 2021 – 5 June 2022
Teams55 (from 1 confederation)
Tournament statistics
Matches played258
Goals scored781 (3.03 per match)
Attendance3,037,488 (11,773 per match)
Top scorer(s)England Harry Kane
Netherlands Memphis Depay
(12 goals each)
2018
2026

The European section of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification acted as qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, to be held in Qatar, for national teams that are members of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).[1] A total of 13 slots in the final tournament were available for UEFA teams.[2]

Entrants

All 55 FIFA-affiliated national teams from UEFA entered qualification.

Status of Russia

On 9 December 2019, the World Anti-Doping Agency initially handed Russia a four-year ban from all major international sporting events, after RUSADA was found non-compliant for handing over manipulated lab data to investigators.[3] However, the Russia national team could still enter qualification, as the ban only applies to the World Cup proper as a world championship. The WADA ruling allowed athletes who were not involved in doping or the coverup to compete, but prohibited the use of the Russian flag and anthem at major international sporting events.[4] An appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport was filed,[5] but WADA's decision was upheld though reduced to a two-year ban.[6] The CAS ruling also allowed the name "Russia" to be displayed on uniforms if the words "Neutral Athlete" or "Neutral Team" have equal prominence.[7] If Russia had qualified for the tournament, its players would not have been able to use their country's name alone, flag or anthem at the World Cup, as a result of the nation's two-year ban from world championships and Olympic Games in all sports.[7]

On 27 February 2022, after the threat of boycotts by the Czech Republic, Poland and Sweden amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine,[8] FIFA prohibited the Russia national football team from playing home matches in Russia; the team would have to play matches behind closed doors at neutral sites. In addition, the team would have been prohibited from competing under the name, flag, or national anthem of Russia, and had to compete under the name "Football Union of Russia" (RFU).[9] On 28 February, however, in accordance with a recommendation by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), FIFA suspended the participation of Russia.[10][11] Poland were subsequently given a walkover for their play-off semi-final match scheduled against Russia.[12] The Russian Football Union announced they would appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.[13] Their request for a temporary lift of the ban was rejected on 18 March.[14]

Format

The qualification format was confirmed by the UEFA Executive Committee during their meeting in Nyon, Switzerland, on 4 December 2019.[15][16] The qualification would depend, in part, on results from the 2020–21 UEFA Nations League, although to a lesser degree than the 2018–19 UEFA Nations League had on qualification for UEFA Euro 2020. The structure maintained UEFA's usual 'group stage/playoff stage' structure, with only the specific format of the play-offs amended.[17][18][19]

On 4 December 2019, the UEFA Executive Committee initially approved the use of the video assistant referee system for the qualifiers.[17] However, VAR was not implemented at the start of qualification due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on operational and logistical capabilities.[20] On 5 August 2021, UEFA announced that the VAR system would be used for the remainder of qualification, starting from September 2021.[21]

Schedule

Below is the schedule of the European qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.[16]

In March 2020, UEFA announced that the two matchdays planned to take place in June 2021 would be moved following the rescheduling of UEFA Euro 2020 to June and July 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[22] To allow for the completion of the qualifying group stage in November 2021 as scheduled, UEFA announced on 24 September 2020 that the March and September 2021 windows in the FIFA International Match Calendar were expanded from two to three matchdays.[23][24] The changes to the International Match Calendar for March and September 2021, which extended each window by one day, were approved by the FIFA Council on 4 December 2020.[25]

Round Matchday Dates
First round
(group stage)
Matchday 1 24–25 March 2021
Matchday 2 27–28 March 2021
Matchday 3 30–31 March 2021
Matchday 4 1–2 September 2021
Matchday 5 4–5 September 2021
Matchday 6 7–8 September 2021
Matchday 7 8–9 October 2021
Matchday 8 11–12 October 2021
Matchday 9 11–13 November 2021
Matchday 10 14–16 November 2021
Second round
(play-offs)
Semi-finals 24 March & 1 June 2022[note 1]
Finals 29 March & 5 June 2022[note 1]

The original schedule of the qualifying group stage, as planned before the pandemic, was as follows.[16]

Original group stage schedule
Matchday Dates
Matchday 1 25–27 March 2021
Matchday 2 28–30 March 2021
Matchday 3 4–5 June 2021
Matchday 4 7–8 June 2021
Matchday 5 2–4 September 2021
Matchday 6 5–7 September 2021
Matchday 7 7–9 October 2021
Matchday 8 10–12 October 2021
Matchday 9 11–13 November 2021
Matchday 10 14–16 November 2021

