2022 World Cup Qualifiers March Window Update:

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 play the 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 (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup): 14; 8-4-2; 23-7; +16; 28
  2. Mexico (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup): 14; 8-4-2; 17-8; +9; 28
  3. USA (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup): 14; 7-4-3; 21-10; +11; 25
  4. Costa Rica (Advanced to the Intercontinental Playoff): 14; 7-4-3; 13-8; +5; 25
  5. Panama (Eliminated): 14; 6-3-5; 17-19; -2; 21
  6. Jamaica (Eliminated): 14; 2-5-7; 12-22; -10; 11
  7. El Salvador (Eliminated): 14; 2-4-8; 8-18; -10; 10
  8. Honduras (Eliminated): 14; 0-4-10; 7-26; -19; 4

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Jamaica 1 El Salvador 1

Panama 1 Honduras 1

Mexico 0 USA 0

Costa Rica 1 Canada 0

Canada 4 Jamaica 0

El Salvador 1 Costa Rica 2

USA 5 Panama 1

Honduras 0 Mexico 1

Panama 1 Canada 0

Jamaica 2 Honduras 1

Mexico 2 El Salvador 0

Costa Rica 2 USA 0

Analysis:

Canada: Canada is doing better and better and their 4-0 win over Jamaica at home led to Canada Qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Canada has only been to the World Cup once before, in 1986, where the Canadians finished 0-0-3 scoring 0 goals and giving up 5 goals. The Canadian National Soccer Team is now moving higher up in the rankings and with their star roster featuring the likes of Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David, and Cyle Larin, they will be difficult for any team at the World Cup in Qatar. However, it must be remembered that while Canada topped the Octagonal, the World Cup is all about Qualifying, while the Gold Cup and Nations League is about winning, which the Canadians have yet to do this past 4 year cycle. Canada finished 6th and 4th in the 2019 and 2021 Gold Cups respectively. Canada finished 5th in the 2019-2020 CONCACAF Nations League. Canada is ready to advance out of the Group Stage in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but will most likely be in Pot 4 and will have a difficult Group. With Alphonso Davies healthy, and even without him, Canada should be able to compete with anyone. Canada did not lose until this past Qualifying Window when Canada lost twice, but both away, and Canada still got the win over Jamaica at home to secure its place in Qatar. Canada will have now Qualified for 2 straight World Cups too, as they are a co-Host for the 2026 World Cup with the USA and Mexico.

USA: The USA Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup after this past Window, going 1-1-1, drawing Mexico away 0-0, defeating Panama 4-0 at home, and losing 0-2 away against Costa Rica. The USA will be disappointed to have not done better in the Qualifiers. The USA also suffered from losing to Costa Rica on the last night of Qualifiers, but given the context of how the USA played Costa Rica this last night, it was not as big of a deal. The USA needs to look past Head to Head results and to the important matter at hand which is the 2022 World Cup. USA is the President of CONCACAF having finished Runners-up in the 2019 Gold Cup, and having won the 2019-2020 CONCACAF Nations League and the 2021 Gold Cup! The USA is a legit Top 10 side, and has the depth to bring many different players and do well at the World Cup. The USA used almost three different rosters across the 2019-2020 CONCACAF Nations League and the 2021 Gold Cup. The USA will most likely be a two seed in the FIFA World Cup, and will be expected to Advance out of the Group Stage. The USA has the potential to beat most teams in the World Cup, and has the young talent to play energized and out play other nations in Qatar. The USA will look to develop more with some tough friendlies to prepare for the 2022 World Cup. The USA National Soccer Team will have now Qualified for 2 straight World Cups, as they are the main host as co-Hosts in the 2026 World Cup with Canada and Mexico.

Mexico: Mexico continues their run of making 8 straight World Cups, and will have Qualified for 9 straight World Cups as a co-Host of the 2026 World Cup with the USA and Mexico. Mexico has been struggling with their identity as North American juggernauts, but Mexico still has dominated winning the 2019 Gold Cup, and finishing Runners-Up at the 2019-2020 CONCACAF Nations League and the 2021 Gold Cup. Mexico also finished 2nd in the Octagonal, tied on points for 1st Place. Mexico, however, was technically the third nation to Qualify from North America for the World Cup in Qatar. Mexico did well this last window, drawing the USA at home 0-0, winning 1-0 away against Honduras, and defeating El Salvador 2-0 at home to Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Mexico will be expected to advance out of the Group Stage as a two seed most likely in their Group. Mexico has made it to 7 straight Round of 16s, but has failed to win in this Round in their last 7 tries. Mexico, like the USA, must look past Head to Head bragging rights and focus on the World Cup. Mexico and the USA are used to beating Canada, but this time around, in the Qualifiers, Canada owned the series with both, 1-1-0, yet all Qualified for Qatar 2022, the ultimate goal of the Qualifiers.

Costa Rica: Costa Rica was nowhere near where they needed to be to Qualify for the World Cup having just 9 points at the end of the November 2021 Qualifying Window. But, since then, the Costa Ricans have been on fire. In the January-February Window, Costa Rica went 2-1-0 winning 1-0 at home against Panama, drawing 0-0 away against Mexico, and winning 1-0 away against Jamaica. Costa Rica went from being the national team people thought was getting too old and bad, to becoming the former mainstay of North America. After all, their last 4 years had not been stellar up to that point finishing 5th Place at both the 2019 and 2021 Gold Cups, and finishing 4th at the 2019-2020 CONCACAF Nations League. Costa Rica was not playing up to par. But the 1990 13th Place and 2014 8th Place got back to work to Qualify for 3 straight World Cups. Costa Rica went into the last Qualifying Window for North America behind by 1 point from 4th Place. Costa Rica would defeat Canada at home 1-0, then defeat El Salvador away 2-1, and then defeat the USA at home 2-0. Keylor Navas has kept the Costa Ricans alive and well for the World Cup, and now Costa Rica has advanced to the Intercontinental Playoff to play New Zealand, in a one-off match in Qatar. Costa Rica will be the favorites having gone 6-1-0 in the last 7 matches of Qualifiers. Costa Rica is starting to look like their 2014 World Cup team, and if they can continue to improve against good opposition, Costa Rica might replicate that performance or go further. Costa Rica has lots of youth talent overlooked as the Costa Rican league is not heavily as scouted, but is a good league. Costa Rica will bring depth to their match against New Zealand and should win, but the Costa Ricans must stay focused!

Panama: Panama was the #4 team almost the whole Octagonal Round, except after the last Window. In this last Qualifying Window, Panama tied Honduras at home, 1-1, lost to the USA 1-5 away, and defeated Canada 1-0 at home. The draw against Honduras put Costa Rica ahead on points, and the loss to the USA eliminated Panama from the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Panama has not done spectacular in their last 4 years finishing 7th at the 2019 Gold Cup and 9th at the 2021 Gold Cup. Panama also finished 8th at the 2019-2020 CONCACAF Nations League. But, Panama’s experience and expertise to play above their level in World Cup Qualifications must be accounted for why Panama did so well in the Qualifiers until the last Qualifying Window. Panama will be desperate to Qualify for 2026 , but for now, Panama will be happy their nation continued to preform at a high level. And that 1-0 win over Canada proved the Panamanians have the firepower to compete at the World Cup, they just did not Qualify.

Jamaica: Jamaica is the country everyone expects to be good, because much like many African nations, Jamaica has some elite individuals, many of whom are foreign-born. Jamaica finished 4th Place and 7th Place at the 2019 and 2021 Gold Cups respectively, while Jamaica won their Division B Group in the 2019-2020 CONCACAF Nations League to earn promotion to the 2022-2023 Division A. Jamaica was eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup before El Salvador, but finished higher in the end with their 2-1 win over Honduras at home. Jamaica had another poor showing in Qualifiers and will need to revamp their program for the future in order to Qualify for the 2026 World Cup.

