ZURICH: All the top seeds in the European section for the 2022 World Cup qualifying competition will have been satisfied by the outcome of the draw undertaken in Zurich.
Al the winners of the 10 groups will head for the finals in Qatar in November and December of 2022. The ten runners-up will advance to playoffs along with the two best group winners from the current UEFA Nations League who have not qualified directly for the World Cup or for the play-offs as runners-up.
The 12 teams will be split into three play-off paths, which will feature single-leg knockout matches in March 2022 to determine the last three European nations to book a place in Qatar.
Among the matchups England will renew their rivalry with Poland who, famously, eliminated Sir Alf Ramsey’s men in the qualifying competition for the 1974 finals. The Poles went on to finish third in West Germany; Ramsey, England’s World Cup-winning manager in 1966, was sacked.
The 10 groups are as follows:
Gp A: Portugal, Serbia, Rep of Ireland, Luxembourg, Azerbaijan
Gp B: Spain, Sweden, Greece, Georgia, Kosovo
Gp C: Italy, Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, Lithuania
Gp D: France, Ukraine, Finland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan
Gp E: Belgium, Wales, Czech Republic, Belarus, Estonia
Gp F: Denmark, Austria, Scotland, Israel, Faroe Islands, Moldova
Gp G: Netherlands, Turkey, Norway, Montenegro, Latvia, Gibraltar
Gp H: Croatia, Slovakia, Russia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta
Gp I: England, Poland, Hungary, Albania, Andorra, San Marino
Gp J: Germany, Romania, Iceland, North Macedonia, Armenia, Liechtenstein.
The group matches will be played between March and November next year which means that the certain finalists will have a full year to prepare for Qatar.