FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers after November 2021 Window

Europe (UEFA):

Matches Played; Wins-Draws-Losses; Goal Differential; Goals For-Goals Against; Points

First Round: The Group Winners Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The Group Runners-Ups advance to the Second Round of Qualifiers. The Top 2 2020-2021 UEFA Nations League Group Winners, who are neither Group Winners or Group Runners-Ups, advance to the Second Round of Qualifiers, which is comprised of three four team playoff semi-finals, where the three winners of these four playoff semi-finals Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Tiebreakers:

  1. Overall Points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss)
  2. Overall Goal Difference
  3. Overal Goals For
  4. Points in Matches Played between Tied Teams
  5. Goal Difference in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  6. Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  7. Away Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  8. Fair Play Points (First Yellow Card: -1 Points; Indirect Red Card (Second Yellow Card): -3 Points; Direct Red Card: -4 Points; Yellow Card and Direct Red Card: -5 Points)
  9. Drawing of Lots by the FIFA Organizing Committee

Group A:

  1. Serbia: 8; 6-2-0; +9; 18-9; 20 (Qualified for 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  2. Portugal: 8; 5-2-1; +11; 17-6; 17 (Advanced to Second Round)
  3. Republic of Ireland: 8; 2-3-3; +3; 11-8; 9 (Eliminated)
  4. Luxembourg: 8; 3-0-5; -10; 8-18; 9 (Eliminated)
  5. Azerbaijan: 0-1-7; -13; 5-18; 1 (Eliminated)

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Matches from this Past Window:

Azerbaijan 1 Luxembourg 3

Republic of Ireland 0 Portugal 0

Luxembourg 0 Republic of Ireland 3

Portugal 1 Serbia 2

Analysis:

Serbia: Serbia stayed within reach of Portugal the whole Group, and when Portugal slipped up against the Republic of Ireland this past window, Serbia would beat Portugal to Qualify for the World Cup. Serbia has now Qualified for two straight World Cups. Serbia had a bad UEFA Nations League campaign in the 2020-2021 edition, winning a tiebreaker to stay in the Second Level, but Serbia failed to qualify for the 2020 European Championships. Serbia is one of the most talented teams in Europe and the World, but they tend not to play up to their level, which is something that Yugoslavia did as well, a country Serbia used to be a part of. If Serbia play to their highest level, anything is possible, like neighboring Croatia, who has been better in association football.

Portugal: Portugal is not eliminated, but losing at home 1-2, and that after drawing away 0-0 to the Republic of Ireland, is crushing for Portugal who led this Group the whole time. Portugal has one of the most talented teams on the planet, and looked like the best team after the 2018-2019 UEFA Nations League, but since then, Portugal has not played up to par. Portugal struggles in World Cup play. Now, Portugal Advances to the Second Round, as favorites to Qualify yet again, but they will need to be perfect this time.

Republic of Ireland: The Republic of Ireland’s World Cup campaign started off as a disastrous campaign, but at least the Irish have gone out in style, drawing Portugal at home and winning against Luxembourg away. This put the Republic of Ireland in Third Place, which is sort of where they were expected to finish anyway. But, the Irish will be disappointed, because they really were the Fourth best team in the Group when it mattered. The Irish were eliminated before the Luxembourgers. And, 8 points back from Advancing to the Second Round is horrible for a nation that often gets close to World Cup Qualification, or Qualifies for it.

Luxembourg: Luxembourg almost looked like they could Qualify or Advance to the Second Round. But, their hot early start cooled down. Luxembourg closed out the Group with an impressive 3-1 away win, but a disastrous 0-3 home loss. Luxembourg is starting to play at the level they should be at. Sure, geographically, Luxembourg is like a micro-state, but population wise, they are like Montenegro, and Luxembourg is very very wealthy, and should be better. It is disappointing for Luxembourg to finish Fourth, when they were the Third best team or higher for the whole Group play. Still, Luxembourg is now competitive against all teams, which is an improvement. Luxembourg has been improving slowly with time, and in the last World Cup Qualifying campaign, had some good results including an away draw against France.

Azerbaijan: The good news for Azerbaijan is that they are competitive. The bad news is that they consistently lose. The Azerbaijanis need to work on their national team so that it can start winning in Europe. Believe it or not, the Azerbaijanis actually have a good team, and given how far most European nations have to travel to get there, Azerbaijan should be doing better at home and picking up some wins and draws there.

Group B:

  1. Spain: 8; 6-1-1; +10; 15-5; 19 (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  2. Sweden: 8; 5-0-3; +6; 12-6; 15 (Advanced to the Second Round)
  3. Greece: 8; 2-4-2; 0; 8-8; 10 (Eliminated)
  4. Georgia: 8; 2-1-5; -6; 6-12; 7 (Eliminated)
  5. Kosovo: 8; 1-2-5; -10; 5-15; 5 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Georgia 2 Sweden 0

Greece 0 Spain 1

Greece 1 Kosovo 1

Spain 1 Sweden 0

Analysis:

Spain: Spain is really good again. So good that in the 2020 European Championships, Spain went undefeated, and only lost in Penalty Shootouts to Italy, while actually playing better than Italy. Spain got help from Georgia when Georgia beat Sweden, and with Spain winning against Greece, this meant Spain went into the last match in First in the Group. Spain then went onto beat their recent archnemis, Sweden, 1-0 at home to Qualify for the World Cup! Spain has the talent to win the World Cup, and they have the history to back it up having won the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Spain just needs to start winning matches consistently. They tie too much, which is why they were knocked out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the 2020 European Championship.

Sweden: Sweden squandered their opportunity as they had led the Group the whole time, and with a match against Georgia, and Spain playing Greece, it looked almost certain that the Swedish would win the Group. Instead, Sweden lost away against Georgia, and then lost away against Spain. Sweden needs to address their Zlatan Ibrahimović problem. Sweden plays very well without Zlatan Ibrahimović. Is he a bad teammate like the LA Galaxy players would have you believe? Does Sweden become too dependent on him when he plays and plays less as a team? What is it? Because, if Sweden can find a way to integrate Zlatan Ibrahimović into this team, Sweden would be much better. He is their best player, but they have a really good team without him that does better without him. Either way, Sweden Advanced to the Second Round, so they still can Qualify.

Greece: Greece finished where they were expected to finish, but with far less points than they were expected to finish with. Greece should have competed for a top 2 spot more than they did. Greece Advanced to the Second Round in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying before losing to Croatia in that round, 1-4, on Aggregate. In 2014, Greece Qualified for the World Cup, advancing to the Round of 16 before losing in a Penalty Shootout to Costa Rica. Now, Greece does not even get to the Second Round, and it was not even close. They were eliminated far earlier than they should have been. Greece needs to clean up their football. They did not qualify for the 2020 European Championship either, and they are still in the Third Level of the UEFA Nations League. The 2004 European Champions are now behind the North Macedonians, their archenemies.

Georgia: Georgia may not be getting the notoriety that Luxembourg or Armenia are getting with improving their football. But, they are improving like these two other nations. Georgia’s finish is their best since their 2006 FIFA World Cup Qualification campaign, and their 2020 European Championship Qualification campaign was their best since the 1996 European Championship Qualification. The Georgians may be known best for sports like wrestling, lelo burti, chess, rugby union and rugby league, and more recently, especially basketball, but Georgia is also becoming good in association football. Georgia was Promoted from the Fourth Level of the UEFA Nations League after the 2018-2019 edition, and finished well enough to stay in the Third Level after the 2020-2021 UEFA Nations League. Georgia’s big win over Sweden should become a blue print for how Georgia must approach the future, which is to really emphasize home matches, because the trips are very far for most of their European counterparts, which gives Georgia a huge advantage.

Kosovo: Kosovo was a massive and huge disappointment. Kosovo did improve from their 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification campaign, but they looked much worse than their 2020 European Championship Qualification. Kosovo has good talent, and should be doing better like their other former Yugoslav nations. Kosovo took a step back this World Cup Qualification, and they have taken a step back in some of their other sports too, like basketball.

Group C:

  1. Switzerland: 8; 5-3-0; +13; 15-2; 18 (Qualified for 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  2. Italy: 8; 4-4-0; +11; 13-2; 16 (Advanced to the Second Round)
  3. Northern Ireland: 8; 2-3-3; -1; 6-7; 9 (Eliminated)
  4. Bulgaria: 8; 2-2-4; -8; 6-14; 8 (Eliminated)
  5. Lithuania: 8; 1-0-7; -15; 4-19; 3 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Italy 1 Switzerland 1

Northern Ireland 1 Lithuania 0

Northern Ireland 0 Italy 0

Switzerland 4 Bulgaria 0

Analysis:

Switzerland: Switzerland is Mr. Consistent! They are consistently at every major tournament, and they are consistently playing well against the top teams of the World. And, their away draw against Italy, and then their 4-0 home thrashing against Bulgaria, meant that Switzerland Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup! Yet, the problem for Switzerland is not Qualifications or the Group Stage of tournaments, at least, usually it recently is not, rather the knockout stages are Switzerland’s problem. Switzerland improved this by winning against France in the 2020 European Championship Round of 16, before being knocked out in the Quarter-final. Switzerland has a deep and talented team, and should be expected to do well at the 2022 FIFA World Cup!

Italy: Italy was so high on their impressive undefeated streak, but they forgot what is most important in a league or Group format, and that is points! Italy drew too much to Qualify from the First Round, but they did win enough to Advance to the Second Round, where they will be a favorite to Qualify for the World Cup. But, the Italians were in this Round in the 2018 Qualifications, where they lost to Sweden on Aggregate and failed to Qualify. Sweden is in this Round again. The Italians will probably want to avoid the Swedish this time. Either way, the 2020 European Champions will be favored as they have one of the best teams in the World right now. Plus, the single-elimination setting will mean that the Italians do not have to worry as much about drawing, so long as they can win either in Extra Time or Penalty Shootouts. Still, it would help the Italians to not be so obsessed with drawing in Football, and more obsessed with winning.

Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland was very impressive from 2015-2018, but their impressiveness has run out. Northern Ireland in that streak went to the 2016 European Championship Round of 16, and Advanced to the Second Round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifications for Europe. However, since then, they have failed to Qualify for the 2020 European Championship, and did not Advance to the Second Round for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification. In fact, their UEFA Nations League campaigns have been awful, going 0-0-4 in the 2018-2019 edition, but staying in the Second Level due to changes in the 2020-2021 format, and then going 0-2-4 in the 2020-2021 edition, thus being relegated to the Third Level.

Bulgaria: Bulgaria was a team that was difficult to play in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifications in a group which featured France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belarus, and Luxembourg. They finished 6 points back from Advancing to the Second Round, with a 4-1-5 record. They also had an okay 2016 European Championship Qualification campaign, going 3-2-5. However, their play has gone severely down. Only 8 points from 8 matches and this is coming off of a 1-3-5 2020 European Championship Qualification. The only good thing Bulgaria did the last four years was get Promoted to the Second Level of the UEFA Nations League after the 2018-2019 edition, but they followed this up with being Relegated back to the Third Level after the 2020-2021 edition.

