By the end of the next couple of weeks, we should know the identity of 29 of the 32 teams that will compete in the 2022 World Cup Finals in Qatar.

We already know around half the teams set to contest the finals with the hosts Qatar amongst 15 teams that have already confirmed their place in the finals, despite some still having qualifying games still to play.

Another 14 teams should be known relatively shortly, with the final European qualifying spot decided along with the two inter-conference playoff games in June later this year.

Bet365 Sport has a fantastic range of bets available on the World Cup right now, including plenty of overall winner bets available, as well as a wide range of bets available on the World Cup Qualifying games from all over the world coming up over the next fortnight.

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Let’s now take a closer look at the qualifying situation across the globe right now.

Europe

  • Qualified So Far – Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Croatia, England, Germany.
  • Qualifying Places Up For Grabs – 3/13

World Cup Playoffs – Thursday 24th March – 7.45pm

Path 1

  • Wales v Austria
  • Scotland v Ukraine – Postponed – Set to be played in June 2022, with the Path 2 final to be played three days later (See below)

Path 2

  • Sweden v Czech Republic
  • Poland qualify for Path 3 final after opponents Russia were expelled from the tournament.

Path 3

  • Italy v North Macedonia
  • Portugal v Turkey

Path Finals – Tuesday 29th March

  • Path 2 – Poland v Sweden or Czech Republic (Chorzow)
  • Path 3 – Portugal or Turkey v Italy or North Macedonia (Porto or Konya)

Path 1 & Final – Date in June to be set

  • Scotland v Ukraine –Likely around 10th June.
  • Path 1 – Wales or Austria v Scotland or Ukraine (Cardiff or Vienna) – Likely around 13th June

With ten teams already confirmed as Group Winners in qualifying, just three spots for European teams remain up for grabs. The winners of each path will claim these spots, but Path 1 will be decided in June after FIFA granted Ukraine a postponement with a view to playing the fixture away to Scotland in June.

With Russia banished from the competition, Poland received a bye into the final of Path 2 where they will host either Sweden or the Czech Republic in the final.

Path 3 is hugely intriguing with one or possibly both of Italy or Portugal set to miss out on the World Cup Finals.

Asia

  • Qualified So Far – Iran, South Korea
  • Qualifying Places Up For Grabs – 2 or 3/ 4 or 5

Iran and South Korea have confirmed they will take the qualifying spots at the World Cup from Group A.

Saudi Arabia, Japan and Australia are battling it out for the top two qualifying spots in Group B, with the third place team facing a playoff against the third place team in Group A for a place in the inter-conference playoff against a the team finishing fifth in the CONMEBOL qualifying group.

24th March

Group A

  • South Korea v Iran
  • Iraq v United Arab Emirates
  • Lebanon v Syria

Group B

  • Australia v Japan
  • China v Saudi Arabia
  • Vietnam v Oma

29th March

Group A

  • Iran v Lebanon
  • United Arab Emirates v South Korea
  • Syria v Iraq

Group B

  • Japan v Vietnam
  • Saudi Arabia v Australia
  • Oman v China

7th June – 3rd Place Playoff

  • 3rd in Group A v 3rd in Group B

The playoff between the two third placed teams from Group A and B will take place on the 7th June with the playoff against the 5th placed CONMEBOL team taking place on the 13th or 14th June.

Grou A looks pretty sorted with Iran and South Korea already confirmed as qualified and the UAE likely to earn the third place playoff spot. Group B is much more interesting with Saudi Arabia, Japan and Australia all battling it for the two automatic spots and hoping to avoid the third place playoff.

Africa

  • Qualified So Far – None.
  • Qualifying Places Up For Grabs – 5/5

There are five two-legged playoff games taking place on the 25th and 29th March which will decide the five teams that will represent Africa in the World Cup later this year. The games are as follows (game shown will be played on 25th March, with reverse fixture played 29th)

  • Egypt v Senegal
  • Cameroon v Algeria
  • Ghana v Nigeria
  • D.R.Congo v Morocco
  • Mali v Tunisia

A repeat of this year’s African Cup of Nations final between Egypt and Senegal heads the list of two-legged playoff games in Africa, by the end of which we will know which five African teams will represent the continent at the World Cup Finals.

With the likes of South Africa, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso all being eliminated earlier in the tournament, my money is on Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Cameroon and Egypt making it through to the World Cup Finals, but it should be a very closely contested set of games.

