World Cup 2022: Dates, qualifiers, draw, schedule for tournament in Qatar


We break down some of the key information and answer a range of questions you may have been pondering, ahead of 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™. 

With the usual two-year gap between European Championships and the World Cup cut in half due to the coronavirus pandemic, teams will have a quick turnaround and can refocus immediately upon another major tournament. 

When will the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ take place?

Due to particularly hot temperatures in Qatar over the summer months, it was agreed the tournament would be better off suited to the winter months. 

The tournament kicks off on Monday November 21 at the Al Bayt stadium in Al Khor, with a match that will feature the host country in what will be a highly anticipated encounter in the Middle Eastern region. 

The final will be played at the Lusail Stadium in Doha, on December 18. 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ qualifying fixtures can be viewed via the below link:

How qualifying works around the world:

Europe (UEFA):


There are 55 European nations comprising 10 groups of 5 or 6 teams. The 10 group winners will go direct to the finals.

The final three places will be decided via playoffs. This will involve the 10 runners-up plus the two best-ranked group winners from the 2020-21 UEFA Nations League who do not finish in the top two of their respective group.

The order of sides entering through the UEFA Nations League, if required, are as follows:

France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Wales, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Montenegro, Albania, Armenia, Gibraltar, Faroe Islands.

South America (CONMEBOL):


All 10 South American nations play each other home and away. The top four nations will earn a direct route to the finals, with the fifth-placed team entered into an intercontinental playoff (draw yet to be determined).

North America, Central America, Caribbean (CONCACAF):

CONCACAF has 35 FIFA-affiliated nations, the vast majority of which are lower-ranked nations in world football. 

Canada, El Salvador and Panama prevailed in the opening rounds of qualifying, joining the higher FIFA ranking sides of Costa Rica, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico and the United States.

The eight teams will each play each other home and away (14 matches) with the top three qualifying for 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™. The fourth placed team will then battle for a spot in Qatar via an intercontinental playoff. 

Africa (CAF): 


CAF comprises 54 eligible FIFA-affiliated nations, with the 28 lowest ranked nations playing two-legged ties in September 2019 in order to book their spot in the group stage draw for round two. 

The 14 winners then joined the 26 higher-ranked nations, thus forming 10 groups of 4 teams. The group winners from these 10 groups then reach the final round to ultimately determine qualification. 

 The 10 group winners are then drawn into five head-to-head, two legged ties. The eventual winners of these ties then secure one of the five available spots at 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™.

Asia (AFC):


The AFC section of World Cup qualifying comprises 46 teams, with initial stages of qualification featuring the 12 lowest ranked nations. Guam, Macau, Mongolia, Timor-Leste, Bangladesh and Cambodia progressed. 

The six winners then joined the remaining 34 Asian nations, forming eight groups of five teams. These groups had dual significance, as they also formed the qualifiers for the 2023 Asian Cup finals, hence why hosts Qatar were also in attendance. 

The seven group winners (Qatar were the eighth) and the five best group runners-up progressed to round three.

For round three, the 12 nations were drawn into two groups of six teams. Group winners and runners-up ultimately qualifying for the World Cup. The teams competing are as follows:

  • Group A: Iran, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon
  • Group B: Japan, Australia, Saudi Arabia, China, Oman, Vietnam

The teams finishing third in round three played a two-legged playoff, with the winners advancing to an inter-confederation playoff.

Oceania (OFC):


11 FIFA-affiliated nations take part, with teams in round one split into two groups based on their FIFA rankings. The top two nations in each group progress.

In round two, the four teams play home and away semi-finals and a final for the right to go through to the intercontinental playoff.

The four teams from the four confederations (AFC, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, and OFC) are to be drawn into two ties for the decisive playoffs. 

What is the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar format?

2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ will feature 32 teams, competing in eight groups of four.

Four games will be played on a daily basis during the group stages, which run over 12 days with the winners and runners-up progressing to the Round of 16.

Matches will only be assigned to particular venues after the finals draw. This is to select optimal kick off times for audiences across the globe to maximise viewership. 

The finals draw will take place in April 2022, after the March international fixtures.

Key dates for 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ can be found below:

  • Group stage: November 21 - December 2
  • Round of 16: December 3-6
  • Quarter-finals: December 9/10
  • Semi-finals: December 13/14
  • Final: December 18

What time will the matches take place?

The first two rounds of matches will kick off at 1pm, 4pm, 7pm and 10pm Mecca. Kick-off times in the final round of group games and knock-out round matches will be at 6pm and 10pm Mecca.

The final is scheduled to kick off at 6pm Mecca.

What are the confirmed venues?

  • Al Bayt Stadium
  • Khalifa International Stadium
  • Al Thumama Stadium
  • Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium
  • Lusail Stadium
  • Ras Abu Aboud Stadium
  • Education City Stadium
  • Al Janoub Stadium.