El Salvador: El Salvador was hypothetically still able to Qualify until this past window when they tied 1-1 away to Jamaica, and then Costa Rica beat Canada 1-0. El Salvador then lost to Costa Rica at home 1-2, and then lost to lost to Mexico 0-2 away. El Salvador has been improving as a football program, but needs more improvement for now. El Salvador will be a favorite to Qualify for the 2026 World Cup, along with Costa Rica, Panama, Jamaica, and Honduras. El Salvador did well over these past 2 years, after having finished 9th in the 2019 Gold Cup, El Salvador then won their Division B Group to earn promotion to CONCACAF Nations League Division A in the 2022-2023 season, and finished 6th at the 2021 Gold Cup. El Salvador needs to go for more wins at home in the future, but now have been eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Honduras: Honduras came off of a 2019-2020 CONCACAF Nations League 3rd Place finish feeling good, and started off 2-0-0 in the 2021 Gold Cup, only to lose their next two matches and be eliminated from the 2021 Gold Cup at 8th Place overall. Still, this was an improvement for Honduras from their 10th Place finish at the 2019 Gold Cup. Honduras has not won a match since their win over Panama in the Gold Cup Group Stage, going 0-4-13 since, and finishing 0-4-10 in World Cup Qualifying. Honduras has been eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup with one of the worst performances for a side at this stage in North American Qualifiers ever. Going winless is inexcusable for a side who Qualified for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.

Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup:

  • Canada
  • USA
  • Mexico

Advanced to the Intercontinental Playoff:

  • Costa Rica

South America (COMNEBOL):

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 play the Asian Fifth Place for one of the last two Qualification Spots at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Tiebreakers:

Overall Points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss)
Overall Goal Difference
Overal Goals For
Points in Matches Played between Tied Teams
Goal Difference in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
Away Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
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)
Drawing of Lots by the FIFA Organizing Committee

  1. Brazil (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup): 17; 14-3-0: 40-5; +35; 45
  2. Argentina (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup): 17; 11-6-0; 27-8; +19; 39
  3. Uruguay (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup): 18; 8-4-6; 22-22; 0; 28
  4. Ecuador (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup): 18; 7-5-6; 27-19; +8; 26
  5. Peru (Advanced to the Intercontinental Playoff): 18; 7-3-8; 19-22; -3; 24
  6. Colombia (Eliminated): 18; 5-8-5; 20-19; +1; 23
  7. Chile (Eliminated): 18; 5-4-9; 19-26; -7; 19
  8. Paraguay (Eliminated): 18; 3-7-8; 12-26; -14; 16
  9. Bolivia (Eliminated): 18; 4-3-11; 23-42; -19; 15
  10. Venezuela (Eliminated): 18; 3-1-14; 14-34; -20; 10

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Uruguay 1 Peru 0

Colombia 3 Bolivia 0

Brazil 4 Chile 0

Paraguay 3 Ecuador 1

Argentina 3 Venezuela 0

Peru 2 Paraguay 0

Venezuela 0 Colombia 1

Bolivia 0 Brazil 4

Chile 0 Uruguay 2

Ecuador 1 Argentina 1

Analysis:

Brazil: Brazil closed out their 2022 World Cup Qualifiers in amazing fashion winning 8-0 on aggregate! Brazil’s 4-0 home win over Chile was impressive as Chile is really good, but Brazil’s away win over Bolivia was a great historic achievement because most nations struggle in Bolivia and yet Brazil handled the elements so well. Brazil has proven throughout these Qualifiers that they are a favorite to win in Qatar 2022, no matter where they have played! Brazil’s 2021 Copa America Runners-Up finish displayed really good football, and their 2019 Copa America Champions displayed a Champion mentality. Finishing first in Qualifiers is the benchmark Brazil has set, and Brazil should take this mindset to the 2022 World Cup as favorites in their own mind, but not complacently

Argentina: Argentina won the 2021 Copa America and finished in 3rd Place in the 2019 edition. Argentina did not start off spectacularly in their last 4 years, but have improved to become a World Cup favorite. Their attacking prowess is unmatched right now, and their midfield, defense, and goalkeeping is getting better. Their win over Venezuela was impressive, and their draw away to Ecuador was just unlucky, as it was a late goal against them away in a country full of excitement for having Qualified the match before. Argentina needs more goalscoring consistency for the World Cup and will look to their Italian test this summer to be a good marker for where they are truly at for Qatar 2022.

Ecuador: Ecuador did an amazing job to Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup by displaying competitive excellence in one of the world’s toughest continents, Ecuador should expect to be competitive at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. However, we must address that Ecuador is currently a very weak team being very lowly ranked, having gone 0-4-1 in their last 5 matches, and are coming off an 11th Place and 8th Place finish at the 2019 and 2021 Copa Americas respectively. Ecuador will most likely be one of the bottom seeds and thus will have to be in a tough group. Nonetheless, their South American experience should make them a team many pick to get out of the Group Stage. Ecuador missed the 2018 World Cup, and in 2014, Ecuador was one of two American teams not to get out of the Group Stage, and the only South American team not to. The other team was Honduras, who was in Ecuador’s Group.

Uruguay: Uruguay is supposed the be the #3 team in South America, or higher if you count their FIFA-designated 4 World Championships, second to Brazil, tied with Germany and Italy. But, their lack of good play in the last 4 years makes where “they are supposed to be” devoid from reality. Uruguay was toward the bottom of the Qualifiers until their last 4 matches where Uruguay won all of these, and they finished in the Quarter-finals in both the 2019 and 2021 Copa Americas. However, Uruguay did end up finishing 3rd Place in the Qualifying Standings to Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and should be expecting to carry this win streak into Qatar. With their team and their history, Uruguay should expect a World Cup in 2022, but they will not be a favorite, at least not in the Top 5 of favorites.

Peru: Peru is not supposed to be a Top 5 team in South America. In fact, that is supposed to be Colombia, Chile, even Paraguay and Ecuador, in addition to the juggernauts of Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. But, Peru punches above their weight and have put themselves into the Intercontinental Playoff, either playing Australia or the UAE, in June in Qatar. Peru is coming off of a 2019 Copa America Runners-Up finish and a 2021 Copa America 4th Place finish. Peru Qualified for their first World Cup since 1982 in 2018, via the Intercontinental Playoff against New Zealand. Peru may have only gone 1-0-2 and not advance to the knockout rounds, but their only win came in a 2-0 win against Australia, so Peru should feel confident that they can defeat the Socceroos or the Emiratis when they play either team. However, if it is the Emiratis, Peru will have to battle an expected home crowd for the UAE, unless many Qataris buy tickets and then Peru might be the effective home team. Peru is 3-2-1 in their last 6 matches and they have friendlies in May coming up against Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The good news for Peru is that because most of their lineup plays in the Americas for professional football, they will most likely be able to have their players at these friendlies which will buildup their chemistry and give the claimed successors to the former Inca Empire a much higher chance to defeat Australia or the UAE to Qualify. Their 2-0 win over Paraguay might have got Peru to this 5th Place spot, but it was Peru’s 1-0 away win over Colombia last Qualifying Window that will surely be looked to as the defining moment in Peru’s South American leg of the Qualifiers.

Colombia: Colombia is much more feared and respected than any team in South America besides the Big 3! But, Colombia have been eliminated on the last day! Colombia did well this Qualifying Window going 2-0-0, but their record before this was 3-8-5. Colombia has the talent to be at the World Cup, but Colombia tied too much. Colombia needed to win more, and in a league set-up like South American World Cup Qualifiers are, one win is as good as three ties, and thus Colombia should have gone for more wins. Colombia finished 5th and 3rd at the 2019 and 2021 Copa Americas respectively, and Colombia was coming off of a 5th Place and 9th Place finish at the 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cups respectively. Colombia will be upset knowing their last World Cup game was a penalty shootout loss to England in the Round of 16. Colombia will have to live with this another 4 years!

Chile: Chile was the #3 team in the world, the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup Runners-Up, a favorite to win the 2018 FIFA World Cup, coming off of a 10th Place and 9th Place finish at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups respectively, only for Chile to not Qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Chile lost their last two matches this past Qualifying Window and look to be a nation out of wack. Chile looked like their World Cup Qualifying failure was only temporary after finishing 4th Place at the 2019 Copa America, but their 7th Place finish in the 2021 edition rekindled the idea that Chile really was not very good. Sadly for Chileans, Chile continues to display a lack of good play. Chile will be upset to have been eliminated, but they never really deserved to finish Top 5 in South America.

