The draws for the preliminary round of the World Cup to be staged in Qatar in 2020 has been held with 55 teams split into five groups of five and five groups of six.
The team who finishes at the summit of the 10 groups will get an automatic ticket for the finals, which for the first time will be played in November and December of 2022 to avoid the punishing summer heat in the Middle East.
A further three slots will be battled for between the 10 group runners-up and the two highest-ranked teams from the Nations League who have not already qualified or finished in a runners-up spot.
These 12 teams will be divided into three play-off paths, each featuring four countries, to determine the final three European berths.
England and Poland were drawn in the same qualification group for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, while the world’s top-ranked team Belgium will face Wales.
England, one of the top seeds, will be pleased with the daw as they have a good chance of securing qualification.
World Cup qualification draw in full
- Group A: Portugal, Serbia, Republic of Ireland, Luxembourg, Azerbaijan
- Group B: Spain, Sweden, Greece, Georgia, Kosovo
- Group C: Italy, Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, Lithuania
- Group D: France, Ukraine, Finland, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kazakhstan
- Group E: Belgium, Wales, Czech Republic, Belarus, Estonia
- Group F: Denmark, Austria, Scotland, Israel, Faroe Islands, Moldova
- Group G: Netherlands, Turkey, Norway, Montenegro, Latvia, Gibraltar
- Group H: Croatia, Slovakia, Russia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta
- Group I: England, Poland, Hungary, Albania, Andorra, San Marino
- Group J: Germany, Romania, Iceland, North Macedonia, Armenia, Liechtenstein
Important dates for the qualifiers
The qualifiers will be played between March and November 2021, with play-offs scheduled for March 2022.
- Matchday 1: March 24-25 2021
- Matchday 2: March 27-28 2021
- Matchday 3: March 30-31 2021
- Matchday 4: September 1-2 2021
- Matchday 5: September 4-5 2021
- Matchday 6: September 7-8 2021
- Matchday 7: October 8-9 2021
- Matchday 8: October 11-12 2021
- Matchday 9: November 11-13 2021
- Matchday 10: November 14-16 2021
- Play-offs: March 24, 25, 28, 29 2022