First round

Seeding

The draw for the first round (group stage) was held in Zürich, Switzerland, on 7 December 2020, 18:00 CET (UTC+1).[26][27][28][29][30][31] However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the draw occurred as a virtual event without any representatives of member associations present. It was originally planned to be held on 29 November 2020.[32] On 18 June 2020, the UEFA Executive Committee approved the draw regulations for the qualifying group stage.[33] The draw was presented by Spanish journalist Cristina Gullón and conducted by FIFA's acting director of competitions, Jaime Yarza.[34] He was assisted by former footballers Daniele De Rossi and Rafael van der Vaart, who drew the balls from the pots.[35]

The 55 teams were seeded into six pots based on the November 2020 FIFA World Rankings, after the conclusion of the league phase of the 2020–21 UEFA Nations League. Pots 1 to 5 contained ten teams, while Pot 6 contained five teams. The teams were drawn into ten groups: five groups of five teams (Groups A–E) and five groups of six teams (Groups F–J). The draw started with Pot 1 and completed with Pot 6, from where a team was drawn and assigned to the first available group in alphabetical order. Therefore, each six-team group contains one team from each of the six pots, while each five-team group contains one team from each of the first five pots.[36]

The following restrictions were applied with computer assistance:[24][37][38]

Teams were allocated to seeding pots as follows (November 2020 FIFA Rankings shown in second column; the national teams which qualified for the final tournament are presented in bold; the national teams which took part in the play-offs are presented in italic).[39][40]

Pot 1
Team Rank
 Belgium 1
 France 2
 England 4
 Portugal 5
 Spain 6
 Italy 10
 Croatia 11
 Denmark 12
 Germany 13
 Netherlands 14
Pot 2
Team Rank
  Switzerland 16
 Wales 18
 Poland 19
 Sweden 20
 Austria 23
 Ukraine 24
 Serbia 30
 Turkey 32
 Slovakia 33
 Romania 37
Pot 3
Team Rank
 Russia 39
 Hungary 40
 Republic of Ireland 42
 Czech Republic 42
 Norway 44
 Northern Ireland 45
 Iceland 46
 Scotland 48
 Greece 53
 Finland 54
Pot 4
Team Rank
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 55
 Slovenia 62
 Montenegro 63
 North Macedonia 65
 Albania 66
 Bulgaria 68
 Israel 87
 Belarus 88
 Georgia 89
 Luxembourg 98
Pot 5
Team Rank
 Armenia 99
 Cyprus 100
 Faroe Islands 107
 Azerbaijan 109
 Estonia 109
 Kosovo 117
 Kazakhstan 122
 Lithuania 129
 Latvia 136
 Andorra 151
Pot 6
Team Rank
 Malta 176
 Moldova 177
 Liechtenstein 181
 Gibraltar 195
 San Marino 210

Summary

  Winner of each group qualified directly for the 2022 FIFA World Cup
  Runner-up of each group and best two Nations League group winners advanced to the second round (play-offs)
  Other teams were eliminated after the first round
  Advanced to the second round (play-offs) as a group runner-up, later suspended
Group A Group B Group C Group D Group E Group F Group G Group H Group I Group J

Serbia

Spain

Switzerland

France

Belgium

Denmark

Netherlands

Croatia

England

Germany

Portugal

Sweden

Italy

Ukraine

Wales

Scotland

Turkey

Russia

Poland

North Macedonia

Republic of Ireland

Greece

Northern Ireland

Finland

Czech Republic

Israel

Norway

Slovakia

Albania

Romania

Luxembourg

Georgia

Bulgaria

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Estonia

Austria

Montenegro

Slovenia

Hungary

Armenia

Azerbaijan

Kosovo

Lithuania

Kazakhstan

Belarus

Faroe Islands

Latvia

Cyprus

Andorra

Iceland

Moldova

Gibraltar

Malta

San Marino

Liechtenstein

Groups

The fixture list was confirmed by UEFA on 8 December 2020, the day following the draw.[41][42][43] Qatar were partnered with the five-team Group A, which enabled the 2022 FIFA World Cup hosts to play centralised friendlies against these countries on their "spare" match dates. However, these friendlies did not count in the qualifying group standings.[44][45]

Group A

Main article: 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – UEFA Group A

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Serbia 8 6 2 0 18 9 +9 20 Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup 2–2 3–2 4–1 3–1
2  Portugal 8 5 2 1 17 6 +11 17 Advance to play-offs 1–2 2–1 5–0 1–0
3  Republic of Ireland 8 2 3 3 11 8 +3 9 1–1 0–0 0–1 1–1
4  Luxembourg 8 3 0 5 8 18 −10 9 0–1 1–3 0–3 2–1
5  Azerbaijan 8 0 1 7 5 18 −13 1 1–2 0–3 0–3 1–3
Source: FIFA, UEFA
Rules for classification: Tiebreakers