Paraguay: Paraguay has been on the Chilean downward trend since the end of 2015 where they finished 4th Place at that Copa America. While Paraguay did do well in 2018 World Cup Qualifiers, but did not Qualify, their 2014 and now 2022 Qualifiers were quite atrocious. Paraguay struggled from tying too much and losing too much. These draws kept Paraguay within contention for Qualifications, but overall, their lack of wins proved too much. Paraguay is coming off of an 8th Place and 6th Place finish at the 2019 and 2021 Copa Americas respectively. Paraguay has been very average lately. And this is sad for a nation who finished 8th Place at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Bolivia: Bolivia has been having exciting matches a lot in the Qualifiers. 23 Goals For makes Bolivia the 4th highest scoring team in 2022 World Cup Qualifiers for South America, but they are also the nation with the most goals against at 42. Bolivia had a very good chance to Qualify sitting at 15 points two Qualifying Windows ago, with an away match against Venezuela and and a home match against Chile, followed by an away match against Colombia and a home match against Brazil. It was highly likely Bolivia could get 3 wins from those 4 matches, but instead, Bolivia lost all 4 matches! This means that Bolivia’s improvements seem trivial because now, Bolivia finishes in 9th Place in the Qualifiers for South America, a familiar position for the juggernaut at home, but much easier team to beat away. Bolivia did not take advantage of their Home Field Advantage these past two windows. Bolivia finished last place in the 2019 (12th Place) and 2021 (10th Place) Copa Americas.

Venezuela: Venezuela continues to be a Baseball first nation, at least that is the excuse the Venezuelans will use for not having Qualified and finishing in last place in South American Qualifiers! Venezuela may have good baseball and good basketball, but their football was improving too. Even as late as November 2019, Venezuela was #25 in FIFA World Rankings, coming off of a 7th Place Copa America finish. But, in 2021, Venezuela would finish 9th in Copa America, and now have finished 10th in Qualifiers. Venezuela should not be this bad. While a 9th Place finish is on par for their talent level, it is the lack of competitiveness that is most concerning. Only 10 Points from 18 matches, that is where many people are upset. Venezuela continues to be the only South American nation to have not won a Copa America or Qualify for a World Cup.

Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup:

  • Brazil
  • Argentina
  • Ecuador
  • Uruguay

Advances to the Intercontinental Playoff:

  • Peru

Europe (UEFA):

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

Second Round: The Group Runners-Ups from the First Round advanced 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, advanced to the Second Round of Qualifiers, which is comprised of three four team playoff single-elimination semi-finals, with randomized chosen hosts for the semi-final and final. The three final winners of these four playoff semi-finals Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Path A:

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Semi-finals:

Scotland verse Ukraine (Delayed; Moved to June 2022)

Wales 2 Austria 1

Final:

Wales verse Scotland/Ukraine in June 2022

Analysis:

Wales: Wales has a super star, Gareth Bale. Without Bale, Wales is a good team still. But, with Bale, Wales turns into a nation that can beat anyone! Wales is coming off of a 16th Place finish at the 2020 European Championships, which is not great, but it was only in 2016 that Wales finished 3rd. Wales successfully defeated a good Austrian side 2-1 at home, and then tied Czech Republic at home 1-1, with Bale being used a late substitute. Wales is coming off of a 2018-2019 UEFA Nations League where they stayed in League B, and a 2020-2021 edition where they were promoted to League A.

Scotland: Scotland Qualified for their first European Championships in 2020 since 1996, and will now look to Qualify for their first World Cup in 2022 since 1998. But, Scotland has to wait a little. Their match against Ukraine has been delayed. Scotland finished 22nd Place at the 2020 European Championship, but are playing much better than that. They had a tough Group featuring Croatia, England, and the Czech Republic. Scotland had two friendlies this past Qualifying Window. They played Poland at home, and should have won, but tied 1-1 with a 90th +4 Minute stoppage time goal by Poland, and then the Scottish travelled away to Austria where they should have won again, going up 2-0, before Austria scored in the 75th and 82nd Minutes and Scotland tied 2-2. Scotland will hope that their recent habit of giving up leads will be corrected for their match at home to Ukraine, and hopefully, an away match against Wales, both this June. Scotland is also coming off of a promotion to League B after the 2018-2019 UEFA Nations League season, and a 2020-2021 edition that saw them stay in League B.

Ukraine: Ukraine is an elite team that rarely Qualifies for the World Cup. In Europe, you have Germany, Italy, France, England, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal, Croatia, and a few more with high levels of achievement whom every one respects. But, then, you also have Denmark, Sweden, Serbia, Turkey, Russia, Poland, and Ukraine plus others on various years that always seem to be good. If they did not Qualify for the World Cup, it was not because of a lack of talent. Ukraine is coming off of an 8th Place finish at the 2020 European Championships, and a mix bag in the UEFA Nations League having been promoted after the 2018-2019 edition to League A, but relegated after the 2020-2021 edition back to League B. Ukraine has not lost in the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers yet, but find themselves in the playoff rounds because they cannot seem to win that often, with a 2-6-0 record. With the War in Ukraine happening, Ukraine will be unlikely to some extent to be competitive this June, but also will be playing harder most likely for their nation. It is tough to tell which Ukraine will show up. Had Ukraine won the matches they should have, it would be France in the playoffs and Ukraine already Qualified.

Austria: Austria has been on the rise for awhile, but still has no World Cup Qualification since 1998 to show for it. Austria has a lot of talent, and got 12th in the 2020 European Championship, stayed in League B after the 2018-2019 UEFA Nations League, and was promoted to League A after the 2020-2021 UEFA Nations League. So, Austria is one of the Top 16 nations by some metrics in European football, but their World Cup Qualifying suggested otherwise, finishing 5-1-5 in all matches. Austria lost to Wales away 1-2 and tied Scotland at home, 2-2, this past window. Austria has been eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Path B:

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Semi-finals:

Russia verse Poland (Poland advances as Russia was suspended due to their government’s invasion of Ukraine)

Sweden 0 (1-0 after Extra Time) Czech Republic 0

Final:

Poland 2 Sweden 0; Poland Qualifies for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Analysis:

Poland: Poland had a brilliant run to get into these playoffs from September until their second to last World Cup Qualifying Group Stage match, going 5-1-0. Poland lost their last Group Stage match, but advanced to the Second Round. The Polish were supposed to play Russia in Russia in the Path B Semi-finals, but Russia were suspended from FIFA due to their Government invading Ukraine. Poland thus secured an automatic birth into the Path B Final. Poland defeated Sweden in Poland, 2-0, to Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup! Poland was a small-favorite to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup and were expected to be very good in Russia, but they suffered losing to Senegal due to lots of bad officiating, and never recovering fully finishing 25th overall. Poland followed that up by what was then, relegation from the 2018-2019 UEFA Nations League League A, and a 21st Place finish at the 2020 European Championships. But, the Polish luck changed as they expanded League A of the Nations League, and Poland got to stay at the highest level and did well enough to stay in League A following the 2020-2021 edition. Poland followed that up with a brilliant run of form in the World Cup Qualifiers. Poland tied Scotland 1-1 in Scotland in a friendly, on a lucky stoppage time goal, but followed that up with a convincing 2-0 home win over Sweden to Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Poland may not be a favorite this time around, but they have the talent to do well in Qatar.

Sweden: Sweden finished 7th Place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and then they were promoted to League A after the 2018-2019 UEFA Nations League. Sweden looked to be improving their usual selves which was a major competitor for World Cup glory. It was only back in 1994 that Sweden was #2 in the World, and the Swedes have finished World Cup Runners-Up in 1958, 3rd Place in 1938 and 1994, and 4th Place in 1934. And, in 2002 and 2006, the Swedish made it to the Round of 16. But, the Swedish nostalgia for being consistently toward the top ended after being relegated to League B after the UEFA Nations League 2020-2021 season. Sweden, however, would finish 10th in the 2020 European Championship, giving Swedish hope they would Qualify for the World Cup, and the Swedish hopes were mostly proved true as the Swedes were leading their Qualifying Group for most of the World Cup Qualifiers until the last Window of the First Round! Sweden though, rebounded and got the Extra Time win over the Czech Republic, in Sweden 1-0. Their lost to Poland though is devastating and now Sweden will sit out with some other great nations as they ponder what they could have accomplished in Qatar. Sweden has been eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Czech Republic: Czech Republic will be sad to have not made the World Cup, but the Czechs are still on the rise heading in the right direction. The Czech Republic finished the 2018-2019 UEFA Nations League in League B, but in the 2020-2021 edition, earned promotion and will be playing in the 2021-2022 UEFA Nations League League A! The Czechs also finished 6th Place at the 2020 European Championship! And, the Czechs made it all the way to the European Second Round of World Cup Qualifying. The Czechs have been eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but they have continued to impress, taking Sweden to extra time, away, and drawing Wales 1-1 away! The Czechs will be a favorite to Qualify for the World Cup in 2026.

