The final round of this year’s Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifying matches from around the world came to an end, with more and more of the world’s top football powers punching their tickets to FIFA’s biggest national team tournament. Given the level of thrills, action, and pivotal defining moments for teams left and right, even American sports betting sites that focus more on options like the best NFL picks against the spread have taken the focus of the unraveling football action going on around the world.
But now that the action is done and over with, and with all of the different continental football confederations already gearing up for what promises to be an emotional and action-packed last stretch of matches to lock in the last participants of the upcoming World Cup Tournament in Qatar, let’s take a look at how all the football-ridden action unfolded around the world.
After the two last rounds of UEFA’s qualifying stage for Qatar 2022, which saw the likes of Belgium, France, Serbia, Spain, Croatia, Switzerland England, and the Netherlands all punching their tickets to next year’s FIFA tournament, three spots are left for grabs with 12 teams ready to duke it out for one last chance to make it to Qatar next year. On paper, teams like CR7’s Portugal, the Euro 2020 defending champions Italy, Gareth Bale’s Wales, Robert Lewandowski’s Poland, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s Sweden stand out as initial favorites to try and snag one of the remaining tickets for the 2022 World Cup tournament, a lot will be defined once the playoff draws are announced, with the action unfolding between March 24th and March 29th, 2022.
For the South American Confederation, it was only a matter of time before Argentina, led by Lio Messi who will be looking at Qatar 2022 as his last chance to score a World Cup title win, would join Brazil as the first two teams qualified for next year’s tournament. Now, taking Brazil and Argentina out of the equation, Ecuador seems like the next team best fit to punch in their tickets for Qatar 2022, leaving just one more direct spot left, with a 5th qualifying team having to go through an extra playoff stage against a team from another confederation to try and win a spot in the tournament.
Colombia right now is standing tall at fourth place, but Perú, Chile, Uruguay, and Bolivia are all either three or four points away, making for the upcoming series of matches some of the most important, where we could end up seeing the tides change for various of these teams.
In the North America, Central America, and Caribbean confederation, Canada, led by the likes of Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies and a generation of young, electrifying talents have taken the competition by surprise after finishing the year in the first place, over perennial favorites like Mexico, who they beat in the last round of qualifying matches and the United States. Mexico and the US subsequently right now are the other two teams looking in the best shape to take, with Canada, the three direct spots given to Concacaf for the upcoming tournament.
For the fourth place, which automatically gives the qualifying team a chance to play for a spot in the World Cup against a team from another confederation in a 2-game, win and you’re in series, Panamá, and Costa Rica look like they’ll be battling for that spot until the last minute, with 5 points separating the Panamanians from the Costa Ricans and six matches left to go, from January until late March.
In Africa, the stage is pretty much set for the last round of the qualifying playoffs to get underway after the last two rounds of initial qualifying matches went down. Ten teams are still in the race towards securing one of the five sports awarded by FIFA to the African Confederation, with teams like Argelia, Nigeria, Senegal, and Ghana standing out as early favorites to take four of those five spots.
Mohamed Salah’s Egypt, Cameroon, Tunisia, Mali, Morocco, and the Democratic Republic of Congo will all be looking as well to make their presence felt and find a way to secure a spot in the Qatar 2022 tournament once the final playoff draws are made and the action gets going early on next year.
AFC & OFC
Last but not least, over in the action unfolding for the Asian and Oceanic Football Confederations, given that Qatar is already qualified, four more direct spots are still up for grabs with four rounds of matches still left and the competition still up in the air for the most part. As of right now Iran and South Korea are neck to neck for the leadership spot of group A while in group B Saudi Arabia has a four-point advantage over Asian powerhouse Japan and a five-point difference over Australia.
Given that out of these confederations, the first two teams in each group will qualify directly to Qatar 2022, the two remaining third-place finishers from the groups will have to go into a one-game playoff to determine which will then move on to fight for one of the last spots for the tournament against a team from another confederation.