Group B

Main article: 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – UEFA Group B

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Spain 8 6 1 1 15 5 +10 19 Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup 1–0 1–1 4–0 3–1
2  Sweden 8 5 0 3 12 6 +6 15 Advance to play-offs 2–1 2–0 1–0 3–0
3  Greece 8 2 4 2 8 8 0 10 0–1 2–1 1–1 1–1
4  Georgia 8 2 1 5 6 12 −6 7 1–2 2–0 0–2 0–1
5  Kosovo 8 1 2 5 5 15 −10 5 0–2 0–3 1–1 1–2
Source: FIFA, UEFA
Rules for classification: Tiebreakers

Group C

Main article: 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – UEFA Group C

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1   Switzerland 8 5 3 0 15 2 +13 18 Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup 0–0 2–0 4–0 1–0
2  Italy 8 4 4 0 13 2 +11 16 Advance to play-offs 1–1 2–0 1–1 5–0
3  Northern Ireland 8 2 3 3 6 7 −1 9 0–0 0–0 0–0 1–0
4  Bulgaria 8 2 2 4 6 14 −8 8 1–3 0–2 2–1 1–0
5  Lithuania 8 1 0 7 4 19 −15 3 0–4 0–2 1–4 3–1
Source: FIFA, UEFA
Rules for classification: Tiebreakers

Group D

Main article: 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – UEFA Group D

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  France 8 5 3 0 18 3 +15 18 Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup 1–1 2–0 1–1 8–0
2  Ukraine 8 2 6 0 11 8 +3 12 Advance to play-offs 1–1 1–1 1–1 1–1
3  Finland 8 3 2 3 10 10 0 11 0–2 1–2 2–2 1–0
4  Bosnia and Herzegovina 8 1 4 3 9 12 −3 7 0–1 0–2 1–3 2–2
5  Kazakhstan 8 0 3 5 5 20 −15 3 0–2 2–2 0–2 0–2
Source: FIFA, UEFA
Rules for classification: Tiebreakers

Group E

Main article: 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – UEFA Group E

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Belgium 8 6 2 0 25 6 +19 20 Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup 3–1 3–0 3–1 8–0
2  Wales 8 4 3 1 14 9 +5 15 Advance to play-offs 1–1 1–0 0–0 5–1
3  Czech Republic 8 4 2 2 14 9 +5 14 Advance to play-offs via Nations League 1–1 2–2 2–0 1–0
4  Estonia 8 1 1 6 9 21 −12 4 2–5 0–1 2–6 2–0
5  Belarus 8 1 0 7 7 24 −17 3 0–1 2–3 0–2 4–2
Source: FIFA, UEFA
Rules for classification: Tiebreakers

Group F

Main article: 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – UEFA Group F

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Denmark 10 9 0 1 30 3 +27 27 Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup 2–0 5–0 1–0 3–1 8–0
2  Scotland 10 7 2 1 17 7 +10 23 Advance to play-offs 2–0 3–2 2–2 4–0 1–0
3  Israel 10 5 1 4 23 21 +2 16 0–2 1–1 5–2 3–2 2–1
4  Austria 10 5 1 4 19 17 +2 16 Advance to play-offs via Nations League 0–4 0–1 4–2 3–1 4–1
5  Faroe Islands 10 1 1 8 7 23 −16 4 0–1 0–1 0–4 0–2 2–1
6  Moldova 10 0 1 9 5 30 −25 1 0–4 0–2 1–4 0–2 1–1
Source: FIFA, UEFA
Rules for classification: Tiebreakers

Group G

Main article: 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – UEFA Group G

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Netherlands 10 7 2 1 33 8 +25 23 Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup 6–1 2–0 4–0 2–0 6–0
2  Turkey 10 6 3 1 27 16 +11 21 Advance to play-offs 4–2 1–1 2–2 3–3 6–0
3  Norway 10 5 3 2 15 8 +7 18 1–1 0–3 2–0 0–0 5–1
4  Montenegro 10 3 3 4 14 15 −1 12 2–2 1–2 0–1 0–0 4–1
5  Latvia 10 2 3 5 11 14 −3 9 0–1 1–2 0–2 1–2 3–1
6  Gibraltar 10 0 0 10 4 43 −39 0 0–7 0–3 0–3 0–3 1–3
Source: FIFA, UEFA
Rules for classification: Tiebreakers