Lithuania: Lithuania may be trouble on the basketball court for opposition, but when it comes to the football pitch, not so much. Lithuania did worse this Qualification campaign, than the previous one for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Their 2020 European Championship Qualifying campaign was also worse than their 2016 European Championship Qualifying campaign. But, their 2020-2021 UEFA Nations League was much better than their 2018-2019 UEFA Nations League. Lithuania has been good at times, such as from 1996-2016 when they often competed quite well in Qualifications, but they have been getting much worse since. Something needs to improve for this proud Baltic country.

Group D:

  1. France: 8; 5-3-0; +15; 18-3; 18 (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  2. Ukraine: 8; 2-6-0; +3; 11-8; 12 (Advanced to the Second Round)
  3. Finland: 8; 3-2-3; 0; 10-10; 11 (Eliminated)
  4. Bosnia and Herzegovina: 8; 1-4-3; -3; 9-12; 7 (Eliminated)
  5. Kazakhstan: 8; 0-3-5; -15; 5-20; 3 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Bosnia and Herzegovina 1 Finland 3

France 8 Kazakhstan 0

Bosnia and Herzegovina 0 Ukraine 2

Finland 0 France 2

Analysis:

France: France started off short of impressive, but ended the Group well. Sure, if Ukraine had won more like they should have, France would be Advancing to the Second Round, but the same could be said about this French team, the defending World Cup Champions, and now the defending UEFA Nations League Champions! Their 2020 European Championship ended in the Round of 16 in a Penalty Shootout loss, and their 2018-2019 UEFA Nations League saw them finish Second in their Group behind the Netherlands on a tiebreaker and Sixth overall. But, outside of that, France has been flawless. France keeps winning in big matches, and while everyone has been high on Italy, France has sort of been overlooked. It got so bad that people started to talk about how bad France was doing because they could not win, while they were leading their World Cup Group. France ended those doubts with their 8-0 home thrashing of Kazakhstan to Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and then much to the chagrin of Finland, came out to win again and defeated Finland 2-0 away. France are probably the favorites to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup, as they have the deepest and possibly the most talented team. In fact, they do not even have some of their best players, as a lot of them have chosen to play for other nations like Algeria and Senegal to name two.

Ukraine: Ukraine Advanced to the Second round thanks to France who showed up in Finland to win a match they did not need to win or draw in. Ukraine got their second win in the Group over Bosnia and Herzegovina away, 2-0, which together with the French-Finnish result, meant that Ukraine would stay alive in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Ukraine drew too much, or else they would probably have Qualified already. Ukraine are very talented, and if in any other continent, probably would have Qualified for every World Cup since they have been an independent country again. But, due to playing in Europe, the Ukrainians have not Qualified since 2006, where they went to the Quarter-finals! Ukraine will be a tough opposition for any team in the Second Round, having gone to the 2020 European Championship Quarter-finals. Ukraine has improved in World Cup Qualifying, having finished Third in their very difficult Group for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifications, and have improved in their European Championship results. For the UEFA Nations League, they were Promoted after the 2018-2019 edition to the Top Level, and then Relegated after the 2020-2021 edition back to the Second Level.

Finland: Finland will be disappointed to not have Advanced to the Second Round, but they should be excited that their team is improving. They made it to the European Championship for the first time in the 2020 edition, they were promoted to the Second Level of UEFA Nations League after the 2018-2019 edition, and have stayed there after the 2020-2021 edition going 4-0-2 for Second Place in their Group. And, they improved in World Cup Qualifications, having their best result since the 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualification. Finland is improving in major sports from basketball to football and to auto racing, so it is a good time to be a Finnish sports fan.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Bosnia and Herzegovina had a disappointing FIFA World Cup Qualification campaign. They are a really good team, but you would not know it from their Fourth Place finish in this Group. That is why European World Cup Qualifiers are so hard, because there are so many good European nations. Bosnia and Herzegovina has been getting worse since their disastrous 2014 FIFA World Cup Group Stage campaign. They need to look at what they can do better, to change their trajectory. They did get promoted after the 2018-2019 UEFA Nations League to the Top Level, but were Relegated after the 2020-2021 edition to the Second Level.

Kazakhstan: Kazakhstan is really good in Futsal, but in Football, not so much. They have failed to win a FIFA World Cup Qualification Match since the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifications. They have not faired well in the European Championship Qualifiers either. In the UEFA Nations League, they were first Promoted from the Fourth Level to the Third Level after the 2018-2019 edition, but are in a playoff to stay up in the Third Division, potentially being Relegated to the Fourth Division after the 2020-2021 edition. Kazakhstan is just not doing very well in Europe. However, the last time they did do well in World Cup Qualification, was in 2002 where they went 4-2-0, but finished in Second in their Group, tied for First, due to a tiebreaker in the Asian Qualifications. It may behoove Kazakhstan to go back to the AFC, where they could excel. However, they are elite in futsal, and playing Europe keeps them really good. So, this transcontinental country may be best to stay in Europe for football, because their futsal depends on it.

Group E:

  1. Belgium: 8; 6-2-0; +19; 25-6; 20 (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  2. Wales: 8; 4-3-1; +5; 14-9; 15 (Advanced to the Second Round)
  3. Czech Republic: 8; 4-2-2; +5; 14-9; 14 (Advanced to the Second Round via Nations League)
  4. Estonia: 8; 1-1-6; -12; 9-21; 4 (Eliminated)
  5. Belarus: 8; 1-0-7; -17; 7-24; 3 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Belgium 3 Estonia 1

Wales 5 Belarus 1

Czech Republic 2 Estonia 0

Wales 1 Belgium 1

Analysis:

Belgium: Belgium is the current #1 Team, having finished Third Place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, having gone to the Quarter-finals of the 2016 and 2020 European Championship, and having finished Fifth Place at the 2018-2019 UEFA Nations League, and finishing Fourth Place at the 2020-2021 UEFA Nations League. This in addition to going to the Quater-finals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Belgium continued their dominance by Qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup with their 3-1 home win over Estonia. Belgium has very good attacking capabilities and have the potential to win the World Cup in 2022.

Wales: Wales finished Second in the Group which was good enough to Advance to the Second Round. Wales looks good, and could do some damage in the Second Round. Wales has not Qualified for a World Cup since 1958, but their recent European Championship form suggests that they may be ready to go once again, having gotten Third Place at the 2016 edition, and having gotten to the Round of 16 in the 2020 edition. Wales played in the Second Level of the UEFA Nations League the past two editions, and in this most recent edition, earned Promotion up to the Top Level for the 2022-2023 edition. Wales is improving. So they should be excited for the Second Round.

Czech Republic: The Czech Republic Advanced to the Second Round via the Nations League route, and is trying to use their momentum of having been 2020 European Championship Quarter-finalists, and having been a Second Level UEFA Nations League team for the first two editions only to earn Promotion in this most recent edition for the 2022-2023 edition to their advantage. The Czechs have not been to the World Cup since 2006, and will look to do so once again. They are improving, although, maybe not quite as good as their #2 ranked team in 2006.

Estonia: Estonia got worse this World Cup Qualifying campaign than the previous one for 2018, and got worse in the most recent European Championship Qualifying campaign than their 2016 Qualifying campaign. Estonia played in the Third Level the past two UEFA Nations League, but now will have to battle to keep their spot or potentially be relegated in a UEFA Nations League playoff for the 2022-2023 edition. Estonia has gotten worse, but at least they did not finish last place in this Group.

Belarus: Belarus did so well in the 2018 World Cup Qualification, as they were competitive in a very difficult Group. Belarus also did worse in their 2020 European Championship Qualification, than in their 2016 Qualification. Belarus has done well in the UEFA Nations League though, having earned Promotion in the 2018-2019 edition from the Fourth Level to the Third Level, and having finished Second in their Group in the 2020-2021 edition, thus staying in the Third Level for the 2022-2023 UEFA Nations League.

Group F:

  1. Denmark: 10; 9-0-1; +27; 30-3; 27 (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  2. Scotland: 10; 7-2-1; +10; 17-7; 23 (Advanced to the Second Round)
  3. Israel: 10; 5-1-4; +2; 23-21; 16 (Eliminated)
  4. Austria: 10; 5-1-4; +2; 19-17; 16 (Advanced to the Second Round via Nations League)
  5. Faroe Islands: 10; 1-1-8; -16; 7-23; 4 (Eliminated)
  6. Moldova: 10; 0-1-9; -25; 5-30; 1 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Moldova 0 Scotland 2

Austria 4 Israel 2

Denmark 3 Faroe Islands 1

Austria 4 Moldova 1

Israel 3 Faroe Islands 2

Scotland 2 Denmark 0

Denmark: Denmark performed very well in this Group, having won their first 9 matches, and were the hottest team in Europe. However, their loss to Scotland put an end to Denmark’s momentum they could have used at the 2022 World Cup, and puts their Top 10 status in jeapordy, thus making it harder for Denmark to get their own Group at the 2022 World Cup. Denmark Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in the October Window. Denmark looks really good, and finished Third in the 2020 European Championship, after getting to the Round of 16 in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Denmark is doing very well, having earned Promotion in the 2018-2019 UEFA Nations League from the Second Level to the Top Level, and finishing Second in their Group ahead of England in the 2020-2021 edition.

Scotland: Scotland is playing very well! Scotland Qualified for their first European Championship since 1996, after Qualifying for the 2020 edition, and will now look to Qualify for their first World Cup since 1998. Scotland finished last in their Group for the 2020 European Championship, but played competitively against each team. In the UEFA Nations League, Scotland earned Promotion in the 2018-2019 edition from the Third Level to the Second Level, and that is where Scotland stayed after the 2020-2021 edition. Scotland is scoring well right now, which is good.

Israel: Israel finished Third, which was real impressive. Israel is Eliminated, but they are doing better. Israel also failed to Qualify for the 2020 European Championship. Israel earned Promotion in the 2018-2019 UEFA Nations League from the Third Level to the Second Level, and have stayed there after the 2020-2021 UEFA Nations League.

Austria: Austria did not play up to the level they are capable of playing in this Group, as they should have been closer to finishing First, but they are still Advancing to the Second Round, via the Nations League route. Austria made it to the Round of 16 in the 2020 European Championship, and after two season in the Second Level of the UEFA Nations League, earned Promotion so that in the 2022-2023 UEFA Nations League, Austria will be in the Top Level. Austria has tons of talent, and will be difficult for any nation to defeat in the Second Round. Austria is improving, even if they took a step back in these Qualifiers.

Faroe Islands: Faroe Islands are competitive now, with everyone. They are doing well. It is no longer, just go to the Faroe Islands and get an automatic win. Nations are really having to go all out to defeat the Faroese. The Faroe Islands did worse in their 2020 European Championship Qualification than in their 2016 campaign, but outside of this, the Faroe Islands has been improving, so much so that after two seasons of the Fourth Level of the UEFA Nations League, the Faroe Islands earned Promotion to the Third Level for the 2022-2023 season. Things are looking up for the Faroe Islands, and if they can keep improving, who knows, maybe they can be like Iceland in 2016 and 2018. Plus, the Faroese probably are benefitting greatly from Danish born players, considering both are constituent countries of the Kingdom of Denmark.

