FIFA World Cup qualification (UEFA) 2022
The European section of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification acts as qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, to be held in Qatar, for national teams that are members of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). A total of 13 slots in the final tournament are available for UEFA teams.
All 55 FIFA-affiliated national teams from UEFA entered qualification.
On 9 December 2019, the World Anti-Doping Agency initially handed Russia a four-year ban from all major sporting events, after RUSADA was found non-compliant for handing over manipulated lab data to investigators. However, the Russia national team could still enter qualification, as the ban only applies to the final tournament to decide the world champions. The WADA ruling allowed athletes who were not involved in doping or the coverup to compete, but prohibited the use of the Russian flag and anthem at
major international sporting events. An appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport was filed,but WADA’s decision was upheld though reduced to a two-year ban.The CAS ruling also allowed the name “Russia” to be displayed on uniforms if the words “Neutral Athlete” or “Neutral Team” have equal prominence. If Russia qualifies for the tournament, its players will not be able to use their country’s name alone, flag or anthem at the World Cup, as a result of the nation’s two-year ban from world championships and Olympic Games in all sports.
The qualification format was confirmed by the UEFA Executive Committee during their meeting in Nyon, Switzerland, on 4 December 2019 The qualification would depend, in part, on results from the 2020–21 UEFA Nations League, although to a lesser degree than the 2018–19 UNL had on qualification for UEFA Euro 2020. The structure maintained UEFA’s usual ‘group stage/playoff stage’ structure, with only the specific format of the play-offs amended
- Group stage: 5 groups of 5 teams and 5 groups of 6 teams. Group winners qualified for the World Cup finals.
- Play-off stage: The 10 group runners-up are joined by the two best Nations League group winners, based on the Nations League overall ranking, that finished outside the top two of their qualifying group. These 12 teams were drawn into three play-off paths, playing two rounds of single-match playoffs (semi-finals with the seeded teams to host, followed by finals, with the home teams to be drawn). The three path winners will qualify for the World Cup finals.
On 4 December 2019, the UEFA Executive Committee initially approved the use of the video assistant referee system for the qualifiers. However, VAR was not implemented at the start of qualification due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on operational and logistical capabilities. On 5 August 2021, UEFA announced that the VAR system would be used for the remainder of qualification, starting from September 2021
|Matchday 1||24–25 March 2021|
|Matchday 2||27–28 March 2021|
|Matchday 3||30–31 March 2021|
|Matchday 4||1–2 September 2021|
|Matchday 5||4–5 September 2021|
|Matchday 6||7–8 September 2021|
|Matchday 7||8–9 October 2021|
|Matchday 8||11–12 October 2021|
|Matchday 9||11–13 November 2021|
|Matchday 10||14–16 November 2021|
|Semi-finals||24 March 2022|
|Finals||29 March 2022|
Below is the schedule of the European qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
In March 2020, UEFA announced that the two matchdays planned to take place in June 2021 would be moved following the rescheduling of UEFA Euro 2020 to June and July 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic To allow for the completion of the qualifying group stage in November 2021 as scheduled, UEFA announced on 24 September 2020 that the March and September 2021 windows in the FIFA International Match Calendar were expanded from two to three matchdays. The changes to the International Match Calendar for March and September 2021, which extended each window by one day, were approved by the FIFA Council on 4 December 2020.[