Group H

Main article: 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – UEFA Group H

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Croatia 10 7 2 1 21 4 +17 23 Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup 1–0 2–2 3–0 1–0 3–0
2  Russia[a] 10 7 1 2 19 6 +13 22 Advance to play-offs, later suspended 0–0 1–0 2–1 6–0 2–0
3  Slovakia 10 3 5 2 17 10 +7 14 0–1 2–1 2–2 2–0 2–2
4  Slovenia 10 4 2 4 13 12 +1 14 1–0 1–2 1–1 2–1 1–0
5  Cyprus 10 1 2 7 4 21 −17 5 0–3 0–2 0–0 1–0 2–2
6  Malta 10 1 2 7 9 30 −21 5 1–7 1–3 0–6 0–4 3–0
Source: FIFA, UEFA
Rules for classification: Tiebreakers
Notes:
  1. ^ On 28 February 2022, FIFA suspended Russia from international competitions due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.[11]

Group I

Main article: 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – UEFA Group I

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  England 10 8 2 0 39 3 +36 26 Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup 2–1 5–0 1–1 4–0 5–0
2  Poland 10 6 2 2 30 11 +19 20 Advance to play-offs 1–1 4–1 1–2 3–0 5–0
3  Albania 10 6 0 4 12 12 0 18 0–2 0–1 1–0 1–0 5–0
4  Hungary 10 5 2 3 19 13 +6 17 0–4 3–3 0–1 2–1 4–0
5  Andorra 10 2 0 8 8 24 −16 6 0–5 1–4 0–1 1–4 2–0
6  San Marino 10 0 0 10 1 46 −45 0 0–10 1–7 0–2 0–3 0–3
Source: FIFA, UEFA
Rules for classification: Tiebreakers

Group J

Main article: 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – UEFA Group J

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Germany 10 9 0 1 36 4 +32 27 Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup 1–2 2–1 6–0 3–0 9–0
2  North Macedonia 10 5 3 2 23 11 +12 18 Advance to play-offs 0–4 0–0 0–0 3–1 5–0
3  Romania 10 5 2 3 13 8 +5 17 0–1 3–2 1–0 0–0 2–0
4  Armenia 10 3 3 4 9 20 −11 12 1–4 0–5 3–2 2–0 1–1
5  Iceland 10 2 3 5 12 18 −6 9 0–4 2–2 0–2 1–1 4–0
6  Liechtenstein 10 0 1 9 2 34 −32 1 0–2 0–4 0–2 0–1 1–4
Source: FIFA, UEFA
Rules for classification: Tiebreakers

Second round

Main article: 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – UEFA Second Round

The second round (play-offs) was contested by the ten group runners-up and the best two Nations League group winners, based on the Nations League overall ranking,[46] who finished outside the top two of their qualifying group. They were separated into three play-off paths, with each path featuring two single-leg semi-finals and one single-leg final. The semi-finals were hosted by the six best-ranked runners-up of the qualifying group stage, while the host of the final was determined by a draw.[47] The semi-finals were played on 24 March and 1 June, and the finals on 29 March and 5 June 2022. The winners of each path qualified for the World Cup.

Team selection and seeding

Second-placed teams

The ten runners-up from the first round advanced to the play-offs. Based on the results from the qualifying group stage, the six best-ranked teams were seeded, while the bottom four were unseeded in the semi-final draw.

Seed Grp Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Seeding
1 A  Portugal 8 5 2 1 17 6 +11 17 Seeded in semi-final draw
2 F  Scotland 8 5 2 1 14 7 +7 17
3 C  Italy 8 4 4 0 13 2 +11 16
4 H  Russia 8 5 1 2 14 5 +9 16
5 B  Sweden 8 5 0 3 12 6 +6 15
6 E  Wales 8 4 3 1 14 9 +5 15
7 G  Turkey 8 4 3 1 18 16 +2 15 Unseeded in semi-final draw
8 I  Poland 8 4 2 2 18 10 +8 14
9 J  North Macedonia 8 3 3 2 14 11 +3 12
10 D  Ukraine 8 2 6 0 11 8 +3 12
Source: FIFA, UEFA
Rules for classification: Counting only matches against teams ranked first to fifth in the group, 1. Points; 2. Goal difference; 3. Goals scored; 4. Away goals scored; 5. Wins; 6. Away wins; 7. Lower disciplinary points total; 8. Position in 2020–21 UEFA Nations League access list.[47]

Nations League group winners

The best two Nations League group winners that finished outside the top two of their qualifying group advanced to the play-offs and were unseeded in the semi-final draw.

