Which countries can still qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar?

Thirteen teams have secured qualification to this winter’s World Cup in Qatar, but there are still plenty of spots — 19, to be exact — up for grabs. Only the host nation, 10 UEFA teams and two CONMEBOL teams have mathematically secured a spot in the upcoming tournament.

Every confederation has remaining slots, and some, such as CONCACAF, CAF and AFC, still have all their places up for grabs.

Between now and the end of the March international breaks, all but two of the World Cup spots will be confirmed, with only the intercontinental playoffs to conclude as the World Cup draw commences on April 3.

Below is a comprehensive rundown of who remains in World Cup contention, and how each nation can qualify amid its confederation’s qualification setup.

What teams have qualified for the World Cup?

To this point, 13 teams have qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Qatar, the host nation qualifying automatically and making its first World Cup appearance, joins 12 other nations qualifying via competitive berths.

Below is a list of all countries that are guaranteed a spot in the 2022 World Cup, organized by date qualified.

AFC World Cup qualifying

The final round of Asian World Cup qualifying features two groups of six teams each. The top two teams in each group qualify automatically, while those finishing third will play a one-game playoff to determine Asia’s representative in the intercontinental playoff.

All teams can still qualify, with nobody fully eliminated, but Vietnam has been mathematically eliminated from top-two contention, and can only qualify via the intercontinental playoff spot.

In Group A, Iran and South Korea have taken a commanding lead in the standings, and each can mathematically ensure qualification in this coming window. Iran just needs one victory to claim a spot, while South Korea has a magic number of four. The third spot is far more murky, with all nations still very much in the mix.

In Group B, things are a little less clear. Saudi Arabia, Japan and Australia are all very much in play for an automatic qualification spot. A game between Japan and Saudi Arabia in this coming January window will be critical in shaping up the top half of the standings, while Australia has matches against both teams above it in the final March international window, a pair of games that will decide the Aussies’ fate.

Group A

* = qualifies for inter-continental playoff
​W = clinched top 3 spot, = clinched qualification, Y = eliminated from top 2, but can advance to fourth round, = eliminated from contention

Group B

* = qualifies for inter-continental playoff
​W = clinched top 3 spot, = clinched qualification, Y = eliminated from top 2, but can advance to fourth round, = eliminated from contention

CAF World Cup qualifying

The African confederation is in the midst of the African Cup of Nations, taking a break from World Cup qualification.

No teams from Africa have fully qualified, as the draw for the final round has just commenced. The final 10 teams remaining after the previous round have entered the last stage, each paired with another nation to compete in a two-leg matchup, with each winner earning a spot.

High-powered meetings such as Egypt vs. Senegal, Nigeria vs. Ghana, and Cameroon vs. Algeria highlight the final round of CAF qualifying. Already eliminated from contention are the likes of Ivory Coast, South Africa, Gabon and Burkina Faso, among many other, smaller nations.

CONCACAF World Cup qualifying

In the final round of CONCACAF qualification, the Hexagonal features the eight nations that remain in contention for a spot at the 2022 World Cup. The top three finishers qualify directly, while the fourth-placed finisher qualifies for the intercontinental playoff.


With six matches remaining, Canada currently tops the group, hoping to qualify for its first World Cup since 1986, while the United States and Mexico are right on their heels. It’s all very tight at the top, with any of the top four looking to have a good chance of qualifying. There’s a gap between fourth and fifth places, with those on the outside with a mountain to climb.

Nobody left in the Hex is mathematically eliminated with six matches to go, but the January window will provide plenty of clarity on that front. Nations such as Haiti, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and Guatemala have already been eliminated in previous rounds.

* = qualifies for inter-continental playoff
​W = clinched top 4 spot, = clinched qualification, Y = eliminated from top 2, but can advance to fourth round, = eliminated from contention

CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying

CONMEBOL only sports one round of World Cup qualifying, with all 10 registered confederations eligible to take part.

South American qualification has been dominated thoroughly this cycle by the top three teams. Only three of the 10 sides currently sport positive goal differentials, a result of Brazil, Argentina and Ecuador providing multiple thumpings each. It’s to the point where Brazil and Argentina have already clinched spots at the 2022 World Cup, and Ecuador could be close behind after the coming January international break.

The rest of the table is in complete disarray, and chaos reigns. It is eye-popping to see South American powers Chile and Uruguay so far down the table this late in qualifying, but the truth is they are just a point behind Colombia and Peru in fourth and fifth, respectively. Bolivia is just a further point back, while Paraguay also looms in ninth. Only Venezuela is in the dust, and while they are not mathematically eliminated, that could be on the horizon if it doesn’t secure points fast.

* = qualifies for inter-continental playoff
​W = clinched top 3 spot, = clinched qualification, Y = eliminated from top 2, but can advance to fourth round, = eliminated from contention

UEFA World Cup qualifying

Ten of the available 13 European places in the 2022 World Cup have been secured, but there is still plenty of drama remaining. Topping their groups to earn places are Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, England, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Serbia, Spain and Switzerland.

Of the remaining 12 countries still in the mix, each will participate in a mini four-nation bracket, each with a winner emerging to secure a place in this winter’s field. Each match will be one game, with the winner advancing to the next spot.

Shockingly, Italy and Portugal were both drawn into the same bracket, meaning at least one is guaranteed to miss out on a spot in the World Cup. Also taking part are the likes of Poland, Sweden, Turkey, Wales, Scotland and others who finished second in their groups during the last round.

Group A



Group B



Group C




The Oceania qualification format, which works to nominate a member for the intercontinental playoff, is somewhat behind, with a qualifier between Tonga and Cook Islands to take place in mid-March before a small group stage takes place.

The remaining nations are: Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Tahiti and Vanuatu plus the winner of the aforementioned qualifier. The group stage sees three matches for each nation, to be played throughout mid-March. The top two finishers advance to a small four-team knockout bracket, with the final played on March 30.

That champion will earn a spot in the intercontinental playoffs. New Zealand is usually considered the overwhelming favorite in this group of small island nations, which has been the case since Australia made the switch to the AFC.

Intercontinental playoffs

Once everything else has been finished, and even after the World Cup draw on April 3, the final two spots at the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be determined.

A pair of intercontinental playoffs pit those on the cusp of qualification from the around the world against each other in a pair of winner-take-all matchups. The fourth-place finisher in the Asian confederation meets the fifth-place finisher in the South American table, while North America’s fourth-place finisher meets the winner of the Oceania region.

These playoff assignments rotate each cycle, as to switch up the assigned confederations for competitive balance. While this used to be a two-leg affair, it has been shortened into just one match for this cycle, and those matches will be contested in Qatar, the site of the World Cup finals. They were originally scheduled for March, but as a result of changes to the FIFA calendar stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, they will be played in June, a few months after the World Cup draw.


CONCACAF vs. Oceania

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