Russia: Russia was suspended by FIFA and thus eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup. It is a sad end to a national team that performed well enough to get to the European Second Round of World Cup Qualifying. It is quite strange to see a political decisions by UEFA and FIFA made, and I personally would advise against it. But, given the Invasion, both felt the need to suspend Russia. Russia was so close to Qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in the First Round, losing in Croatia with an 81st Minute own goal, that put Russia 1 Point behind Croatia following this last match of Qualifiers. Russia finished 8th at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but has since mostly been adequate. In the European Championship, Russia finished 19th. And, in the 2018-2019 and 2020-2021 UEFA Nation Leagues, Russia stayed in League B. Russia is suspended for the 2021-2022 edition, at least for now, and the future of Russian football is uncertain. Maybe they will play in the next CONIFA World Cup, the World Cup for non-FIFA nations.

Path C:

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Italy 0 North Macedonia 1

Portugal 3 Turkey 1

Final:

Portugal 2 North Macedonia 0; Portugal Qualifies for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Analysis:

Portugal: Portugal is a top team in the world and has been for quite some time. Portugal did very good to win at home, 3-1, over Turkey in the Semi-finals and then won 2-0 in the Path C Playoff Final at home against North Macedonia. The real test for Portugal was supposed to be Italy, but a win against the nations Portugal played against in the importance of those matches means that Portugal still impressed. Plus, Turkey is a very good team. They would dominate most continents, but are in Europe so they do not usually Qualify for the World Cup. Portugal won the 2016 European Championship, finished 13th at the 2018 World Cup, won the 2018-2019 UEFA Nations League, finished 13th at the 2020 European Championship, and then finished 5th at the 2020-2021 UEFA Nations League. Portugal is a favorite for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and will be happy to have Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

North Macedonia: North Macedonia is improving and is tapping into their former Yugoslav powers to create wonders across the footballing world. North Macedonia’s win over Italy was spectacular and left the Italians and Greeks speechless. The Greeks would have been really upset if North Macedonia had Qualified for the World Cup and not them. North Macedonia Qualified for the 2020 European Championship and finished 23rd, and then, North Macedonia were promoted to League C after the 2018-2019 UEFA Nations League, and then stayed in League C after the 2020-2021 UEFA Nations League. North Macedonia have been eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but they did it going to the last match of Qualifiers!

Turkey: Turkey has been eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but their goalscoring was good from their two matches this past window considering they were without their star striker, Cenk Tosun. Turkey is a top national team, but by playing in Europe instead of Asia, Turkey makes it extremely hard for them to Qualify for the World Cup. The last time Turkey Qualified for a World Cup was in 2002 where the Turkish finished 3rd Place! They have only ever Qualified for one other World Cup, in 1954, where the Turks finished 1-0-2 in the Group Stage. The Turkish have been mostly bad, though, the past 4 years, finishing last place (24th) at the 2020 European Championship, and playing in League B in the UEFA Nations League for 2018-2019 and 2020-2021, only to have been relegated to League C following the 2020-2021 edition. While the Turkish are highly respected by everyone, make no doubt, this national team needs some changes. Turkey followed up their 1-3 loss away to Portugal with a 2-3 loss away to Italy. An interesting not about Turkey is that they have only lost to World Cup Champions at the World Cup, having lost to West Germany twice in 1954 and Brazil twice in 2002. Turkey’s only other non-win in the World Cup was a 1-1 draw with Costa Rica. Turkey has achieved 3rd Place in the European Championship (2008), FIFA Confederations Cup (2003), and FIFA World Cup (2002).

Italy: Italy has been eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup! This is Italy’s second World Cup finals in a row they failed to qualify for. Italy lost only once in the Qualifiers, against North Macedonia at home, but it is their lack of winning which did this. The Italians should have Qualified for the World Cup already, but they suffered against the Swiss and Northern Irish and failed to get a win. In fact, the Italians finished their last 6 World Cup Qualifying matches with a 1-4-1 record. The 4x World Champions started off their last 4 years with an 8th Place finish at the 2018-2019 UEFA Nations League, which was not great, but was not bad either. They then won the 2020 European Championship and finished 3rd Place at the 2020-2021 UEFA Nations League. Italy has greatly improved, but their upset loss to North Macedonia will be on the Italian minds for a while. Luckily for Italy, the 2021-2022 UEFA Nations League starts right away, before the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and by the time Qatar 2022 roles around, Italy may be getting ready to go to another UEFA Nations League Semi-finals and will be focused on winning that, instead of on missing out on the World Cup. With 4 World Cups, Italy would much rather win the European Championship, than Qualify for the World Cup and win neither. But, they have a good enough team to expect to Qualify for and Win both!

National Team Updates for the national teams who already Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in the previous Round of Qualifications:

Germany: Germany won at home 2-0 against Israel and tied 1-1 away against the Netherlands, both in friendlies. Germany was the better team against the Dutch and are heading into the World Cup as favorites. For more information about Germany’s Qualification process and recent results, check: “FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers after November 2021 Window”.

Denmark: Denmark lost to the Netherlands away 2-4, but won at home against Serbia, 3-0. Denmark was outplayed by the Netherlands, but kept the score within a 1 goal difference until the 71st Minute. However, Denmark outplayed Serbia. The Danish should be happy they are scoring well, but upset they gave up 4 goals to the Netherlands. Plus, Denmark wants to get a top seed at the World Cup, but probably will not now due to their loss away to the Netherlands. For more information about Denmark’s Qualification process and recent results, check: “FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers after November 2021 Window”.

France: France was not very convincing to defeat the Ivory Coast at home in a friendly, 2-1, going down and then coming back, and scoring the match winner in the 90th +3rd Minute! However, France came back with a thumping 5-0 home win over South Africa! France thoroughly outplayed South Africa. France are the World Cup Favorite and the defending World Cup Champions, as well as the defending UEFA Nations League Champions! But still, the French-Ivorian match suggests that the French may struggle in the Group Stage. Yet, their last second win in stoppage time displays the lethal ability of the French to win in the dying moments of matches, which is something the French will be able to use in the Group Stage if the French do struggle. For more information about France’s Qualification process and recent results, check: “FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers after November 2021 Window”.

Belgium: Belgium was outshot by the Republic of Ireland in a 2-2 away draw in Dublin. The Belgians were then supposed to host Slovenia, but instead, played home to Burkina Faso whom they beat 3-0. But, they still did not have more shots or more shots on target. Overall, Belgium did not look good. While Belgium remains a favorite due to their FIFA Ranking and consistency, the defending World Cup 3rd Place team just does not look good enough right now to compete for that coveted title. The 1x World Champions will hope their team can respond in the 2021-2022 UEFA Nations League where they will have the Netherlands, Poland, and Wales in their Group. These will be good tests, but Belgium really needs tests against France to truly gage where they are at. For more information about Belgium’s Qualification process and recent results, check: “FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers after November 2021 Window”.

Croatia: Croatia tied Slovenia 1-1 at home in a match Croatia dominated and should have won. Unlike the Belgians who had shooting efficiency boots on, the Croatians seemed to have the opposite. The Croatians gave up a late goal in stoppage time which led to the tie. Croatia then dominated Bulgaria at home, but had to comeback and win 2-1. Again, the Croatians lacked efficiency. But, the Croatians grew this past Window as their team seems to be improving in terms of their attacking abilities. Croatia also got Andrej Kramarić to score a goal against Slovenia and a goal against Bulgaria. This is big news. Croatia is trending in the right direction and if Kramarić can start playing like he does for Hoffenheim, Croatia should make another deep run and contest for World Cup glory. But, they first need to start being efficient with scoring. Croatia will be in a Nations League Group with Austria, France, and Denmark. Croatia needs confidence to succeed, and this is a good Group to gain it. Croatia should win 4 of their matches, but the matches against France will be difficult. For more information about Croatia’s Qualification process and recent results, check: “FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers after November 2021 Window”.

Spain: Spain dominated Albania in terms of possession and outshot Albania, but needed a 90th Minute Goal to defeat the Albanians 2-1 at home in a friendly. Spain followed that up with a 5-0 win over Iceland at home, where the Spanish outpossessed Iceland 85% to 15%, even better than their 82% to 18% against Albania, and outshot Iceland with 20 shots on goal and 8 on target. This was the performance of a World Cup Champion. The Spanish had a Croatian style first match, but their second match was a match Croatia likewise should have had. Both are good enough to put up these convincing displays. But, Spain is actually putting up these performances now. Spain has Portugal, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland in their UEFA Nations League Group. Spain will look to keep their confidence up and continue to play like a World Cup favorite. For more information about Spain’s Qualification process and recent results, check: “FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers after November 2021 Window”.