UNL Rank UNL group winner Qualifying
group
A 1  France & D
2  Spain & B
3  Italy dagger C
4  Belgium & E
B 17  Wales dagger E
18  Austria double-dagger F
19  Czech Republic double-dagger E
20  Hungary I
C 33  Slovenia H
34  Montenegro G
35  Albania I
36  Armenia J
D 49  Gibraltar G
50  Faroe Islands F

Key

Draw

Following the completion of the UEFA first round, the twelve teams that advanced to the play-offs were drawn into three paths of four teams on 26 November 2021, 17:00 CET, in Zürich, Switzerland.[48][49][50][51][52] The following procedure was applied in the draw:[47][53]

For political reasons, matches between Russia and Ukraine were considered prohibited clashes, unable to be drawn into the same play-off path.[54]

The six runners-up with the best group stage performance were seeded in the semi-final draw, while the remaining four runners-up and two teams advancing via the Nations League were unseeded. The seedings were as follows:

Pot 1 (seeded)
Team Rank
 Portugal 1
 Scotland 2
 Italy 3
 Russia 4
 Sweden 5
 Wales 6
Pot 2 (unseeded)
Team Rank
 Turkey 7
 Poland 8
 North Macedonia 9
 Ukraine 10
 Austria NL–18
 Czech Republic NL–19

Path A

Team 1  Score  Team 2
Semi-finals
Scotland  1–3  Ukraine
Wales  2–1  Austria
Final
Wales  1–0  Ukraine

Path B

Team 1  Score  Team 2
Semi-finals
Russia  w/o[note 2]  Poland
Sweden  1–0 (a.e.t.)  Czech Republic
Final
Poland  2–0  Sweden

Path C

Team 1  Score  Team 2
Semi-finals
Italy  0–1  North Macedonia
Portugal  3–1  Turkey
Final
Portugal  2–0  North Macedonia

Qualified teams

Status of UEFA countries with respect to the 2022 FIFA World Cup:   Team has qualified for World Cup   Team eliminated   Team suspended   Country not a UEFA member
Status of UEFA countries with respect to the 2022 FIFA World Cup:
  Team has qualified for World Cup
  Team eliminated
  Team suspended
  Country not a UEFA member

The following 13 teams from UEFA qualified for the final tournament.

Team Qualified as Qualified on Previous appearances in FIFA World Cup1
 Germany Group J winners 11 October 2021 19 (1934, 1938, 19542, 19582, 19622, 19662, 19702, 19742, 19782, 19822, 19862, 19902, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018)
 Denmark Group F winners 12 October 2021 5 (1986, 1998, 2002, 2010, 2018)
 France Group D winners 13 November 2021 15 (1930, 1934, 1938, 1954, 1958, 1966, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018)
 Belgium Group E winners 13 November 2021 13 (1930, 1934, 1938, 1954, 1970, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2014, 2018)
 Croatia Group H winners 14 November 2021 5 (1998, 2002, 2006, 2014, 2018)
 Spain Group B winners 14 November 2021 15 (1934, 1950, 1962, 1966, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018)
 Serbia Group A winners 14 November 2021 12 (19303, 19503, 19543, 19583, 19623, 19743, 19823, 19903, 19983, 20063, 2010, 2018)
 England Group I winners 15 November 2021 15 (1950, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018)
  Switzerland Group C winners 15 November 2021 11 (1934, 1938, 1950, 1954, 1962, 1966, 1994, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018)
 Netherlands Group G winners 16 November 2021 10 (1934, 1938, 1974, 1978, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2006, 2010, 2014)
 Portugal Play-offs Path C winners 29 March 2022 7 (1966, 1986, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018)
 Poland Play-offs Path B winners 29 March 2022 8 (1938, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 2002, 2006, 2018)
 Wales Play-offs Path A winners 5 June 2022 1 (1958)
1 Bold indicates champions for that year. Italic indicates hosts for that year.
2 Competed as West Germany. A separate team for East Germany also participated in qualifications during this time, having only qualified in 1974.
3 From 1930 to 1998, Serbia competed as Yugoslavia, while in 2006 as Serbia and Montenegro.

Top goalscorers

There were 781 goals scored in 258 matches, for an average of 3.03 goals per match.

12 goals

9 goals

8 goals

6 goals

Below are full goalscorer lists for all groups and the play-off rounds:

Notes

  1. ^ a b Due to postponements in Path A of the second round, one semi-final and one final match were played in June 2022.
  2. ^ Due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russia were suspended,[11] and Poland advanced to the final on a walkover.[12]

References

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