CONCACAF (North & Central America)

  • Qualified So Far – Canada
  • Qualifying Places Up For Grabs – 3/4

The top three teams in the final group stage qualify for the World Cup Finals.

The team that finishes fourth enters an inter-conference playoff against the Oceania qualifying winners. This game will be played on 13th or 14th June in Qatar.

The final three games in qualifying will be played on the 24th, 27th and 30th March.

24th March – Matchday 12

  • Jamaica v El Salvador
  • Panama v Honduras
  • Mexico v United States
  • Costa Rica v Canada

27th March – Matchday 13

  • Canada v Jamaica
  • El Salvador v Costa Rica
  • United States v Panama
  • Honduras v Mexico

30th March – Matchday 14

  • Panama v Canada
  • Jamaica v Honduras
  • Mexico v El Salvador
  • Costa Rica v United States

Canada are qualified, but the battle for the next two qualifying spots is going to be intense. Mexico and the United States hold them at the moment with a significant advantage over Panama and Costa Rica, but the United States face Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica in their last three games, two away from home.

However, Panama and Costa Rica also both face Canada, while after their game with the USA, Mexico have two very winnable games with the already-eliminated Honduras and El Salvador.

So my money is on Mexico joining Canada as the second place team here, and I think the United States hang on to third just ahead of Costa Rica who will qualify for the Inter Continental playoff.

CONMEBOL (South America)

  • Qualified So Far – Brazil, Argentina
  • Qualifying Places Up For Grabs – 2 or 3 / 4 or 5

The top four in CONMEBOL qualifying earn a spot at the World Cup Finals with the fifth place team entering an inter-conference playoff against the team that wins the third-place playoff in the Asian Conference, which will be played on 13th or 14th June in Qatar.

Matchday 17 (Thu 24th & Fri 25th March)

  • Colombia v Bolivia
  • Paraguay v Ecuador
  • Brazil v Chile
  • Uruguay v Peru
  • Argentina v Venezuela

Matchday 18 (Wed 30th March)

  • Peru v Paraguay
  • Ecuador v Argentina
  • Venezuela v Colombia
  • Chile v Uruguay
  • Bolivia v Brazil

The race is on for third and fourth in the South American qualifying group. Ecuador should finish in one of those spots and it is between Uruguay, Peru, Chile, and Colombia for the other spot, with my money being on Uruguay to get the win over Peru to give them a great chance of landing fourth.

Fifth place enters the Inter Continental Playoff in June and looking at the games left, I think Peru may do just enough to hold of Chile and Colombia to grab that spot.

Oceania

  • Qualified So Far – None.
  • Qualifying Places Up For Grabs – 0/1

The Oceania qualifying campaign is being held in Qatar as a standalone tournament.

The winner of this tournament will play the 4th place team from CONCACAF (North and Central America) in June for a place in the finals.

The first games in this stage of the tournament were played on the 17th and 18th March.

Due to Covid-19 issues, Vanuatu have withdrawn from Group A, while the Cook Islands will not play any of their remaining games for the same reason. This means only one Group A game remains, the result of which will determine which teams will progress from this group.

All Group B games should be played on the dates below.

17th March

Group A

  • Cook Islands 0-2 Solomon Islands
  • Tahiti v Vanuati – Cancelled

18th March

Group B

  • Papua New Guinea 0-1 New Zealand
  • New Caledonia 1-2 Fiji

21st March

Group A

  • Cook Islands v Tahiti – Cancelled
  • Solomon Islands v Vanuatu – Cancelled

Group B

  • Papua New Guinea v New Caledonia
  • New Zealand v Fiji

24th March

Group A

  • Soloman Islands v Tahiti
  • Vanuatu v Cook Islands – Cancelled

Group B

  • New Zealand v New Caledonia
  • Fiji v Papua New Guinea

The winner and runner up from. Groups A and B then compete in the one-legged semi finals

27th March

  • Winner Group A v Runner Up Group B
  • Winner Group B v Runner Up Group A

30th March

  • Winner of Semi Final 1 v Winner of Semi Final 2

The winner of this tournament will then go on play the 4th place team from CONCACAF (North and Central America) in June for a place in the finals on the 13th or 14th June in Qatar.

In truth, New Zealand are by far the strongest team in this section and it would be a huge surprise if any other team made it into the Inter Continental Playoff.