Moldova: Moldova is doing pitiful. For how big they are, and how good some of the clubs are in their domestic league, Moldova should not be doing this bad. They are underperforming. They have done bad in their last two World Cup and European Championship Qualifications now, earning only 1 win across those last 4 Qualification campaigns. Moldova earned Promotion from the Fourth Level to the Third Level after the 2018-2019 UEFA Nations League, but after the 2020-2021 UEFA Nations League, will need to win a playoff to either stay up or become relegated back down to the Fourth Level for the 2022-2023 edition.

Group G:

  1. Netherlands: 10; 7-2-1; +25; 33-8; 23 (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  2. Turkey: 10; 6-3-1; +11; 27-16; 21 (Advanced to the Second Round)
  3. Norway: 10; 5-3-2; +7; 15-8; 18 (Eliminated)
  4. Montenegro: 10; 3-3-4; -1; 14-15; 12 (Eliminated)
  5. Latvia: 10; 2-3-5; -3; 11-14; 9 (Eliminated)
  6. Gibraltar: 10; 0-0-10; -39; 4-43; 0 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Norway 0 Latvia 0

Turkey 6 Gibraltar 0

Montenegro 2 Netherlands 2

Gibraltar 1 Latvia 3

Montenegro 1 Turkey 2

Netherlands 2 Norway 0

Analysis:

Netherlands: The Netherlands Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup with their 2-0 home win over Norway. While the Netherlands may have started off not so good, they did end up Qualifying, which they failed to do for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The Netherlands had also failed to Qualify for the 2016 European Championship. But, for the 1974, 1978, and 2010 World Cup Runners-Up, and the 2014 World Cup Third Place team, this is now behind them. In the 2020 European Championship, the Netherlands finished in Ninth Place. In the UEFA Nations League, in 2018-2019, the Netherlands finished Second Place, and in 2020-2021, the Netherlands finished in Sixth Place. The Netherlands are starting to get much better again, and could be a favorite by the time the 2022 FIFA World Cup rolls around.

Turkey: Turkey started off really good, and then stumbled, and then finished well in this Group. Turkey’s 2-1 away win over Montenegro secured the Turkish their Second Round Advancement. Turkey did well this past window. Turkey has not done too well, however, in European competitions as of late, finishing 24th out of 24 teams at the 2020 European Championship, and after two seasons of Second Level UEFA Nations League football, being relegated to the Third Level for the 2022-2023 edition. Still, Turkey is one of the most talented teams in the World. If Turkey do Qualify for the World Cup, they will be a favorite to go far, as their last World Cup they Qualified for, in 2002, Turkey finished Third Place.

Norway: Norway had a terrible end to the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, failing to beat Latvia away, and then failing to beat the Netherlands away. Norway, however, has still improved so much. Norway were Promoted from the Third Level to the Second Level of UEFA Nations League play after the 2018-2019 edition where they have been playing since. And, while Norway did not Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup or the 2020 European Championship, their style of football is still so good and fun to watch, that these improvements should show in terms of major tournament Qualification soon. Norwegians just may have to be patient for around three more years when their next opportunity comes up. Still, Norway is too good to have not won against Latvia. A win against Latvia would have given Norway more momentum to have played better against the Netherlands.

Montenegro: Montenegro did worse this World Cup campaign, and the most previous 2020 European Championship Qualification campaign. Montenegro seems to be getting worse, however, in the UEFA Nations League, Montenegro is improving, earning Promotion for the first time from the Third Level to the Second Level for the 2022-2023 edition.

Latvia: Latvia may have only had wins over Gibraltar, but their standings are still a sign Latvia is improving. Latvia have gotten better in the European Championship (2020) and World Cup (2022) Qualifications. In the UEFA Nations League, not so much, as the Latvians will be in the Fourth Level for the third time in the 2022-2023 edition.

Gibraltar: Gibraltar did not show the progression they had previously shown, which is worrisome for their national team. Gibraltar only showed slight improvements from the 2018 World Cup Qualifying Campaigns, while Gibraltar showed much bigger improvements in their 2020 European Championship Qualification compared to their 2016 European Championship Qualification. Gibraltar did earn Promotion for the first time from the Fourth Level to the Third Level of the UEFA Nations League, for the 2022-2023 season. Yet, this is partly, if not mostly, because Gibraltar had a really easy Group consisting of Liechtenstein and San Marino. The point is, Gibraltar needs to improve faster, more, and better.

Group H:

  1. Croatia: 10; 7-2-1; +17; 21-4; 23 (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  2. Russia: 10; 7-1-2; +13; 19-6; 22 (Advanced to the Second Round)
  3. Slovakia: 10; 3-5-2; +7; 17-10; 14 (Eliminated)
  4. Slovenia: 10; 4-2-4; +1; 13-12; 14 (Eliminated)
  5. Cyprus: 10; 1-2-7; -17; 4-21; 5 (Eliminated)
  6. Malta: 10; 1-2-7; -21; 9-30; 5 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Russia 6 Cyprus 0

Malta 1 Croatia 7

Slovakia 2 Slovenia 2

Croatia 1 Russia 0

Malta 0 Slovakia 6

Slovenia 2 Cyprus 1

Analysis:

Croatia: Croatia looked great against Malta, and bad against Russia, lucky to get a win over Russia. Still, Croatia won and Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup! Croatia has played well over the last four years against teams ranked outside the top 10. Sure, there have been some upsets like a loss in Hungary, a loss in Slovenia, and a draw against Jordan, but overall, Croatia has done enough to stay in the Top Level of UEFA Nations League, to Qualify for the European Championship and get to the Round of 16 there, and now Qualify directly for the World Cup! For most nations, that would be considered a major success. For the defending World Cup Runners-Up, who still feel cheated due to strange VAR decisions against them in a Final four years ago, these past four years have been bad. Croatia has not done well against the top 10, in fact, has done almost terribly. Almost because they have beaten Spain once, but they have done bad against top 10 teams. And, needing an own goal to defeat Russia is not an amazing result. Still, the Croatians did something they did not do last World Cup Qualifying, and that is win their Group and Qualify for the World Cup from the First Round! And, while their Group may have not been as hard at the bottom as last World Cup Qualifying (Finland and Kosovo verse Cyprus and Malta), it was arguably harder at the top, and it still was a group with no bad teams.

Russia: Russia did very well against Cyprus, and if they play like that, they will Qualify for the World Cup! They also did well away to Croatia, but were unlucky to give up an own goal. Still, the Russians Advanced to the Second Round. They have not been playing up to their 2018 World Cup level since the 2018 World Cup, but they are staying in the hunt, and are slowly improving to reach that level again.

Slovakia: Slovakia could have done more in this group, but did not. Still, they are now a consistent nation who can play well against all nations. The Slovakians may desire more, and they should, but looking at the top 2 teams in this group, a 2018 World Cup Quarter-finalist and the 2018 World Cup Runners-Up, the Slovakians did well to get Third.

Slovenia: Slovenia got their huge home win over Croatia to start their 2022 World Cup Qualifying, but since then, they never really did much. Still, they finished Fourth, which is one place below where many Slovenians thought they should finish. Slovenians should expect to be in World Cups. They have really good players. And in fact, they may have had the two best players in this Group. Unfortunately for them, both of them play the same position, goalkeeper, so they cannot really play at the same time.

Cyprus: Cyprus should do better! They have big name club teams, and they have lots of people, and they have money. They should not be barely finishing Fifth in a Group. But, this Group was difficult, and it is not like they should have finished higher, it is just that they should have had more points.

Malta: Malta still looks to be improving. Malta should become like a Luxembourg soon, where they may be small, but they are winning matches and staying competitive with lots of teams. But, this past November window, Malta looked bad.

Group I:

  1. England: 10; 8-2-0; +36; 39-3; 26 (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  2. Poland: 10; 6-2-2; +19; 30-11; 20 (Advanced to the Second Round)
  3. Albania: 10; 6-0-4; 0; 12-12; 18 (Eliminated)
  4. Hungary: 10; 5-2-3; +6; 19-13; 17 (Eliminated)
  5. Andorra: 10; 2-0-8; -16; 8-24; 6 (Eliminated)
  6. San Marino: 10; 0-0-10; -45; 1-46; 0 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Andorra 1 Poland 4

England 5 Albania 0

Hungary 4 San Marino 0

Albania 1 Andorra 0

Poland 1 Hungary 2

San Marino 0 England 10

Analysis:

England: England impressed this past window, really taking care of business in both matches, leaving nothing to chance. This is the England that people have needed to see for their whole history to be frank. England often leaves matches to chance, when they need wins, and they did not do this in this past window. Sure, a win over San Marino may be expected, but nonetheless, a 10-0 win is really good, and a 5-0 win over Albania is really good as well and England has now Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Still, people need to put into context the Group they were in, which outside of Poland and Hungary, was a Group England was expected to win comfortably in.

Poland: Poland may have Advanced to the Second Round, but they look okay. Poland used to be a nation on the brink of something big! They were Top 10, they had the best striker, and they were winning consistently. Right now, Poland just does not look good enough. They need to vastly improve for the Second Round if they want to Qualify for the World Cup.

Albania: Albania improved a lot this World Cup cycle. They did well to get Third Place, however, they did very poorly in this past window. Albania had a good chance to Advance to the Second Round, but did not show up in November. However, Albania should build off of this, and treat Qualifying for the World Cup as a realistic hope from now on.

Hungary: Like Romania, a new big stadium, and no World Cup to show for it! Hungary took a step forward it seemed in the European Championships, but they did not carry that over to World Cup Qualifying. Still, they almost Advanced to the Second Round via the Nations League route, and they did perform well this past window.

Andorra: Andorra did well to play competitively with a lot of teams. However, only beating San Marino and getting no other points has to be a step backwards. Andorra should be beating San Marino, according to their current progression, but this Catalan speaking country should also be picking up points against other nations. Last World Cup cycle, they defeated Hungary. Still, they did finish Fifth, where they were expected to finish. But, this was possibly their best chance to qualify for a World Cup, as it is not usual to have two micro-states in one group (San Marino and Andorra are considered micro-states, and usually do not do well in matches).

San Marino: Pitiful performance, and that is after a disastrous Nations League campaign where they had Liechtenstein and Gibraltar in their group. You would have thought that San Marino could pick up at least 1 point against Andorra, and at least one win in four matches against Liechtenstein and Gibraltar, but no. San Marino, however, did at least score 1 goal. Still, for the oldest sovereign state still in existence in the world, you would think that they could pick up at least 1 point every now and then. They may be mostly amateurs, but they are a rich country, and they need to demand more from their national team. Sixth Place was expected, but they may never get a better group to get a win in, as stated in the Andorra analysis, two micro-states in one group is not normal.

