Cristiano Ronaldo, Lewandowski and Salah: players still looking for a place in the Cup

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In November 2022, more than 700 players will gather in Qatar for the 22nd edition of the World Cup. So far, 13 teams are already assured in the competition and there are 19 more vacancies.

Today’s great players are in this second group of those who still haven’t guaranteed the classification and dream of being able to compete in the Worlds. The list includes names like Cristiano Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski and Luis Suárez, for example.

All qualifiers around the world will be closed until March, when the 32 nations that will play the tournament in Qatar will be known.

The only country present in all editions of the competition, Brazil won its place five rounds in advance in the dispute between the South American teams.

In addition to the Brazilian team and the host country, Argentina, Serbia, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Croatia and England are also guaranteed.

See below the situation on each continent

European qualifiers

The continent’s last three places at the World Cup will be defined in mini-tournaments. In all, 12 countries will duel in semi-finals and single-game finals in March of next year. The semifinals will be played on the 24th and the finals on the 29th of the same month.

Each key will have four selections. In Group A, the semifinals will be between Scotland vs Ukraine and Wales vs Austria. In Group B they face Russia v Poland and Sweden v Czech Republic. And in Group C, the matches will be between Italy x Northern Macedonia and Portugal x Turkey.

The winners of each of these duels face off in the final of their respective brackets and only the winners will qualify for the World Cup. If they beat their opponents in the semi, Italy and Portugal will make the Group C decision to decide who will go to Qatar. It’s possible that neither of them will qualify for the Worlds.

At 36, Cristiano Ronaldo runs the risk of being left out of what should be his last chance to compete in a Cup, which would be the fifth of his career. Voted the best in the world by FIFA in 2020, Polish Robert Lewandowski, 33, is also in contention to qualify for the tournament.

South American qualifiers

There are two direct spots left in the 2022 World Cup for the South American teams, as Brazil and Argentina are already classified.

Played in a running points format, the region’s qualifiers will have their last four rounds held between January and March of next year.

Seven teams still have chances to win a place at the Worlds. Only Venezuela, at the bottom of the dispute, with just 7 points, is no longer able to fight for a spot.

Ecuador, in third, with 23 points, and Colombia, in fourth, with 17, are currently with their hands in the two remaining direct spots, while Peru, also with 17, would play the international play-off.

Chile (16), Uruguay (16), Bolivia (15) and Paraguay (13) are still in the running. The 15th and 16th rounds are scheduled to be played between January 27th and February 1st, while the final rounds are scheduled for March 24th and 29th.

African qualifiers

The fight for a spot in the World Cup on the African continent is in its third phase. In this, the 10 nations that won the disputes in their groups in the second phase will be divided into 5 draws of two teams, which will play round-trip matches. The winner of each bracket qualifies for the Worlds in Qatar.

The ten teams that will compete in this stage are: Algeria, Tunisia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, Egypt, Senegal, Ghana, Morocco and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Therefore, players such as Egyptian Mohamed Salah and Senegalese Sadio Mané are still struggling to win a place in the meeting of players that will parade in Qatar.

The third phase is scheduled to take place in March of next year. The draw for the keys, however, has not yet been announced.

North, Central and Caribbean qualifiers

The dispute is in the third and final phase, in which the three winners of the second phase join the top five teams placed in the FIFA World rankings of July 2020. In this phase, everyone duels in round-trip matches in a single group. The top three places guarantee a place at the Worlds. The fourth place competes in an international play-off.

After eight rounds, Canada, with 16 points, the United States, with 15, and Mexico, 14, are in the lead and, for now, classified to the World Cup. Panama is fourth, also at 14.

The last six rounds will be played between January and March 2022. With 18 points up for grabs for each team, they all still have a chance to win a spot. In fifth, Costa Rica has 9 points, Jamaica has 7, El Salvador has 6 and Honduras, in the lantern, has 3.

Asian qualifiers

On the Asian continent, the dispute is also in the third phase, in which 12 teams are divided into two groups, with six nations in each. In this stage, all face off within their groups, in round-trip duels.

The top two in each bracket qualify for the World Cup. The third placed advance to a fourth phase, which will determine the continent’s representative in the international repechage.

After six rounds, Iran, with 16 points, and South Korea, with 14, lead the fight in Group A. The United Arab Emirates (6), Lebanon (5), Iraq (4) and Syria (2) appear in the sequence. Even the Syrians, in a very difficult situation, still have a chance of finishing second in the bracket and, therefore, they are alive in the fight for the repechage.

In Group B, Saudi Arabia leads with 16 points, with Japan in second, with 12. Australia is in third place (11), Oman appears in sequence (7) and then China (5). Vietnam, in last, did not score.

In addition to the four that qualify directly for the Cup, the two third-placed will compete in the fourth stage of the Elimination, in which the winner will win the right to compete in the international repechage.

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