Serbia: Serbia played a tight match away in Hungary that they won 1-0, but only due to a Hungarian own goal. The match was completely even. Then, Serbia went to Denmark where they lost 0-3, but outshot and outpossessed Denmark. Serbia does not look good enough to get our of the Group Stage right now, but they have the talent to. They have Norway, Slovenia, and Sweden in their League B Group for the UEFA Nations League, which should give the Serbians more practice against nations that would be listed as a 3rd or 4th seed in the Group, with a 2nd seed for Sweden. But, Serbia needs more matches against elite nations because if they get a Group that has Brazil and Denmark for example, they probably will not advance. For more information about Serbia’s Qualification process and recent results, check: “FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers after November 2021 Window”.

England: England won 2-1 in a comeback win over Switzerland, a tight one which saw neither one much more convincing than the other. Then, England defeated the Ivory Coast 3-0, but 2 of those goals came after the Ivory Coast went a man down. The English will be happy to have beaten two good nations in friendlies, but they did not look as convincing as they expected to. Still, the English head into Qatar as one of the favorites as well. For more information about England’s Qualification process and recent results, check: “FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers after November 2021 Window”.

Switzerland: Switzerland had a very even match that could have gone either way away in England, but lost 1-2, and then came back and had an absolutely dominating performance against Kosovo in all, but the score. The Swiss tied 1-1 at home, in a match they had to comeback to tie. The Swiss want to advance to the Quarter-finals or further in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but they need to show better results to do so. The Swiss will have plenty of chances to do that in the UEFA Nations League when they play the Czech Republic, Portugal, and Spain each twice. The Swiss will look to instill confidence into their team before the 2022 FIFA World Cup. This level of competition should set them ready for the World Cup so they can get out of the Group Stage. The Swiss are consistently toward the top, but never do anything past the knockout rounds usually. For more information about Switzerland’s Qualification process and recent results, check: “FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers after November 2021 Window”.

Netherlands: The Netherlands won 4-2 at home against the Danish and tied 1-1 at home against the Germans. It was an all-Frisian affair in these friendlies, and while the Dutch challenged themselves the most out of anyone, they also only played at home. The Dutch were not the better team against Germany, but their ability to score against teams like Denmark are good for their chances in the World Cup Group Stage. The Netherlands will most likely be in Pot 2, and thus will have to find a way to draw or defeat a team higher ranked than them, and then will have to try and dominate the rest of the competition. This friendly result proves very good for the Netherlands. For more information about the Netherland’s Qualification process and recent results, check: “FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers after November 2021 Window”.

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 play the South American Fifth Place for one of the last two Qualification Spots at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Tiebreakers:

Overall Points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss)
Overall Goal Difference
Overal Goals For
Points in Matches Played between Tied Teams
Goal Difference in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
Away Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
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)
Drawing of Lots by the FIFA Organizing Committee

Group A:

  1. IR Iran (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup): 10; 8-1-1; 15-4; +11; 25
  2. South Korea (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup): 10; 7-2-1; 13-3; +10; 23
  3. UAE (Advances to the Fourth Round): 10; 3-3-4; 7-7; 0; 12
  4. Iraq (Eliminated): 10; 1-6-3; 6-12; -6; 9
  5. Syria (Eliminated): 10; 1-3-6; 9-16; -7; 6
  6. Lebanon (Eliminated): 10; 1-3-6; 5-13; -8; 6

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

South Korea 2 IR Iran 0

Lebanon 0 Syria 3

Iraq 1 UAE 0

IR Iran 2 Lebanon 0

UAE 1 South Korea 0

Syria 1 Iraq 1

Analysis:

IR Iran: IR Iran continues to dominate Asia, but their quest for world domination has not been very good yet. IR Iran was very competitive in the 2018 World Cup, but failed to get out of the Group Stage. IR Iran finished 1-1-1, but their lack of results against top notch teams like South Korea suggests another Group Stage exit is coming. Yet, IR Iran’s 2-0 comfortable win secured IR Iran the Group 1st Place Win after South Korea lost to the UAE, and thus the Iranians go into the World Cup having finished 3rd Place at the 2019 Asia Cup and having gone 14-1-3 across all of their Qualifiers with a 49-8, +41 Goal Differential. IR Iran may not have the biggest names, but their league is solid, and their roster is deep enough and good enough to compete to get out of the Group Stage, depending on whom they get matched up with. But, they will need to start beating nations like South Korea more. Either way, IR Iran has Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

South Korea: South Korea is a very good nation and is very consistent, but they need to execute better than a 0-1 loss away to the UAE. Still, their 2-0 home win over IR Iran displayed what the South Koreans are capable of, and that is knockout round run. The South Koreans have Qualified for every World Cup since 1986, having gotten out of the Group Stage twice, earning 4th Place in 2002, and 15th Place in 2010. South Korea finished 5th Place at the 2019 Asia Cup, and has now Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

UAE: The UAE had a mix bag of results this past window, losing a crucial match 0-1 away to Iraq, and then surprisingly winning 1-0 at home over South Korea, in order to get the coveted 3rd Place in the Group to Advance to the Fourth Round. The UAE need more consistency and more goal scoring and defense to be able to compete at the highest levels of the sport. They will have a one-off Fourth Round match against Australia in June in Qatar, followed by a one-off match against Peru in Qatar, should the UAE Advance to the Intercontinental Playoff with a win over Australia. The UAE finished 4th Place at the 2019 Asia Cup where the UAE defeated Australia 1-0 in the Quarter-finals. The UAE finished in the Quarter-finals in the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup recently. The UAE will be happy to be playing so close by, but probably not as happy the match is close by in Qatar, as the Qatari-Emirati rivalry is very alive. It may feel like an away match if the Qataris come out to root for Australia and Peru if the UAE is to make it to the potential Peru match.

Iraq: Iraq did well to win 1-0 against the UAE at home, but their 1-1 tie against Syria away meant that their 1-0 would not have been enough anyway, barring some miracle South Korean blowout win. Iraq finished 11th Place in the 2019 Asia Cup, and finished 12th out if 16 nations at the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup. Iraq still have yet to Qualify for the World Cup, and the last time and only time they Qualified was in 1986. Iraq did get a nice home win in Bagdahd in a friendly, 3-1, over Zambia. This win may suggest the UAE and other Asisan teams are better than we thought. Iraq got going too late, and hence have been eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Syria: Syria should have finished 4th or higher, but they have fail backwards since their 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifications where they lost in the Asian Qualifiers Fourth Round for the World Cup. Syria has no excuse for not doing better, as they had done so well in the midst of the Civil War when it was much worse. Therefore, this lack of Syrian good displays falls on their footballing, which finished in the Group Stage, last in their Group, at the 2019 Asia Cup, and finished 9th overall and 3rd Place in their Group at the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup. Syria was competitive a lot though, but just lost many matches this past World Cup 4 year cycle they should have won.

Lebanon: Lebanon did well to get to the Third Round of Qualifiers. While Lebanon will have expected to finish higher, this is where they should have finished. Lebanon is heading in the right direction with this result. Lebanon also did well with a 17th Place 2019 Asia Cup finish and 10th Place 2021 FIFA Arab Cup finish. The Lebanese need to continue to this trend so that next time, they can be better at competing for a Fourth Round spot or maybe even a World Cup spot. Lebanon has never made the FIFA World Cup and has only Qualified for 2 Asia Cups, so things are looking better for this traditional basketball powerhouse in West Asia.

Group B:

  1. Saudi Arabia (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup): 10; 7-2-1; 12-6; +6; 23
  2. Japan (Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup): 10; 7-1-2; 12-4; +8; 22
  3. Australia (Advances to the Fourth Round): 10; 4-3-3; 15-9; +6; 15
  4. Oman (Eliminated): 10; 4-2-4; 11-10; +1; 14
  5. PR China (Eliminated): 10; 1-3-6; 9-19; -10; 6
  6. SR Vietnam (Eliminated): 10; 1-1-8; 8-19; -11; 6

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Australia 0 Japan 2

SR Vietnam 0 Oman 1

PR China 1 Saudi Arabia 1

Japan 1 SR Vietnam 1

Oman 2 PR China 0

Saudi Arabia 1 Australia 0

Analysis:

Japan: Japan is a really good team, and could be once again, knockout round team. Japan focuses on the most important competitions for their soccer program and that is the World Cup! Japan finished Runners-up at the 2019 Asia Cup, and has been very good this World Cup. Japan did well to win 2-0 away in Australia, with two late goals, but their home tie against SR Vietnam was quite concerning showing that Japan is not quite elite enough to defeat all teams they are much better than like SR Vietnam. In the World Cup, Japan will need to be able to tie and win against good teams. So, their win over Australia was a good example, but their tie against SR Vietnam was not.

Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia (KSA) has done well to achieve so highly. They have been the best team in this Group throughout this Third Round. And they appear to have gotten better, and might be able to compete outside of Asia too. Saudi Arabia had an okay last 4 years, finishing 12th place in the 2019 Asia Cup, and 13th Place out of 16 teams at the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup. But, for the World Cup, KSA did even better than last World Cup Qualification. Saudi Arabia has Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and their last 2 matches were a strong 1-1 away tie against PR China and a 1-0 home win over Australia to secure Group 1st Place.

Australia: Australia are a good nation and they will expect to get to the FIFA World Cup. Australia is coming off of a 7th Place finish at the 2019 Asia Cup, and are looking to get to the knockout rounds for the 2nd time in history. The Socceroos will have to get past the UAE who they lost to in the 2019 Asia Cup Quarter-finals, and then, if they win that, they will have to get past Peru who they lost to 0-2 in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Group Stage. The Australian national soccer team has the ability to play with anyone such as France whom they almost drew and played arguably better than in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Group Stage in a narrow 1-2 loss, but they also have the ability to lose to anyone at the World Cup as evident in their 0-2 loss at home to Japan and their 0-1 away loss to Saudi Arabia.

Oman: Oman: Oman did very well this past window and these past 4 years to get within 1 point of Advancing to the Fourth Round. Oman finished 16th at the 2019 Asia Cup, and finished 8th at the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup. Oman continued to do well winning their past two matches winning 1-0 away against SR Vietnam and 2-0 at home over PR China. Oman have never Qualified for the World Cup and will not this time as Oman has been eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Oman, however, can use this momentum in continuing to get better. Oman could Qualify for the World Cup in the near future, especially with the FIFA World Cup expansion in 2026.

PR China: PR China went 3-1-1 in their last 5 matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and almost finished in the coveted 3rd Place position to Advance to the Fourth Round. PR China finished 1 point off. PR China was expected to be a favorite to make it to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. They finished 6th at the 2019 Asia Cup, and were off to the Third Round full of confidence, until they saw the super Group they were in. PR China could have been and should have been more competitive. But, PR China failed to Qualify yet again for the FIFA World Cup, and have been eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup, meaning their only World Cup finals Qualification still was in 2002.

SR Vietnam: SR Vietnam is way ahead of schedule! They are vastly improving exponentially. Their 0-1 home loss to Oman was as expected, but SR Vietnam could have won this one. However, their 1-1 away draw proved just how good this large and populous country can do. SR Vietnam finished last in this Third Round Group, and have been eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but they are on the up and up. SR Vietnam finished 8th Place at the 2019 Asia Cup.

National Team Updates on the national team already Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup via being the Host Nation at the 2022 FIFA World Cup:

Qatar: Qatar are the defending 2019 Asia Cup Champions. Qatar also finished 3rd Place at the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup, 3rd Place at the 2021 Gold Cup, and 10th Place at the 2019 Copa America. Qatar did very well this past window winning 2-1 at home to Bulgaria and 0-0 home draw against Slovenia. This was practically the same result as Croatia’s against these same teams. This puts Qatar on the right track again. Qatar has the home field advantage at the 2022 FIFA World Cup and could do well if they get back on the hot streak they were on.

Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup:

  • Qatar (Host)
  • IR Iran
  • South Korea
  • Japan
  • Saudi Arabia

Advanced to the Fourth Round:

  • Australia
  • UAE

Africa (CAF):

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

Third Round: The Ten Group winners from the Second Round were randomly grouped together into home-and-away ties based off of their pots. The top five teams left according to FIFA Rankings were selected for Pot 1 and the bottom five teams left in FIFA Rankings for Pot 2. The winners of these home-and-away ties Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, while the losers are eliminated.

Tiebreakers:

Overall Points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss)
Overall Goal Difference
Overal Goals For
Points in Matches Played between Tied Teams
Goal Difference in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
Away Goals Scored in Matches Played Between Tied Teams
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)
Drawing of Lots by the FIFA Organizing Committee

Matches from this Past Window:

1st Leg:

Home Team Away Team:

2nd Leg:

Home Team Away Team:

Overall Aggregate:

2nd Leg Home Team 1st Leg Away Team:

1st Leg:

Egypt 1 Senegal 0

2nd Leg:

Senegal 1 (3-1 in Penalty Shootouts) Egypt 0

Overall Aggregate:

Senegal ties on aggregate 1-1, but wins on penalty shootouts 3-1 and Qualifies for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

1st Leg:

Cameroon 0 Algeria 1

2nd Leg:

Algeria 0 Cameroon 1 (1-1 in Extra Time)

Overall Aggregate:

Cameroon ties Algeria 1-1 and 2-2 on aggregate after extra time, but wins on 2 away goals through regulation and extra time verse 1 goal away by Algeria in regulation, and Qualifies for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

1st Leg:

Ghana 0 Nigeria 0

2nd Leg:

Nigeria 1 Ghana 1

Overall Aggregate:

Ghana ties Nigeria 1-1, but wins on away goals with 1 away goal for verse 0 away goals, and Qualifies for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

1st Leg:

DR Congo 1 Morocco 1

2nd Leg:

Morocco 4 DR Congo 1

Overall Aggregate:

Morocco wins 5-2 on aggregate and Qualifies for the 2022 FIFA World Cup!

1st Leg:

Mali 0 Tunisia 1

2nd Leg:

Tunisia 0 Mali 0

Overall Aggregate:

Tunisia wins 1-0 on aggregate and Qualifies for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Analysis:

Ghana: Ghana has to be the luckiest nation in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, or Croatia given how both Qualified. Croatia of course Qualified on a Russian own goal. But, Ghana has now advanced past the CAF Second Round by Goals For over South Africa, and now have beaten Nigeria on aggregate by away goals for! Away Goals rule should not exist, especially in the World Cup as it does not truly show who is the better team, but, nonetheless, it is used and Ghana has used these tiebreakers to their advantage. Now, Ghana will make their fourth World Cup finals appearance, having Qualified in 2006, 2010, 2014, and now 2022. Ghana was placed in a very difficult Group last World Cup Qualifiers featuring Nigeria, Algeria, and Zambia. Nigeria Qualified for the World Cup from that Group, so it seems only fitting Ghana knocked out Nigeria from this World Cup to Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The Black Stars made the Round of 16 in 2006, the Quarter-finals in 2010, and the Group Stage in 2014. They were competitive which each team they played in all of their matches. But, the Black Stars have fallen off these past 4 years, finishing 12th and 19th in the 2019 and 2021 African Cup of Nations respectively. If Ghana plays with passion, they will be difficult to beat, but most teams at the 2022 World Cup should be able to defeat the Black Stars. But, no one should look past them. They are good and they find ways to advance.

Senegal: Senegal will make their 3rd appearance to the World Cup following a 7th Place finish in 2002 and a 17th Place finish in 2018 after having Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup with their penalty shootout victory over Egypt. Senegal missed out on a chance in the Round of 16 in 2018 due to a tiebreaker on Fair Play Points, but in all fairness, Senegal probably should have never beaten Poland as there was clear reffing blunder. Likewise, Senegal was able to defeat Egypt in the Qualifiers, but only after extreme abuse thrown at the Egyptians. Senegalese fans harassed the bus, threw stones and other things like drinks at players, and used laser pointers to distract the Egyptians. Senegal’s security and the whole match should probably be questioned as either Senegal has terrible security or they colluded with the fans to provide an illegal home field advantage. Senegal should probably not be allowed to play at home again for certain number of matches/play with no fans, especially if certain countries have not been able to due to racism being taunted at players, which the Snegalese fans are also rumored to have done. Nonetheless, Senegal have a great team and coach. Their manager has led Senegal to a 2019 African Cup of Nations Runners-up finish, and a 2021 African Cup of Nations Championship, their first time winning the African Cup of Nations. While two of Senegal’s three main players are French-born, Senegal is still widely regarded as Africa’s best team. Senegal will seek to achieve higher than their 2002 finish, the highest finish by an African team ever at the World Cup.