Group J:

  1. Germany: 10; 9-0-1; +32; 36-4; 27 (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  2. North Macedonia: 10; 5-3-2; +12; 23-11; 18 (Advanced to the Second Round)
  3. Romania: 10; 5-2-3; +5; 13-8; 17 (Eliminated)
  4. Armenia: 10; 3-3-4; -11; 9-20; 12 (Eliminated)
  5. Iceland: 10; 2-3-5; -6; 12-18; 9 (Eliminated)
  6. Liechtenstein: 10; 0-1-9; -32; 2-34; 1 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Armenia 0 North Macedonia 5

Germany 9 Liechtenstein 0

Romania 0 Iceland 0

Armenia 1 Germany 4

Liechtenstein 0 Romania 2

North Macedonia 3 Iceland 1

Analysis:

Germany: Germany is back to dominating teams they are better than. They had already Qualified for the World Cup in the October Window, but doubled down on their dominance winning by a combined score of 13-1 over these two matches this past window. Germany has won 4 World Cups, and will hope to tie Brazil for the most World Cups won at 5 in 2022. The Germans had a tough European Championship being knocked out in the Round of 16, and have not looked good in the UEFA Nations League finishing 11th and 8th respectively.

North Macedonia: North Macedonia came out and took care of business. There was no messing around in their away win over Armenia, and their home win over Iceland, while maybe a little nervy for 11 minutes or so in the Second Half, was again taken care of. North Macedonia will be in the Second Round of Qualifiers. North Macedonia has been improving in Europe too, qualifying for their first European Championship for the 2020 edition, finishing 23rd, and were promoted from the Fourth Level to the Third Level of the UEFA Nations League after the 2018-2019 edition, and has played there since.

Romania: Romania was the clear second best team in this group to start the qualifiers, but they managed to squander their chances away. A draw to Iceland at home was disastrous to their Qualifying hopes. In this past window, Romania’s lone win was 2-0 over Liechtenstein, which was a close match until an 87th Minute Goal put Romania ahead 2-0. Romania failed to Qualify for the 2020 European Championship, and are currently a Second Level UEFA Nations League team after earning Promotion in the 2018-2019 edition. Like Hungary, Romania has a new huge stadium, but no World Cup to show for it since it was built.

Armenia: Armenia started off very good, but ended poorly in this Group. Still, they were expected to get Fifth in the Group, but got Fourth. Armenia can build off of this for the future, even if this past window looked like the Armenia of the past. Armenia is improving in Europe as well, having earned Promotion in the 2018-2019 and the 2020-2021 UEFA Nations Leagues and is now a Second Level side. However, Armenia failed to Qualify for the 2020 European Championship.

Iceland: Iceland did not do well this World Cup Qualifying. Iceland was a Top Level side in the 2018-2019 UEFA Nations League, a Quarter-finalist at the 2016 European Championships, and a World Cup team in 2018, but now, they do not look good again. Iceland needs to reevaluate their football, or suffer future years of mediocrity at best. They have the talent to do better. Iceland did not Qualify for the 2020 European Championship, and is a combined 0-0-10 side in the UEFA Nations League, and have been relegated to the Second Level for the 2022-2023 edition.

Liechtenstein: Liechtenstein may be small, but still, 2 goals in 10 matches when there are plenty of professional footballers on their team. This is inexcusable. Liechtenstein is a rich country with good skiing. While they were expected to finish Sixth Place in the Group, Liechtenstein was still expected to do better than they showed. -32 Goal Difference is something for an amateur side to do, not a professional side. Liechtenstein has had a mixed bag over the past 4 years, having not improved in European Qualifiers, having improved in World Cup Qualifiers, and improved in the Fourth Level of the UEFA Nations League from 2018-2019 to 2020-2021. Fourth Level is where they will be for the 2022-2023 edition as well.

UEFA 2020-2021 Nations League Group Winners Route:

  1. France (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  2. Spain (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  3. Italy (Advanced to Second Round as Group Runners-Up)
  4. Belgium (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  5. Wales (Advanced to the Second Round as Group Runners-Up)
  6. Austria (Advanced to the Second Round via Nations League)
  7. Czech Republic (Advanced to the Second Round via Nations League)
  8. Hungary (Eliminated)
  9. Slovenia (Eliminated)
  10. Montenegro (Eliminated)
  11. Albania (Eliminated)
  12. Armenia (Eliminated)
  13. Gibraltar (Eliminated)
  14. Faroe Islands (Eliminated)

Qualified For the 2022 FIFA World Cup:

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

Advanced to the Second Round:

  • Portugal
  • Scotland
  • Italy
  • Russia
  • Sweden
  • Wales
  • Turkey
  • Poland
  • North Macedonia
  • Ukraine

Asia (AFC):

Matches Played; Wins-Draws-Losses; Goal Differential; Goals For-Goals Against; Points

Third Round: The Group Winners and Group Runners-Ups qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The Group Third Place teams advance to play each other in a playoff in the Fourth Round, with the winner advancing to the Intercontinental Playoff, to either play the South American Fifth Place, North American Fourth Place, or Oceanian First Place nation for one of the last two Qualification Spots at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Tiebreakers:

  1. Overall Points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss)
  2. Overall Goal Difference
  3. Overal Goals For
  4. Points in Matches Played between Tied Teams
  5. Goal Difference in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  6. Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  7. Away Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  8. Fair Play Points (First Yellow Card: -1 Points; Indirect Red Card (Second Yellow Card): -3 Points; Direct Red Card: -4 Points; Yellow Card and Direct Red Card: -5 Points)
  9. Drawing of Lots by the FIFA Organizing Committee

Group A:

  1. IR Iran: 6; 5-1-0; +9; 11-2; 16
  2. South Korea: 6; 4-2-0; +6; 8-2; 14
  3. UAE: 6; 1-3-2; -1; 4-5; 6
  4. Lebanon: 6; 1-2-3; -2; 4-6; 5
  5. Iraq: 6; 0-4-2; -6; 3-9; 4
  6. Syria: 6; 0-2-4; -6; 5-11; 2

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

South Korea 1 UAE 0

Lebanon 1 IR Iran 2

Iraq 1 Syria 1

Iraq 0 South Korea 3

Syria 0 IR Iran 3

Lebanon 0 UAE 1

Analysis:

IR Iran: IR Iran got two very important away wins to continue down their path of leading their group. While South Korea may be the more known team for World Cup success as of late from their Group, IR Iran is looking more dominant right now. Plus, IR Iran is scoring more than last World Cup Qualifiers. IR Iran looks really good. IR Iran finished Third Place in the 2019 Asian Cup.

South Korea: South Korea did very well to get two wins in this past window. South Korea continues to show that they are a Top 2 team in this group, which will qualify them for the 2022 FIFA World Cup if their standings hold. However, a concerning thing for South Korea, is that their attack is supposed to be a strong suit, but they only have 8 goals through 6 matches in this round of Qualifiers. South Korea may get away with not scoring many goals for the remainder of this Qualifying Group, as they are 8 points in front of the Third Place team, but they desperately need to get their shooting boots on for the World Cup, if they do Qualify. South Korea finished Fifth Place at the 2019 Asian Cup.

UAE: The UAE has been lackluster their whole World Cup campaign, consistently underperforming, and losing and drawing against teams they should win against. This round of Qualifiers, the UAE was making the age old mistake, since FIFA has gone to 3 points for a win instead of 2 points for a win, and that is that the UAE has been drawing a lot! It is better to go 1-0-1 than 0-2-0 and this past window, UAE showed this as they are now in the Fourth Round spot, which keeps them in World Cup contention. While it may be almost impossible for the UAE to finish Second or First Place in this Group at this point, finishing Third is still very desirable. The UAE has the talent to Qualify for the World Cup, but they just need to convert on their chances and score! They currently have the best scorer at this World Cup Qualifications, Ali Mabkhout, who scored in their win over Lebanon. The UAE finished Fourth Place at the 2019 Asian Cup, which the UAE hosted.

Lebanon: Lebanon lost two close matches at home, which now sees them in Fourth Place in their Group, and in a position that would see them Eliminated from the World Cup should these standings hold. Lebanon may not have some of the big name players that IR Iran, South Korea, or the UAE have, but they have a lot of talent. They just cannot afford to lose home matches like this, and they did. Lebanon is playing above its expected level however. Syria and Iraq, as well as the UAE, are expected to be better, along with IR Iran and South Korea. Lebanon finished Seventeenth Place at the 2019 Asian Cup.

Iraq: Iraq has to be upset with themselves. They are a very good footballing nation, with big stadiums, lots of fans, and big clubs. But, they do not get to play in Iraq. And, frankly they seem to just be playing for that Third Place spot in the Group. This means that their attacking is atrocious! 3 Goals in 6 Matches! That is not good enough to Qualify for a World Cup. Iraq finished Eleventh at the 2019 Asian Cup.

Syria: It may seem harsh to pick on Syria during these times, but it is only right! Syria in the last World Cup Qualifiers finished Third Place in this Round and would play Australia in the Fourth Round. They looked good, and they looked like a nation who could be improving. But, during this Round of the World Cup, they have been bad. However, they are scoring better than the UAE, Lebanon, and Iraq, so that is a positive. Syria needs to keep scoring as that is more of their strength. Play less for draws at this point, and more for wins. Syria finished in the Group Stage of the 2019 Asian Cup.

Group B:

  1. Saudi Arabia: 6; 5-1-0; +6; 9-3; 16
  2. Japan: 6; 4-0-2; +2; 5-3; 12
  3. Australia: 6; 3-2-1; +5; 9-4; 11
  4. Oman: 6; 2-1-3; -1; 6-7; 7
  5. PR China: 6; 1-2-3; -4; 7-11; 5
  6. SR Vietnam: 6; 0-0-6; -8; 4-12; 0

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Australia 0 Saudi Arabia 0

SR Vietnam 0 Japan 1

PR China 1 Oman 1

PR China 1 Australia 1

Oman 0 Japan 1

SR Vietnam 0 Saudi Arabia 1

Analysis:

Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia is the best nation going right now in Asia. They have the harder of the two groups, and they are doing great. While their goal scoring could be better, they still have 9 goals in 6 matches, as good as anyone else in the Group. Their away draw in Australia was a big point to keep Saudi Arabia out in front of the rest of the Group, and then their 1-0 win over Vietnam was enough to keep their pacing 4 points higher of the Second Place team. Saudi Arabia finished Twelfth at the 2019 Asian Cup.

Japan: Japan is finally in a World Cup Qualifying spot, with their not super impressive, but away wins over Vietnam and Oman. These were good wins for the Blue Samurai who now are in Second Place. However, their goal scoring is atrocious so far. But, if their defense continues to play this well, and they can score 1 goal a match, they should Qualify for the World Cup. Japan finished as Runners-up of the 2019 Asian Cup.

Australia: Australia had two draws this past window. That has pushed Australia into the Third Place position, which is not good for the Socceroos who have been staying within 2 points of Saudi Arabia this whole Group. The Socceroos had been scoring very well, but after this window, their scoring is no longer a quality that sets them apart from the rest in this Group, but it should be. For Australia to Qualify, they need to score more goals like they had been doing. Australia finished Seventh Place at the 2019 Asian Cup.

Oman: Oman did a good job to get 1 point away against PR China, but, since PR China is playing in the UAE right now, it is more of a home match for Oman. Oman needed to win this match, but they failed to, making their Qualifying hopes less likely. Their other result was a 0-1 loss away to Japan, which is a fair result given how good Japan is, but again, if Oman wants to Qualify for the World Cup, they have to win against the good teams. This past window saw Oman go from Third Place, down to Fourth Place, and now is 4 points off from Third Place with only 4 matches to go in this Group. Oman finished Sixteenth Place at the 2019 Asian Cup.

