Over the next week, 55 European countries will be competing in 75 FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifier games with the aim of securing crucial points that will take them one step closer to qualifying for the FIFA World Cup 2022 that takes place in Qatar in November and December next year.
It’s been an action-packed few months if you’re a football fan. From the nail-biting Euros to the exciting transfer window, to the start of the national football leagues – including the Premier League, La Liga, Ligue One and Bundesliga – there’s been non-stop action and breaking news to look forward to.
Over the course of the next few months, 115 international teams will be whittled down to the final 31 that will participate at next year’s Qatar World Cup, the first World Cup ever to be held in the Arab world and the second to be held in Asia after the 2002 edition that took place in South Korea and Japan. The World Cup will feature 32 teams, with Qatar having secured automatic qualification as the host country.
UK viewers will be pleased to know that all of England’s games will be broadcast on free-to-air service ITV and its online service ITV Hub. All games featuring British teams will be broadcast on Sky Sports in the UK, while other games featuring European teams will be broadcast on Sky Sports Red Button. If you’re travelling abroad, you can access all of the above services using a good VPN service, like ExpressVPN.
FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers this week
The below fixtures are for marquee fixtures featuring European teams broadcast on ITV and Sky Sports.
Games not on the below channels will likely be broadcast on Sky Sports Red Button.
Thursday, 2 September 2021
- Hungary vs England at 7:45pm on ITV
- Lithuania vs Northern Ireland at 7:45pm on Sky Sports Main Event
- Sweden vs Spain on Sky Sports Premier League
Saturday, 4 September 2021
- Republic of Ireland vs Azerbaijan at 5pm on Sky Sports Football
- Scotland vs Moldova at 7:45pm on Sky Sports Football
- Ukraine vs France at 7:45pm on Sky Sports Premier League
Sunday, 5 September 2021
- Belarus vs Wales at 2pm on Sky Sports Football
- England vs Andorra at 5pm on ITV
- Switzerland vs Italy at 7:45pm on Sky Sports Football
FIFA World Cup European Fixtures and Results
How do the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers work?
This is fairly broad question because the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualification process involves teams from all over the world, divided into six confederations. Some confederations have already had a few elimination games, so the remaining 136 teams that still have qualification hopes include:
- 55 teams from Europe (UEFA)
- 12 national teams from Asia (AFC)
- 40 teams from Africa (CAF)
- 8 teams from North America (CONCACAF)
- 10 teams from South America (CONMEBOL)
- 11 teams from Oceanic nations (OFC)
While it’s true that each of these confederations have their FIFA World Cup qualification games around the same time, how individual groups are segregated, matches are played and how many qualification places are still up for grabs tend to vary broadly. It’s fair to say that this is a logistically complex operation.
Making matters worse is Covid. You’ll have no doubt heard about different players choosing to stay with their Premier League clubs in order to avoid missing games after returning from national duty, even though this can potentially come at the cost of their country missing out on a place in next year’s World Cup.
Thankfully, most qualifying groups are organised in a way that tends to ensure that the strongest teams from each confederation all go through so missing one or two players hopefully won’t make the difference between elimination and qualification for the biggest football tournament in the world.
How do the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers for European nations work?
As we explained below, it’s fairly complex to cover FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers for all 100+ countries that still have hopes of qualification. Therefore, for the sake of convenience, we’ll concentrate on the European nations and their path to qualifying for a place in the FIFA World Cup because this is more relevant and much easier to explain.
The 55 European nations competing for a place in the 2022 Qatar World Cup are divided into 10 groups each. Groups A to E comprises of five teams each, while groups F to J comprises of six groups each. Each teams plays the remaining other teams in the group twice, home and away.
There are 13 European places up for grabs in the 2022 World Cup. These will be awarded to the winners of each of the 10 groups, with the remaining three places going to the runners-up that will compete with other confederations for the final three places. In short, winning the group is the easiest surefire way of securing qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Here are the British teams and the groups that they are currently in.
- Republic of Ireland in Group A
- Northern Ireland is in Group C
- Wales is in Group E
- Scotland is in Group F
- England are in Group I
FIFA World Cup 2022 UEFA Qualification Groups
We’ve highlighted the British teams and some of the other top European contenders for your convenience.
|Group A||Group B||Group C|
|Republic of Ireland||Georgia||Bulgaria|
|Group D||Group E|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Estonia|
|Group F||Group G||Group H|
|Group I||Group J|
As you can see from the table above, England are in Group I. Even though they have five other teams in their group – Hungary, Albania, Andorra, Poland and San Marino – none of them pose a major threat to England’s chances. England have also started their FIFA 2022 World Cup campaign on a great note, winning all of their opening games by a big margin, which has given them a great chance to top the group and secure qualification for next year’s World Cup without undergoing any of the additional play-off rounds that second-placed teams in the group will have to fight for.