Tunisia: Tunisia makes their 5th appearance at the FIFA World Cup, having achieved 9th out of 16 teams in 1978 as their best finish. From 1998-2006, Tunisia Qualified for 3 straight World Cups. Now, Tunisia has Qualified for 2 straight World Cups. In 2018, Tunisia did well to finish 1-0-2, playing well against England in a 1-2 loss and beating Panama in a 2-1 win. However, they lost to Belgium 2-5. Tunisia is probably the nation that is most average at this 2022 World Cup from Africa as they do not have any individual with as much hype as the other nations to have Qualified, and their record is not good enough to warrant extra hype around their collective team. Tunisia is coming off of a 4th Place and 8th Place finish at the 2019 and 2021 African Cup of Nations respectively, while coming off of a Runners-Up finish to Algeria’s domestic league/second team in the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup. Nonetheless, Tunisia has Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Tunisia was not impressive in their two legs against Mali, but their defense did hold Mali to 0 goals. But, their attack should do better.

Morocco: Morocco Qualifed for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in the most decisive fashion out of any of the nations in Africa that did, winning on aggregate, 5-2! Morocco defeated probably the weakest team in this stage, the DR Congo, but they were not weak because they were bad, rather it is more relatively weak compared to those around them. Morocco tied DR Congo away, 1-1, and then won at home against DR Congo 4-1! Morocco has arguably the best lineup along with Senegal for African nations at the World Cup in Qatar. Morocco is deep too. Their domestic league national team/second team finished 5th in the FIFA Arab Cup losing on penalty shootouts to eventual champions Algeria, and have won the 2018 and 2020 African Nations Championship, the domestic league national team competition for Africa. Morocco is coming off of 9th and 5th place showing at the 2019 and 2021 African Cup of Nations respectively. Morocco returns to the World Cup after their 2018 Group Stage where they went 0-1-2, but were competitive with IR Iran, Spain, and Portugal. Morocco may have not done as well as Senegal lately, but should be very difficult to play like Senegal.

Cameroon: Cameroon have Qualifed for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. But, this is only after the most agregious decisions since the World Cup Final in Moscow in 2018. The officiating was very bad and allowed Cameroon goals that should not have counted and took away Algerian goals that should have counted. Then, Cameroon Qualified via away goal rules after extra time, which means Algeria was at a 30 Minute disadvantage because essentially, Algeria had to play 30 more minutes where Cameroon’s goals counted as 2 goals in a tie breaker. Cameroon scored in the 4th Minute of stoppage time in the 2nd Half of Extra Time. Nonetheless, Cameroon was arguably the better side anyway having finished 3rd in the 2021 African Cup of Nations, following a 13th Place finish in the 2019 edition. Cameroon is widely known for being good at football too, and have finished 2nd Place at the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup, as well as finished 7th at the 1990 FIFA World Cup. These two finishes are the highest and joint-highest finishes ever by an African nation at these events. Furthermore, The Indomitable Lions have won 5 African Cup of Nations, so Cameroon, while weaker this time around, is historically the better side. And, Algeria practically is just the French 2nd Team given the lack of many African born players on their team. Cameroon will be a team that will be expected to finish last in their Group, but should be difficult no matter what.

Algeria: Algeria was the best team going in Africa having won the 2019 African Cup of Nations and having won the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup with their domestic league/second team. Algeria, however, followed that up with a 21st finish at the African Cup of Nations. And then, they had appeared to rebound with a 1-0 away win in Cameroon, but then the following leg at home saw Cameroon win, on dubious circumstances with one of the worst rules that has been eradicated from the UEFA Champions League, but nonetheless, Algeria lost. Algeria did not keep the pace and they faltered when it matter most for their World Cup hopes. Yes, the 124th Minute goal against is heartbreaking, but where were the 2019 African Champions the rest of the match? These are the reasons Algeria have been eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup. They never seem to be able to put teams away anymore, playing down to the level of their opposition. Maybe their Algerian domestic league team with players actually born in Algeria would have been a better option?

DR Congo: DR Congo was either the weakest or second weakest team in this stage of African Qualifiers for the World Cup. But, it is the growth they have taken to get here which shows that in the near future, the DR Congo could turn themselves into a really good national team. The DR Congo is widely recognized for having the best performance by any club from Africa at the FIFA Club World Cup, when TP Mazembe got to the Final in 2010. But, DR Congo’s national team has not followed the success of their club league or TP Mazembe more specifically. They are still a national team looking to be on the rise. DR Congo finished 14th at the 2019 African Cup of Nations, but failed to Qualify for the 2021 edition, and now have been eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup. DR Congo has the population and area to compete, but just needs more structure and consistency. Over time, DR Congo should be able to get back to the World Cup, which they Qualified for once in 1974.

Mali: Mali has had really dominant youth teams over the years, so it is good to see Mali developing at the senior level. And this trend us carrying across in other sports too like basketball. Mali has lots of talent and did well to get to this stage. But, them and DR Congo were by far the weakest teams in this stage of African Qualifiers for the World Cup. Mali did well in their defending with their mostly French-born defense, and did well to hold Tunisia to 1 goal over two legs, but their lack of attack left a lot to be desired, and their 0 goals for over two legs means Mali has been eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Mali is coming off of back to back 11th Place finishes at the African Cup of Nations (2019 and 2021).

Egypt: Egypt is coming off of going to the 2021 African Cup of Nations Final, losing in penalty shootouts to Senegal, only to be knocked out by Senegal on penalty shootouts and eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The Egyptians also finished 4th Place at the FIFA Arab Cup, losing to Tunisia is the Semi-finals on a 90th +5 Minute own goal, and then losing to Qatar on penalty shootouts in the 3rd Place Game. It is definitely safe to say the Egyptians should enjoy sometime away from football as it has not been very nice to them recently. The Egyptians however were not always sailing into medal round finishes and World Cup Qualifying Penalty shootuts. Egypt finished 10th in the 2019 African Cup of Nations, which followed a 31st Place finish at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The Pharoahs and historical best team of Africa will feel robbed by Senegal as certain rules were not followed in their away match in Senegal. The match should have probably been abandoned, but in the end, you cannot score only 1 penalty from 4 taken. The Egyptians must be better in the future.

Nigeria: Nigeria will be disappointed to miss their first World Cup finals since 2006. Nigeria have been the best team from Africa at the World Cup overall on average over the years. But, recently, Nigeria has not been doing quite as well. Nigeria finished 3rd Place at the 2019 African Cup of Nations, but finished 9th at the 2021 edition. Nigeria has been going downhill lately, and their lack of convincing results led to this lackluster two legs. Nigerians should also try to reform the game by getting rid of the away goals rule as their voice is very strong in football both in the world and especially in Africa.

Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup:

  • Ghana
  • Senegal
  • Tunisia
  • Morocco
  • Cameroon

Oceania (OFC):

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

Final Round: Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Oceanian Qualifying has been changed. All FIFA Member Nations of OFC were allowed to compete for a chance at the World Cup, but three chose not to (American Samoa, Tonga, and Samoa). All matches were held in Qatar this Qualifying Window to create a neutral setting and to take advantage of timing issues. While at the Qualifiers in Qatar, two nations had to withdraw (Vanuatu and the Cook Islands). Thus, only six Oceanian nations competed for the Qualifiers. The nations are divided between two groups, one with four teams and one with two teams, due to the two withdrawals being in the same group. The top two teams in each group advance to the Semi-finals, and then in the semi-finals, the it is single-elimination with extra time and penalty shootouts if needed. The winner of the Final advances to the Intercontinental Playoff to play the North American Fourth Place in a neutral one-off single-elimination match for one of the last two Qualification Spots at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Group A:

  1. Solomon Islands (Advanced to the Semi-finals): 1; 1-0-0; 3-1; +2; 3
  2. Tahiti (Advanced to the Semi-finals): 1; 0-0-1; 1-3; -2; 0

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Solomon Islands 3 Tahiti 1

Group B:

  1. New Zealand (Advanced to the Semi-finals): 3; 3-0-0; 12-1; +11; 9
  2. Papua New Guinea (Advanced to the Semi-finals): 3; 2-0-1; 3-2; +1; 6
  3. Fiji (Eliminated): 3; 1-0-2; 3-7; -4; 3
  4. New Caledonia (Eliminated): 3; 0-0-3; 2-10; -8; 0

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Papua New Guinea 0 New Zealand 1

New Caledonia 1 Fiji 2

Papua New Guinea 1 New Caledonia 0

New Zealand 4 Fiji 0

New Zealand 7 New Caledonia 1

Fiji 1 Papua New Guinea 2

Matches from this Past Window:

Home Team Score Away Team Score:

Semi-finals:

Solomon Islands 3 Papua New Guinea 2

New Zealand 1 Tahiti 0

Final:

Solomon Islands 0 New Zealand 5

Analysis:

New Zealand: New Zealand has not had much competition as has most of Oceania as the Oceanian Nations Cup was cancelled due to COVID-19, and then the Qualifiers were so difficult to get started as many of the island nations had very strict rules on COVID-19. Thus, New Zealand last played competitively winning the 2016 OFC Nations Cup and finished last place (8th) at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. New Zealand was not as convincing in some of their wins as they should have been, but their 5-0 win over the Solomon Islands was massive and should put New Zealand on good momentum heading into their Intercontinental Playoff with Costa Rica. New Zealand lost last time in the Intercontinental Playoffs to Peru, 0-2 on aggregate. But, this time, it is a one-off match in a location New Zealand has become used to after these Qualifiers. While Costa Rica will be favored, a one-off match is a great benefit to the underdog team which is New Zealand.