PR China: PR China may have only gotten 2 points from this past window, but who they got it against matters. While you would rather win and lose than draw and draw in many cases, sometimes, it is better to draw and draw if you need the two teams you are playing against to not get 3 points. PR China did that to stay within 2 points of Oman and 6 points of Australia. Last World Cup Qualifying, in this Round, PR China made a valiant comeback to get within 1 point of Third Place. This World Cup Qualifying, PR China looks to do the same, and now has an okay chance to do this. Yes, wins were most likely needed, but if PR China was going to draw, these two teams were the teams to draw against. PR China finished Sixth Place at the 2019 Asian Cup.

SR Vietnam: SR Vietnam has made significant in-roads to get to this stage, and are competitive right now with these teams. This is a good sign. SR Vietnam still has a slight chance to Qualify for the World Cup, but they would need either South Korea or Australia to not get more than 12 points, along with Oman and PR China. Overall, SR Vietnam just has not been good this Round of Qualifiers. SR Vietnam finished in Eighth Place in the 2019 Asian Cup.

How did the Host Nation do this Past Window:

Qatar: Qatar continued their terrible run of from, losing away to Serbia 0-4 and drawing away to Azerbaijan 2-2. From 24 March to 24 July, Qatar’s record was 8-2-0, with a 3-1-0 record in competitive matches (CONCACAF Gold Cup), but since then, Qatar has gone 0-2-6, which includes a 0-0-1 record in competitive matches (CONCACAF Gold Cup). Qatar plays in the FIFA Arab Cup towards the end of November and into December, which is a competition that this year, acts as a replacement for the FIFA Confederations Cup, in that it is held 1 year before and is seen as a practice run for the World Cup. Instead of the best teams from each Continent, the defending World Cup Champions, and the Host Nation playing in a very difficult tournament, it will be Arab nations who had to Qualify for this tournament, plus Host Nation Qatar, another of the Arab nations. While the FIFA World Cup will feature 32 nations with each continent having Qualifying opportunities and will last from 21 November to 18 December 2022, this tournament will only feature 16 nations with only members of the Union of Arab Football Associations having the opportunity to Qualify. These include 23 nations in Africa and Asia: Qatar, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, UAE, Syria, Mauritania, Oman, Bahrain, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, and Sudan who all Qualified, as well as Libya, Comoros, Yemen, Kuwait, South Sudan, Djibouti, and Somalia who did not Qualify. Algeria and Morocco will be sending their A Teams, which is deceiving. This means these are their teams that are made up of their best players who play in their own domestic leagues. The A Teams usually compete in this tournament called the African Nations Championship, for all local national teams as CAF calls them. It is tough to know which nations will have which players, but nonetheless, it will be good for Qatar to get more competition to get better. And, with Qatar having a very good team, with the two best teams sending the team that is not their best team, this gives Qatar a good chance of winning this tournament, giving a boost to Qatari confidence that may be needed following this poor run of form as of late. Qatar’s last 3 competitive tournament results were becoming 2019 Asian Cup Champions, 2019 CONMEBOL Copa America Tenth Place, and 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup Third Place! They have done well, with a combined record of 10-2-3. They also competed in the 2019 Arabian Gulf Cup, but only went 2-0-2 and only made it to the Semi-finals. Qatar competed in the 2019 CONMEBOL Copa America and 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup as an invited guest nation.

Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup:

  • Qatar (Host Nation)

Africa (CAF):

Matches Played; Wins-Draws-Losses; Goal Differential; Goals For-Goals Against; Points

Second Round: The Group Winners advance to the Third Round.

Tiebreakers:

  1. Overall Points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss)
  2. Overall Goal Difference
  3. Overal Goals For
  4. Points in Matches Played between Tied Teams
  5. Goal Difference in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  6. Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  7. Away Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  8. Fair Play Points (First Yellow Card: -1 Points; Indirect Red Card (Second Yellow Card): -3 Points; Direct Red Card: -4 Points; Yellow Card and Direct Red Card: -5 Points)
  9. Drawing of Lots by the FIFA Organizing Committee

Group A:

  1. Algeria: 6; 4-2-0; +21; 25-4; 14 (Advanced to the Third Round)
  2. Burkina Faso: 6; 3-3-0; +8; 12-4; 12 (Eliminated)
  3. Niger: 6; 2-1-3; -4; 13-17; 7 (Eliminated)
  4. Djibouti: 6; 0-0-6; -25; 4-29; 0 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Burkina Faso 1 Niger 1

Djibouti 0 Algeria 4

Niger 7 Djibouti 2

Algeria 2 Burkina Faso 2

Analysis:

Algeria: Algeria tied too much! The 1990 and 2019 African Champions, and thus the defending African Champions have been considered either the best or within the Top 5 of Africa since their 2014 Word Cup Campaign, which saw them go to the Round of 16, and get knocked out in Extra Time to eventual 2014 World Cup Champions, Germany. Algeria has made it to three other World Cups, including in 2010 where they were very impressive, having a chance to advance to the knockout stages until stoppage time of their final Group Stage match. Algeria Qualified for the 2021 African Cup of Nations, and is a favorite if not the favorite to Qualify from the Third Round to the 2022 World Cup. Still, it is a bit worrying that Algeria only drew against their only real threat in this Group. Algeria Advanced to the Third Round with their 2-2 home draw against Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso: Burkina Faso looked good and really challenged Algeria well. Burkina Faso Qualified for the 2021 African Cup of Nations, after failing to Qualify for the 2019 edition, and will be looking to ride their momentum from this Group there.

Niger: Niger failed to Qualify for the 2019 and 2021 editions of the African Cup of Nations. However, Niger did look good in this Group to the extent that they took care of the matches they were expected to win, like against Djibouti. If Niger can keep up this momentum, they could find themselves in the African Cup of Nations soon.

Djibouti: Djibouti was by far the weakest team, not just in this Group, but in the Second Round for all of Africa. Djibouti also did not Qualify for the 2019 and 2021 editions of the African Cup of Nations. Still, it was impressive for Djibouti to show slight improvements and make it this far in World Cup Qualifications.

Group B:

  1. Tunisia: 6; 4-1-1; +9; 11-2; 13 (Advanced to the Third Round)
  2. Equatorial Guinea: 6; 3-2-1; +1; 6-5; 11 (Eliminated)
  3. Zambia: 6; 2-1-3; -1; 7-8; 7 (Eliminated)
  4. Mauritania: 6; 0-2-4; -9; 2-11; 2 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Zambia 4 Mauritania 0

Equatorial Guinea 1 Tunisia 0

Tunisia 3 Zambia 1

Mauritania 1 Equatorial Guinea 1

Analysis:

Tunisia: Tunisia is looking to make their Sixth World Cup after Advancing to the Third Round, following Tunisia’s 3-1 home win over Zambia. Tunisia is coming off of a Fourth Place finish at the 2019 African Cup of Nations, and the 2004 African Champions have now Qualified for the 2021 African Cup of Nations. Tunisia Qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and made it to the Group Stage as the Third Place team in their Group, and is looking to get back there and do better this next time.

Equatorial Guinea: Equatorial Guinea competed well. The 2015 African Cup of Nations Fourth Place team Qualified for the 2021 African Cup of Nations, their first African Cup of Nations since they hosted it in 2015. Equatorial Guinea is once again on the way up, they just got put into a Group which featured Tunisia, who is very difficult to finish ahead of.

Zambia: Zambia should have been better. The 2012 African Champions have failed to Qualify now for the 2019 African Cup of Nations, the 2021 African Cup of Nations, and the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Zambians should be disappointed and demand more from their national team.

Mauritania: Mauritania is moving up in the World of Football having gotten to the Group Stage of the 2019 African Cup of Nations, and now going Qualified for the 2021 African Cup of Narions. Last place was expected for this North/Sub-Saharan West African nation. They did well to compete.

Group C:

  1. Nigeria: 6; 4-1-1; +6; 9-3; 13 (Advanced to the Third Round)
  2. Cape Verde: 6; 3-2-1; +2; 8-6; 11 (Eliminated)
  3. Liberia: 6; 2-0-4; -3; 5-8; 6 (Eliminated)
  4. Central African Republic: 6; 1-1-4; -5; 4-9; 4 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Liberia 0 Nigeria 2

Cape Verde 2 Central African Republic 1

Nigeria 1 Cape Verde 1

Liberia 3 Central African Republic 1

Analysis:

Nigeria: Nigeria has been to 6 World Cups, 3 Round of 16s, and has been ranked as high as #5 in the World, in 1994. Nigeria has been the most consistent African nation in World Cup play since 1994. And, Nigeria is the African country to have reached the knockout stages of the World Cup the most. Nigeria Advanced to the Third Round with their 1-1 home draw against Cape Verde. Nigeria Qualified for the 2021 African Cup of Nations, and finished Third Place at the 2019 African Cup of Nations. Nigeria did not look great in this Group, but they won it and now move on.

Cape Verde: Cape Verde looked much improved this World Cup campaign, and barely missed out on the Third Round. Having Qualified for the 2021 African Cup of Nations, which is a tournament they have not Qualified for since 2015, Cape Verdians should be excited about how their national team is improving, to the point that they are battling Nigeria out for control of the Gorup until the last match.

Liberia: Liberia finished off the Group on a high note with a 3-1 home win. Liberia failed to Qualify for the 2019 and 2021 African Cup of Nations, but they should use this last win as momentum for future matches.

Central African Republic: The Central African Republic is known for basketball, but not for football, and their lackluster results have continued. They did look better in their Group, but they have still yet to Qualify for the World Cup or the African Cup of Nations.

Group D:

  1. Cameroon: 6; 5-0-1; +9; 12-3; 15 (Advanced to the Second Round)
  2. Ivory Coast: 6; 4-1-1; +7; 10-3; 13 (Eliminated)
  3. Moazambique: 6; 1-1-4; -6; 2-8; 4 (Eliminated)
  4. Malawi: 6; 1-0-5; -10; 2-12; 3 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Malawi 0 Cameroon 4

Ivory Coast 3 Mozambique 0

Mozambique 1 Malawi 0

Cameroon 1 Ivory Coast 0

Analysis:

Cameroon: Cameroon Advanced to the Third Round in a match they needed to win against a quality opposition, Ivory Coast, and in which they did, 1-0, at home. Cameroon will be a top team in the Third Round. Cameroon, like most top African teams, benefits from having non-African born players on their national team that often come from Europe and play for their team as they are part of their diaspora. Cameroon has Qualified for 8 World Cups, and got to the Quarter-finals in the 1990 edition. While Cameroon did not Qualify for the 2018 World Cup, they did Qualify for the 2010 and 2014 editions. Cameroon were 2017 African Cup of Nations Champions, and went to the Round of 16 in the 2019 edition, and have Qualified for the 2021 edition as the Host Nation.

