The 2022 World Cup is just nine months away, as the tournament takes place in December rather than its usual spot in the summer due to the heat in Qatar. As a result, the qualification process is not as far along as usual, as the field is not yet completely set. However, the World Cup qualification picture continues to get clearer, as teams continue to earn their place in the world’s biggest soccer tournament. Let’s have a look at our FIFA World Cup Betting update.
World Cup: Qualified Teams, Teams on the Chase, Upsets, and Surprises
Teams Qualified For The 2022 World Cup
So far, Europe is the only confederation that has completed the main portion of its World Cup qualification, with 10 European countries already having secured their entry into the tournament. Elsewhere, there are two confirmed qualifiers from South America thus far, and two confirmed qualifiers out of the Asian confederation. Here is a list of the teams that have already secured a berth in the 2022 World Cup finals tournament:
- South Korea
Outside of those teams, there are several that are on the verge of qualifying at this point in time. Saudi Arabia and Japan out of Asia look likely to qualify, as do Canada, Mexico, and the United States out of CONCACAF. Ecuador is on the verge of qualifying out of South America as well, as those nations have been successful in outperforming their counterparts for most of the qualifying window.
Teams Still In The Hunt
There are several teams still alive in each confederation to qualify for the World Cup in addition to the teams mentioned above. In Asia, there are four other countries still in the race to reach the World Cup, as United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Iraq, and Australia are not out of the running yet. In CONCACAF, Panama and Costa Rica are still in the mix, while El Salvador holds onto faint hopes of making the inter-confederation playoffs.
The South American qualification picture still has five teams fighting for the final two spots. Uruguay, Peru, Chile, and Colombia have all had recent World Cup appearances and will look to add another with a strong finish to their qualifying campaign. Bolivia is also mathematically alive, and will look to shock the world by reaching the tournament.
There are still three more spots to be earned in Europe, as 11 teams will play for three spots at the end of March. Some of the top teams in the world are in this European playoff round, including reigning European champions Italy and the Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portugal. It is possible that some of the best players in the world will miss the World Cup after this tournament is completed.
There are also two confederations whose final qualifying stage has not yet begun. The final 10 teams in Africa’s qualifying tournament have been drawn into pairs and will play two-legged ties to decide who receives the continent’s five spots in late March. Oceania’s eight teams will also play in a competition in March to see if New Zealand can give them a chance to get a team into the World Cup.
World Cup Qualification Upsets and Surprises
As far as World Cup qualification upsets go, there were multiple teams that finished at the top of their qualification groups that were not expected to do so. In Europe, Serbia and Switzerland finished ahead of Portugal and Italy in their respective groups. Not only did that put those two teams directly into the group stage of the World Cup, but it has put Portugal and Italy into a playoff where one is guaranteed to miss the World Cup.
Another upset at the top of a World Cup qualifying group has come in the form of Saudi Arabia. In a group with Australia and Japan in the Asian qualifiers, Saudi Arabia has all but assured its place in the group stage. That was unexpected to say the least when the groups were drawn, as Saudi Arabia deserves a ton of credit for their performance in qualifying.