Solomon Islands: The Solomon Islands were mightily impressive in these Qualifiers until the Final, as they brought their footballing skills from the sand and wood onto the pitch! The Solomon Islands found their future striker, Raphael Lea’i, who scored 3 goals against Tahiti and 1 goal against Papua New Guinea! For the Henderson Eels of the Solomon Islands S-League (Telekom S-League), Raphael Lea’i has 69 goals in 34 match appearances since 2019! He is only 18! The Solomon Islands have been massive in Beach Soccer and Futsal over the years with their Futsal National Team winning a record 5 OFC Futsal Nations Cup and going to 4 FIFA Futsal World Cups, and their Beach Soccer National Team winning a record 4 OFC Beach Soccer Championships and Qualifying for 5 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cups. Now, the Solomon Islands look poised to transition to an all-around good footballing nation. However, they are still behind New Zealand. The Solomon Islands have been eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup. But, this is still improvement from the 2019 Pacific Games where they lost to Tahiti and New Caledonia, but tied Fiji, with huge wins over Tuvalu and American Samoa. The Solomon Islands defeated A-League side (Australian First Division), the Brisbane Roar, 1-0 away in a friendly, as well as Australian Second Division side, Queensland Lions, 2-0 away. The Solomon Islands lost to Australian Second Division, Caboolutre Sports FC, 3-4 away, but also beat the Cook Islands 2-0 away. The Solomon Islands’ victory over the Cook Islands was originally part of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification, but was subsequently relegated to only a friendly after the Cook Islands withdrew from the Qualifiers.

Papua New Guinea: Papua New Guinea (PNG) continue to impress in sports, and for Oceania overall, PNG tends to be the third best nation on average. However, PNG will be upset to have lost to the Solomon Islands, bringing up wounds of North Bougainville for sure. PNG have been eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but not until after some fun matches. PNG was placed in the Oceanian Qualifying Group of death, and came out of it alive! That was impressive. Plus, in the 2019 Pacific Games, PNG finished 4th in the soccer tournament, and lost to New Zealand’s U-23 National Team who represented New Zealand in the 2019 Pacific Games, 0-2. So, PNG has improved only losing 0-1 to their senior national team in 2022.

Tahiti: Tahiti or French Polynesia a they probably should be known since that is the entity they represent, had a less than stellar performance in these Qualifiers. Since their 2012 OFC Nations Cup Championship, becoming the only nation other than Australia or New Zealand to win this, Tahiti has become known as the second best team in Oceania, having finished last place (8th) at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. But, Tahiti has not been great since. Tahiti lost to French Fifth Division side, UA Cognac, 3-4 away in a friendly and tied CONIFA National Team, Occitania 0-0 away. Therefore, Tahiti failed to win, not just in their Qualifiers, but also in their friendlies against a team in the Fifth Division of France, and against another national team not in FIFA. Tahiti has been eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The French Polynesians were lucky to be in the easy group, as they had lost to both New Caledonia and Fiji in the 2019 Pacific Games, but had beaten the Solomon Islands. Yet, even the Solomon Islands has gotten better than Tahiti.

Fiji: Fiji was put into a difficult Group, probably the hardest Group in Oceania post Australia’s move into Asia for soccer. Fiji defeated Vanuatu in a friendly 3-0, and then defeated New Caledonia 2-1 in the dying moments with an 89th Minute Goal, but then lost their next two matches. Fiji defeated Papua New Guinea in penalty shootouts to claim 3rd Place at the 2019 Pacific Games, but failed to beat PNG this time lose 1-2 in the Group Stage, and this was after their 0-4 loss to New Zealand. Fiji has been eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Fiji did however play Vanuatu once again in a friendly, winning 2-1 in a comeback win. The Fijians may be disappointed with soccer, but they have Rugby Sevens to hang their hats on!

New Caledonia: New Caledonia has been eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup, following a 0-0-3 display in Group Stage in the Oceanian Qualifiers for the World Cup. New Caledonia was placed in the tough Group, and while their 1-7 loss against New Zealand may suggest the 2019 Pacific Games Runners-Up were behind the 8 Ball, it was their 1 goal losses to both Fiji and PNG that suggested that New Caledonia were still good in Oceania, just a little worse than usual. So, for New Caledonians, hitting the panic button may not be helpful yet. Focus on future because New Caledonia could be good in Oceania again. Look to the 2023 Pacific Games to see if New Caledonia will be elite in Oceania again.

Vanuatu: Vanuatu is a very good nation usually in Oceania for soccer, but they suffered a COVID-19 Outbreak within their team, and thus had to miss out on the Qualifiers. Vanuatu has thus been eliminated in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Vanuatu played two friendlies against Fiji though, losing 0-3 and 1-2, suggesting that Vanuatu got better with this second match. Vanuatu did okay in the 2019 Pacific Games, losing to PNG, but drawing New Zealand’s U-23 Team, the only time New Zealand’s U-23 side failed to win in the soccer tournament at the 2019 Pacific Games. Vanuatu defeated the host nation Samoa and also Tonga at the 2019 Pacific Games to finish 3rd in their Group.

Cook Islands: The Cook Islands will be eying their 2023 Rugby League World Cup, but they had hoped to do well in another football first. The Cook Islands played in one World Cup Qualifying match, sort of, and lost 0-2 to the Solomon Islands. The Cook Islands had to withdraw from the Qualifiers due to COVID-19 outbreak within their team, and thus that match has been relegated to a friendly ex post facto. Therefore, the Cook Islands have been eliminated in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The Cook Islands did not compete in the 2019 Pacific Games soccer tournament.

American Samoa: American Samoa is an interesting national team as their national soccer team has gone from periods of ups to periods of downs. American Samoa vastly improved in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, finishing 2-0-1, but being eliminated on Goal Differential. However, in the 2019 Pacific Games, American Samoa finished 0-1-4 with their tie coming against Tuvalu, 1-1, and an overall goal differential of -34 across 5 matches. American Samoa showed some promise for 2022, but withdrew and thus have been eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Tonga: Tonga withdrew from the Qualifiers due to the 2022 Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha’apai eruption and tsunami, and thus, Tonga has been eliminated in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Tonga might be elite in Rugby League Football, and may be very good in Rugby Union Football, , but in soccer, Tonga is not very good. Their last competition took place in the 2019 Pacific Games where Tonga lost all 4 matches in the Group Stage by a combined score of 0-37. Tonga did however play Samoa close with a 0-2 loss. It is difficult to tell who is better between American Samoa and Tonga.

Samoa: Samoa continues to unimpress in soccer after being eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup due to withdrawing. However, Samoa is generally better than Tonga and American Samoa, as well as the Cook Islands. Samoa finished 1-0-3 in the 2019 Pacific Games, and only had a -19 Goal Differential. Furthermore, Samoa has always won at least 1 match at the World Cup Qualifiers for those they enter into. Nonetheless, Samoa is not very good, especially compared to their expertise in Rugby Union, Rugby League, and American Football. American Samoa and Tonga are also known Rugby Union, Rugby League, and American Football stars!

Advanced to the Intercontinental Playoff:

  • New Zealand

Intercontinental Playoffs:

Costa Rica verse New Zealand

Peru verse Australia/UAE

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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