Ivory Coast: Ivory Coast will feel bad for having already been Eliminated from the World Cup, and this is a classic case of African Qualification formatting being just too rough, with no second chance. Only the Top Team from the Group moves on, and when a great side like Cameroon is in your Group, it makes it very tough. Having finished Fifth Place at the 2019 African Cup of Nations after going to the Quarter-finals, and having Qualified for the 2021 edition, the 1992 and 2015 African Champions will look to add a Third African Championship to their title, in Cameroon, which would hopefully help Ivorians cope with this Elimination better.

Mozambique: Mozambique kept a lot of matches close, and got 1 win and 1 draw, a good showing for a side that did not Qualify for the 2019 nor the 2021 African Cup of Nations. Mozambicans should be happy about there having been some improvements to their national team.

Malawi: Malawi did not perform well in this Group, but Malawians should be excited that they will get to see their national team compete at the 2021 African Cup of Nations which Malawi Qualified for, their first Qualification to the African Cup of Nations since 2010.

Group E:

  1. Mali: 6; 5-1-0; +11; 11-0; 16 (Advanced to the Third Round)
  2. Uganda: 6; 2-3-1; +1; 3-2; 9 (Eliminated)
  3. Kenya: 6; 1-3-2; -5; 4-9; 6 (Eliminated)
  4. Rwanda: 6; 0-1-5; -7; 2-9; 1 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Uganda 1 Kenya 1

Rwanda 0 Mali 3

Mali 1 Uganda 0

Kenya 2 Rwanda 1

Analysis:

Mali: Mali Advanced to the Third Round after their 3-0 away win over Rwanda and Uganda’s 1-1 home draw with Kenya. Mali has been a top team in the Under/Youth levels of national team football, and other national team sports like basketball, but at the senior level, Mali has struggled. Mali has never Qualified for the World Cup, but now is 2 matches away from doing that. Mali made it to the Round of 16 in the 2019 African Cup of Nations, and has Qualified for the 2021 edition.

Uganda: Uganda took their foot off the gas during this past window only gaining 1 point. Still, Ugandans should be happy and hopeful, as Uganda is starting to play better. Uganda made it to the 2019 African Cup of Nations Round of 16, but failed to Qualify for the 2021 edition, a major blow to Ugandan football. Nonetheless, they looked good in this Group.

Kenya: Kenya showed great improvement. Kenya also did this in the 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifying for it and getting knocked out in the Group Stage. But, Kenya did not Qualify for the 2021 edition. Still, Kenya looked good in this Group, and looks to be improving for the future. They are becoming more competitive.

Rwanda: Rwanda is not improving fast enough, if at all. Rwanda has failed to Qualify for the 2019 and 2021 African Cup of Nations, and their 2022 World Cup Qualification Campaign was bad. However, Rwandans should take away that they were competitive in most matches.

Group F:

  1. Egypt: 6; 4-2-0; +6; 10-4; 14 (Advanced to the Third Round)
  2. Gabon: 6; 2-1-3; -1; 7-8; 7 (Eliminated)
  3. Libya: 6; 2-1-3; -3; 4-7; 7 (Eliminated)
  4. Angola: 6; 1-2-3; -2; 6-8; 5 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Gabon 1 Libya 0

Angola 2 Egypt 2

Egypt 2 Gabon 1

Libya 1 Angola 1

Analysis:

Egypt: Egypt had a terrible habit of dominating Africa, this part is the good habit, but then doing atrocious in World Cup Qualification. The Seven Time African Cup of Nations Champions were even a Top 10 team in 2010, and did not Qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In 2018, The Pharaohs broke this curse, and Qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, for the first time since 1990, which had been Egypt’s first time since 1934. Egypt has only Qualified for three World Cups, and they are now close to Qualifying for their Fourth, and their first time Qualifying for back to back World Cups. In the 2019 African Cup of Nations, Egypt had a really good Group Stage going 3-0-0, but lost in the Round of 16. Egypt Qualified for the 2021 African Cup of Nations. Egypt have won the most African Championships, so they are hoping to have success this next year in both Africa, and in the World. Egypt Advanced to the Third Round of Qualifiers in their 2-2 away draw with Angola.

Gabon: Gabon does have Half-Gabonese Half-Spanish French born striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but that had not been enough for Gabon in this Group. It also was not enough for Gabon to Qualify for the 2019 African Cup of Nations, but luckily, Gabonese fans will be able to see Gabon at the 2021 edition which they Qualified for.

Libya: Libya has been improving their football as of late, which is quite impressive, and shows just how well North Africa has done lately in football. However, they failed to Qualify for the 2019 and 2021 African Cup of Nations, and have now failed to Qualify for the 2022 World Cup.

Angola: Angola should have finished Second, and should be challenging Egypt more in the Standings. Angola underperformed this World Cup Qualification. Angola also failed to Qualify for the 2021 African Cup of Nations, after being knocked out in the Group Stage of the 2019 edition. Angolans need to demand their football team to play better, as they have the football infrastructure to play better.

Group G:

  1. Ghana: 6; 4-1-1; +4; 7-3; 13 (Advanced to the Third Round)
  2. South Africa: 6: 4-1-1; +4; 6-2; 13 (Eliminated)
  3. Ethiopia: 6; 1-2-3; -3; 4-7; 5 (Eliminated)
  4. Zimbabwe: 6; 0-2-4; -5; 2-7; 2 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Ethiopia 1 Ghana 1

South Africa 1 Zimbabwe 0

Zimbabwe 1 Ethiopia 1

Ghana 1 South Africa 0

Analysis:

Ghana: Ghana is still going, which is good for Africa, as from 2006-2014, Ghana excited the World, and especially Africa, with their good play at the World Cup. Ghana got through on Goals For, which is so arbitrary that FIFA essentially considers scoring goals more important than giving up goals, but for Ghana, this came in handy. Ghana did not Qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but went to the 2019 African Cup of Nations Round of 16, and has Qualified for the 2021 edition. This is not a Ghana team like from 2006-2014, but they are still good, and could qualify. Ghana’s 1-0 home win over South Africa Advanced Ghana to the Third Round.

South Africa: South Africa will feel so awful after having lost to Ghana, and also lost out by 1 Goal For. South Africa looked good, and this is what South Africans should be proud of. South Africa looked like a legitimate World Cup team again, and in 2019, they also did having gone to the African Cup of Nations Quarter-finals. However, South Africa did not Qualify for the 2021 edition, and now have been Eliminated from the 2022 World Cup. The African continent is very difficult for its Qualification format, and no matter who was Eliminated between Ghana and South Africa, Africa was going to be missing out on a quality team for the Third Round.

Ethiopia: Ethiopia is a big country that has not accomplished anything big in football since the 1960s. Nothing has really changed. However, Ethiopians should be excited that Ethiopia Qualified for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, which is the first time Ethiopia has been at the African Cup of Nations since 2013.

Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe continues to do poorly in World Cup Qualifications. However, Zimbabwe has been doing well in African Cup of Nations Qualifications, having Qualified for the 2017, 2019, and now the 2021 editions. Zimbabwe has never made it out of the African Cup of Nations Group Stage, so Zimbabweans should be hoping for their team to do that at the 2021 African Cup of Nations.

Group H:

  1. Senegal: 6; 5-1-0; 15-4; +11; 16 (Advanced to the Third Round)
  2. Togo: 6; 2-2-2; -1; 5-6; 8 (Eliminated)
  3. Namibia: 6; 1-2-3: -5; 5-10; 5 (Eliminated)
  4. Republic of the Congo: 6; 0-3-3; -5; 5-10; 3 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Republic of the Congo 1 Namibia 1

Togo 1 Senegal 1

Senegal 2 Republic of the Congo 0

Namibia 0 Togo 1

Analysis:

Senegal: Senegal or Algeria have been the two best African teams for awhile, although Morocco has the best claim to that in terms of current form. Nonetheless, Senegal dominated this Group as they should have, and their recent African Cup of Nations results being Runners-Up in 2019 and Qualifying for the 2021 edition, suggests that Senegal is continuing to move in the right direction. The 2002 World Cup Quater-finalist barely did not get out of their Group in the 2018 World Cup, and they look to improve for the 2022 World Cup, but they first have to get by whomever they will play in the Third Round. Senegal should not get complacent either, as they have only Qualified for 2 World Cups. Senegal Advanced to the Third Round in the October Qualifying Window.

Togo: Togo made it to the 2006 World Cup, but has not been as successful since. They also have failed to Qualify for the 2019 and 2021 African Cup of Nations. Nonetheless, Togo looks to have improved during this Group Stage, something for the Togolese to be happy about.

Namibia: Namibia did not put up their best fight. While this was their best World Cup Qualification campaign since the 2014 edition, Namibia still underperformed for what they could have done. And, Namibia had made significant gains in 2019, Qualifying for the African Cup of Nations for the first time since 2008, but have now failed to Qualify for the 2021 edition. Namibia did not ride the momentum they thought they would.

Republic of the Congo: The Republic of the Congo had a bad World Cup campaign, but stayed competitive throughout. Their World Cup campaign and DR Congo’s should really read, The Tale of the Two Congos. The Republic of the Congo also failed to Qualify for the 2019 and 2021 African Cup of Nations. Better play for sure should be demanded of the RC.

Group I:

  1. Morocco: 6; 6-0-0; +19; 20-1; 18 (Advanced to the Third Round)
  2. Guinea-Bissau: 6; 1-2-3; -6; 5-11; 5 (Eliminated)
  3. Guinea: 6; 0-4-2; -6; 5-11; 4 (Eliminated)
  4. Sudan: 6; 0-3-3; -7; 5-12; 3 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Guinea 0 Guinea-Bissaue 0

Sudan 0 Morocco 3

Guinea-Bissau 0 Sudan 0

Morocco 3 Guinea 0

Analysis:

Morocco: Morocco is by far the best team in this Group. Morocco is coming off of a Round of 16 finish at the 2019 African Cup of Nations, is Qualified for the 2021 edition, and Qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. They are by far the best nation right now in Africa, and is a favorite to Qualify for the 2022 World Cup, no matter who they are grouped with in the Third Round. Morocco Advanced to the Third Round last Qualification Window.

Guinea-Bissau: Guinea-Bissau is turning into a good nation in football, even if these standings do not show it. Guinea-Bissau finished in the Group Stage at the 2019 African Cup of Nations, and Qualified for the 2021 edition. Guinea-Bissau has a lot of talent throughout their roster, and probably should have done better against their other opposition besides Morocco.

Guinea: Guinea has been really good at times, but right now is not one of those times. They made it to the 2019 African Cup of Nations Round of 16, and Qualified for the 2021 edition, but their World Cup Qualification campaign ended with only 4 points from 6 matches. Not good enough.

Sudan: Sudan had their best World Cup Qualifying campaign since the 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifications, and Sudan Qualified for the 2021 African Cup of Nations, the first time they have Qualified for the African Cup of Nations since the 2012 edition. Sudan may have finished last in this Group, but they are improving.

Group J:

  1. DR Congo: 6; 3-2-1; +6; 9-3; 11 (Advanced to the Third Round)
  2. Benin: 6; 3-1-2; +1; 5-4; 10 (Eliminated)
  3. Tanzania: 6; 2-2-2; -2; 6-8; 8 (Eliminated)
  4. Madagascar: 6; 1-1-4; -5; 4-9; 4 (Eliminated)

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Tanzania 0 DR Congo 3

Benin 2 Madagascar 0

DR Congo 2 Benin 0

Madagascar 1 Tanzania 1

Analysis:

DR Congo: DR Congo is in the last Round of Qualifications again, after barely missing out on the 2018 FIFA World Cup by 1 point! DR Congo has a lot of talent, and depending on who they get drawn against, DR Congo could be a favorite to Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup! They have only done this once, in 1974. DR Congo has had a mixed bag of the last 4 years. They made it to the 2019 CAF African Cup of Nations Round of 16, but they failed to Qualify for the 2021 African Cup of Nations. Still, they were the best nation this whole Group, and the final standings from this Group reflect that, as their 2-0 home win over Benin Advanced DR Congo to the Third Round.

Benin: Benin failed to Qualify for the World Cup yet again, having never Qualified for it before. But, this was their best Qualifying campaign since the 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifications. Benin did not Qualify for the 2021 African Cup of Nations, but did make it to the Quarter-finals of the 2019 edition, the furthest they have ever been. The Beninese have a lot to be hopeful for in the future. Their national team is improving.

Tanzania: Tanzania did not have a great Qualification campaign, but still finished only 3 points from First Place in the Group. This shows how good Tanzania can be, if they can just improve a little. However, these past 4 years must be looked it in disdain, as the Tanzanians finished 24th of 24 teams at the 2019 African Cup of Nations, and did not Qualify for the 2021 edition.

Madagascar: Madagascar was the weakest team in the Group, but still kept it competitive. They made it to the 2019 African Cup of Nations Quarter-finals finishing in Sixth Place, in their first Qualification to the African Cup of Nations. Madagascar, however, did not Qualify for the 2021 African Cup of Nations, and finished last in this Group. It has been a lot of ups and downs for Madagascar fans.

Advanced to the Third Round:

  • Morocco
  • Senegal
  • Mali
  • Cameroon
  • Algeria
  • Egypt
  • Ghana
  • Tunisia
  • Nigeria
  • DR Congo

North America (CONCACAF):

Matches Played; Wins-Draws-Losses; Goal Differential; Goals For-Goals Against; Points

Third Round/Octagonal Phase: The Top Three nations in the Group Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The Fourth Place team advances to the Intercontinental Cup, to to either play the South American Fifth Place, Asian Fifth Place, or Oceanian First Place nation for one of the last two Qualification Spots at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Tiebreakers:

  1. Overall Points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss)
  2. Overall Goal Difference
  3. Overal Goals For
  4. Points in Matches Played between Tied Teams
  5. Goal Difference in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  6. Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  7. Away Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  8. Fair Play Points (First Yellow Card: -1 Points; Indirect Red Card (Second Yellow Card): -3 Points; Direct Red Card: -4 Points; Yellow Card and Direct Red Card: -5 Points)
  9. Drawing of Lots by the FIFA Organizing Committee
  1. Canada: 8; 4-4-0; +8; 13-5; 16
  2. USA: 8; 4-3-1; +7; 12-5; 15
  3. Mexico: 8; 4-2-2; +4; 11-7; 14
  4. Panama: 8; 4-2-2; +2; 11-9; 14
  5. Costa Rica: 8; 2-3-3; -1; 6-7; 9
  6. Jamaica: 8; 1-4-3; -4; 6-10; 7
  7. El Salvador: 8; 1-3-4; -6; 4-10; 6
  8. Honduras: 8; 0-3-5; -10; 5-15; 3

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Honduras 2 Panama 3

El Salvador 1 Jamaica 1

Canada 1 Costa Rica 0

USA 2 Mexico 0

Jamaica 1 USA 1

Costa Rica 2 Honduras 1

Panama 2 El Salvador 1

Canada 2 Mexico 1

Analysis:

Canada: Canada earned two major home wins to put themselves on top of the Octagonal! Now, Canada has tied and defeated Mexico, in a World Cup Group, something spectacular by any nation, but especially Canada who is looking to Qualify for their First World Cup since 1986, and their Second World Cup ever. Canada has been improving every year the last four years, finishing Sixth at the 2019 Gold Cup, Fifth at the 2019-2020 CONCACAF Nations League, and then Fourth at the 2021 Gold Cup! Canada is looking very good, but they must be alert they are only 2 points up over the Fourth Place team, Panama. Canada should seek direct Qualification from this Round, as the Intercontinental Playoff could prove very tricky.

USA: The USA is the best nation going in North America, even if Canada is currently leading the Octagonal. The USA finished as Runners-Up at the 2019 Gold Cup, Champions of the 2019-2020 CONCACAF Nations League, and Champions of the 2021 Gold Cup. While their Jamaica draw hurts, their Mexico win is a big boost to USA’s confidence. USA needs to keep winning though, as they are starting to draw too often.

Mexico: Mexico had a rough past window, losing away to the USA, 0-2, and losing away to Canada, 1-2. Mexico is still in a direct Qualification spot, but only due to Goal Difference. Mexico will need to win more so they can Qualify. Mexico should be the Second best team, as they were the Champions of the 2019 Gold Cup, were Runners-Up of the 2019-2020 CONCACAF Nations League, and were Runners-Up of the 2021 Gold Cup. However, no matter how dire it may look, Mexico finds a way to keep their World Cup Champions dream alive until the Round of 16 usually.

Panama: Panama picked up two big comeback wins over Honduras and El Salvador, to separate them from the rest of the pack with 14 points, at least 5 points above the rest. Level on points with Mexico suggests that Panama could end up winning this Group, or at the very least, Qualifying directly as the Second or Third best team in the Octagonal. Panama had a disastrous 2018 World Cup, their first World Cup ever, as they had a lot of players missing. Since then, they have gotten to the Gold Cup Quarter-finals in both the 2019 and 2021 editions, and finished Eighth in the CONCACAF Nations League, albeit not as good as it sounds as they finished 1-0-3. However, since then, Panama has been doing great!

Costa Rica: Costa Rica had a bad start to the Octagonal, but now, they look like they believe again and want to push to Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. With 6 matches left, it is doable for Costa Rica to get back into World Cup contention. Costa Rica is very talented. But, they need to keep making up ground, even more so than they are doing now. Costa Rica did not have a great 2018 World Cup, going 0-1-2, in a tough Group, but easier than their 2014 World Cup Group which they won and then Advanced to the Quarter-finals in. Costa Rica has made it to the Quarter-finals, the last two Gold Cups, and finished Fourth in the CONCACAF Nations League.

Jamaica: Jamaica has really good players, but they never seem to find a way to win in World Cup Qualifications anymore. Jamaica just has a knack for not showing up. However, Jamaica has done enough to put them within 7 points of Fourth and Third Place. With 6 matches left, Jamaica does still have good odds to Qualify if they can start getting wins instead of draws. Jamaica has a lot of talent, partly thanks to a lot of English-born Jamaicans playing for them, but the Jamaicans would be quick to note that the English have a Jamaican-born Englishman playing for them, Raheem Sterling. Jamaica got Fourth Place in the 2019 Gold Cup, made it to the Quarter-finals of the 2021 edition, and won their CONCACAF Nations League Group in the Second Level, with a 5-1-0 record, to earn Promotion to the Top Level of the CONCACAF Nations League for the 2022-2023 edition.

El Salvador: El Salvador has had a quiet rise back to the Top of North America, but their recent results has seen a sudden fall, going 1-1-3 in the last 5 World Cup Qualifying matches. El Salvador’s manager, Hugo Pérez, did very well in his early part of his job, getting El Salvador to the 2021 Gold Cup Quarter-finals, after only making it to the 2019 Gold Cup Group Stage. However, El Salvador was already slightly improving as they went 5-0-1 in the CONCACAF Nations League to win their Group at the Second Level, to earn Promotion to the Top Level of the CONCACAF Nations League for the 2022-2023 edition, before Hugo Pérez got to be El Salvador’s manager. Still, Hugo Pérez has made El Salvador competitive with the elite of North America, and of Asia, once again. He has done a great job recruiting many American and other Foreign born Salvadorans to the national team, and is in the midst of rebuilding El Salvador back to a World Cup calibre team. But, even if El Salvador is rebuilding, going 1-3-4 is simply not good enough. If you look at Bolivia’s results in South America, you see that strong home field advantage exits in International play, and El Salvador has that with the Estadio Cuscatlán, but instead of getting wins there, El Salvador is mostly getting draws there. So, El Salvador needs to figure something out, and start playing up to the level they are capable of playing. At this point, a World Cup Qualification does seem unlikely, but El Salvador should continue to push for one, because they could either get Top 3 or Fourth Place, or they could create really good momentum for future good results. Either way, Salvadorans should be happy about the improvements to El Salvador’s team. But, Salvadorans should still demand more.

Honduras: Honduras finished the 2019-2020 CONCACAF Nations League in Third Place, which was an improvement to their CONCACAF play which saw them get knocked out in the 2019 Gold Cup Group Stage. So, their 2021 Gold Cup was expected to be really good, challenging to win it in fact, as Honduras looked like the Second Best team in North America going in. Their first two matches confirmed this, but they suffered some injuries, and lost their third, and then lost in the Quarter-finals. Since then, Honduras has been atrocious and sit in last in this Octagonal Group. Honduras should be playing better. They Qualified for the 2010 and 2014 World Cup, in addition to the 1982 World Cup, and Honduras only missed out on the 2018 World Cup via the Intercontinental Playoff with the Socceroos of Australia. This Honduran side was very good last decade, but so far this decade, outside of the Nations League, it has not been very good for Honduras. Still, teams are losing and drawing enough, that if Honduras wins their next 6 matches, which they are capable of doing, even if not likely, Honduras could find themselves Top 4, and maybe Top 3. But, it most likely is too little too late.

South America (CONMEBOL):

Matches Played; Wins-Draws-Losses; Goal Differential; Goals For-Goals Against; Points

Final Round: The Top Four nations in the Group Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The Fifth Place team advances to the Intercontinental Cup, to to either play the North American Fourth Place, Asian Fifth Place, or Oceanian First Place nation for one of the last two Qualification Spots at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Tiebreakers:

  1. Overall Points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss)
  2. Overall Goal Difference
  3. Overal Goals For
  4. Points in Matches Played between Tied Teams
  5. Goal Difference in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  6. Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  7. Away Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
  8. Fair Play Points (First Yellow Card: -1 Points; Indirect Red Card (Second Yellow Card): -3 Points; Direct Red Card: -4 Points; Yellow Card and Direct Red Card: -5 Points)
  9. Drawing of Lots by the FIFA Organizing Committee
  1. Brazil: 13: 11-2-0; +23; 27-4; 35 (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  2. Argentina: 13: 8-5-0; +14; 20-6; 29 (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup)
  3. Ecuador: 14; 7-2-5; +10; 23-13; 23
  4. Colombia: 14; 3-8-3; -1; 16-17; 17
  5. Peru: 14; 5-2-7; -5; 15-20; 17
  6. Chile: 14; 4-4-6; -1, 15-16; 16
  7. Uruguay: 14; 4-4-6; -7; 14-21; 16
  8. Bolivia: 14; 4-3-7; -8; 20-28; 15
  9. Paraguay: 14; 2-7-5; -9; 9-18; 13
  10. Venezuela: 14; 2-1-11; -16; 9-25; 7

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Ecuador 1 Venezuela 0

Paraguay 0 Chile 1

Brazil 1 Colombia 0

Peru 3 Bolivia 0

Uruguay 0 Argentina 1

Bolivia 3 Uruguay 0

Venezuela 1 Peru 2

Colombia 0 Paraguay 0

Argentina 0 Brazil 0

Chile 0 Ecuador 2

Analysis:

Brazil: Brazil is the best team going in International play right now. 11 wins and 2 Draws, no losses, in South American Qualifiers, winning the Copa America with a 4-2-0 record in Brazil in 2019, and becoming Runners-Up with a 5-1-1 record in the 2021 Copa America. Brazil in the last 4 years has only lost 1 competitive match, and that was to Argentina in the 2021 Copa America Final. Brazil’s 1-0 home win over Colombia Qualified Brazil for the 2022 FIFA World Cup! Brazil are the World Cup Champions Record Holders, having won it 5 times! While France is really deep, Brazil is probably still deeper in the total number of Top Level football players, but Brazil is not as deep in their 23 right now. Still, Brazil is playing much better than France, Belgium, Italy, England, Croatia, the Netherlands, Argentina, Germany, Spain, Uruguay, or anyone else that usually competes for World Cups at a high level.

Argentina: Argentina Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup with their 0-0 home draw against Brazil. Argentina did not have the 2018 World Cup they wanted, finishing in Sixteenth Place after going 1-1-2. But, since then, Argentina finished Third Place at the 2019 Copa America, and became the 2021 Copa America Champions, their first Copa America Championship since 1993. Now, the 2 time World Cup Champions (1978 and 1986) will try to win their first World Cup since 1986, as they have now broken their International Trophy drought, and Argentina will be a favored team to do this. Argentina has cleaned up a lot of weak spots, and have new talent rising through the ranks to complement their aging generation that took them to the 2014 World Cup Final.

Ecuador: Ecuador is the third best team in CONMEBOL right now, which was not expected. Ecuador failed to Qualify for the 2018 World Cup, finished Eleventh Place in the 2019 Copa America, with a 0-1-2 record, and then finished Eighth Place in the 2021 Copa America, with a 0-3-2 record. But, Ecuador is using a good technique, going for wins and not draws. With 7 wins and only 2 draws, Ecuador has been able to maximize on points, while only winning half of their matches. This means, while Ecuador has lost 35.7% of their matches, they sit in Third Place, while teams below them have lost similar percentages of their matches or less. Colombia has lost 21.4% of their matches, Peru and Bolivia have lost 50% of their matches, Paraguay is in Ninth Place and has lost an equal 35.7% of their matches, and Chile and Uruguay who make up the Sixth and Seventh places respectively have only lost 42.9% of their matches. With a win equaling 3 points instead of 2 points, wins are vital in a league format, which is exactly what the South American World Cup Qualification format is! Ecuador may be losing a lot, but unlike the others, Ecuador is winning a lot with a 50% winning percentage, third to Argentina and Brazil. Paraguay, meanwhile, has a 14.3% winning percentage, Colombia only has a 21.4% winning percentage, Chile, Uruguay, and Bolivia have a 28.6% winning percentage, and Peru has a 35.7% winning percentage. Venezuela is doing so bad, that they only have a 14.3% winning percentage, but also a 78.6% losing percentage. So, wins are important, and Ecuador is getting them!

Colombia: Colombia has consistently been battling Uruguay and Chile, since 2014, as the right to call themselves the Third best team in CONMEBOL. Colombia finished Fifth and Ninth at the 2014 and 2018 World Cups respectively, and then has finished Fifth at the 2019 Copa America and Third at the 2021 Copa America. Thus, Colombia has been the Third best South American side at four of the last six tournaments, as Colombia also got Third Place in the 2016 Copa America, and their 2014 World Cup and 2018 World Cup finish was the Third best in South America, and then had two tournaments, 2015 Copa America and 2019 Copa America where they finished outside the top 3. Colombia right now is playing very well, losing to barely any teams, but their struggle to win matches have put them Fourth, in an all out battle with five other teams below them who sit within 2 points, except one, Paraguay, who sits 4 points back. Colombia’s lack of wins may comeback to hurt them if they cannot finish Top 5, or maybe even Top 4 depending on who Colombia would play in the Intercontinental Playoffs.

Peru: Peru Qualified for their first World Cup since 1982 in 2018, and finished in Twentieth Place in Russia with a 1-0-2 record. It was a difficult Group which featured France, Denmark, and Australia. Peru has since made it to the 2019 Copa America Final and the 2021 Copa America Semi-final. Peru’s Second Place 2019 finish and Fourth Place 2021 finish has cemented the idea that Peru’s 2018 World Cup run was no flute…I mean fluke…and that Peru is here to stay. Even more losses than wins, Peru is proving very formidable as like Ecuador, Peru is focusing on getting wins and not on getting draws. However, it must be stated that this mindset may not always be the best for 3 match Group Stages and knockout rounds, as Peru experienced in the 2018 World Cup.

Chile: Chile won the 2015 and 2016 Copa Americas, finished Second at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, and were a Top 5 team for most of the 2015-2018 cycle for 2018 World Cup Qualifying, but did not Qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup! This was a shocking blow to the Chileans, after having made it to the Round of 16 in the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. Chile’s Fourth Place finish in the 2019 Copa America suggested that Chile still had firepower to stay a Top 10 team, but their Seventh Place finish at the 2021 Copa America, and their continued decline in rankings and play made many Chileans depressed, yearning to have their 2018 World Cup Qualification chances back. Now, Chile sit only 1 point off from either automatic Qualification, or Advancing to the Intercontinental Playoff. Chile has not been super impressive, but has weathered the storm so far, by staying within 3 points of World Cup Qualification. Chile needs to push for more wins in order to do this.

Uruguay: Uruguay also needs to push for more wins. Uruguay is generally regarded to have the Third best 23 man roster from South America. But, right now, they are in Seventh Place, however, only 1 Point back from Fourth and Fifth Place, and tied on points with their Sixth Place partners, Chile. Uruguay is a 4 time World Champion according to FIFA, 2 time World Cup Champion, and is either considered the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, or Seventh best national team of all-time. It depends if you count those other 2 World Championships they won which FIFA recognizes and so does Uruguay, and where you rank Uruguay in relation to Argentina and France. But, you would not know that looking at Uruguay’s October and November World Cup Qualifying windows where they went 0-1-4 in 5 matches! In Uruguay’s defense, they played home to Colombia and Argentina once, and away to Brazil, Argentina, and Bolivia once in that span. Those are all very difficult matches in South America. Bolivia away is almost impossible to win, but it should not be so impossible to get at least a draw. But, Bolivia is looking very good this year for them, and really anyone outside of South America and Europe, because South America is usually much harder than any other continent besides Europe. Europe and South America trade the First place spot a lot for who is the best continent. Uruguay’s next 4 matches are crucial, away to Paraguay, home to Venezuela, home to Peru, and away to Chile. These should be much easier than their last 5, but they will still be difficult. Uruguay is coming off of a Fifth Place, 4-0-1 2018 FIFA World Cup, a Sixth Place, 2-2-0 2019 Copa America, and a Fifth Place, 2-2-1 2021 Copa America.

Bolivia: Bolivia has been the worst team in South America for a lot of the 2010s and after, finishing 9th in 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifications for South America, finished 12th out of 12 teams in the 2019 Copa America, and finishing 10th out of 10 teams in the 2021 Copa America. However, one thing has been consistent, it is really difficult to play away against Bolivia. Bolivia has been improving steadily this past year, and even their 2021 Copa America does not do them justice, as they actually played well at times, and were unlucky not to get at least 1 point, if not 1 win. Bolivia in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifications has impressed so far getting away draws in Paraguay and Chile, and winning all home matches so far, except for a 1-1 home draw against Colombia and a 1-2 home loss against Argentina. Bolivia has a favorable schedule to end the Qualifiers with an away match against Venezuela, a home match against Chile, an away match against Colombia, and a home match against Brazil. Bolivia will be expected to go either 2-0-2 or 2-1-1 in these matches. The home match against Brazil they will most likely be favored to lose, but possibly draw depending on their form. Still, finishing out 3-0-1 is a likely result, and better yet, 3-1-0 or 4-0-0 is not impossible, considering that they did well against Colombia the last time they played them, albeit at home. Bolivia is trying to make their Fourth World Cup, and first since the 1994 World Cup.

Paraguay: Paraguay has a talented team, in fact, they finished Eighth at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, so this level of talent is nothing new for them. And, in 2011, they were Runners-Up in the Copa America. However, Paraguay has since fell victim to playing bad, failing to Qualify for the 2014 and 2018 World Cups, finishing 12th in the 2016 Copa America, 8th in the 2019 Copa America, and 6th in the 2021 Copa America. Their last elite result was finishing 4th in the 2015 Copa America. Yet, their improvement in the 2021 Copa America suggested a more competitive and a better Paraguay. So far, that has not come in the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers, and the reason for that is draws! Maybe Colombia, Italy, Ukraine, and Paraguay are all related, but if they could all find a way to go for more wins, they would be in such better positions. Paraguay actually has tied for the Fourth best losing percentage so far at the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers for South America, and should be Top 5 with that statistic. But, they are tied for last in winning percentage so far, with Venezuela. So, their draws may be keeping them in front of Venezuela, but their lack of wins are keeping them behind everyone else in South America. If Paraguay wants to Qualify for the World Cup, which they can do, only 4 points behind Fourth and Fifth Place, then they need to start winning. Paraguay probably needs to go at least 3-0-1 in their last 4 matches to avoid Elimination and get either the Fifth or Fourth spot.

Venezuela: Venezuela is back to being the worst team in CONMEBOL, and who knows, maybe CONCACAF South American members, Suriname, Guyana, and French Guiana would all beat Venezuela right now too, making Venezuela truly the worst team on the Geographical South American Continent. I guess there is still Panama (Transcontinental country), but they surely would beat Venezuela right now too. But, Venezuela does not have to be this bad. Venezuela finished Seventh at the 2019 Copa America, and Ninth at the 2021 Copa America. However, Venezuela finished 10th last World Cup Qualification in South America too. From 2002-2014, it seemed Venezuela had turned a corner, but this traditional basketball and baseball nation has once again seemed to have thrown away the football cleats. Venezuela historically is the worst team in CONMEBOL, as they are the only nation in CONMEBOL to have never Qualified for a World Cup or win the Copa America, but in the present-day, it seemed Venezuela was challenging for both of these goals. Venezuela can and should be better, and Venezuelans should demand this from their national team.

Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup:

  • Brazil
  • Argentina

Oceania (OFC):

No qualifications yet.

Published by CK 22

I like history, politics, foreign diplomacy, sports, and more. Basically, the most popular things, plus also geography.

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