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Canada’s World Cup drought will quickly be over. Who else is on the verge of qualifying?


Fifteen groups have already booked their spot on the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.  

Forty-eight nations are nonetheless within the combine to hitch them, however solely 17 berths stay, and all however three might be settled in qualifying video games that can happen around the globe within the subsequent week and a half.

Right here’s a have a look at the qualifying image in every geographical area.

North America

Canada’s 36-year World Cup drought will quickly be over.

With three video games remaining, Canada tops the desk within the closing spherical of CONCACAF qualifying with a 7-0-4 file, and enjoys an eight-point benefit over fourth-place Panama. The USA and Mexico are tied for second place, 4 factors behind Canada. Costa Rica is fifth, trailing Panama by a single level. The highest three within the eight-team group robotically qualify for Qatar. The fourth-place group will get the possibility to qualify by way of the intercontinental playoffs (extra on that later).

The Canadians play away to Costa Rica (March 24) and Panama (March 30), and host Jamaica (March 27) in Toronto.

A win in opposition to Costa Rica would clinch a World Cup berth for Canada and ship it again to the match for the primary time since 1986 in Mexico, Canada’s solely earlier World Cup look. Even when Canada does not win in Costa Rica, it may nonetheless clinch on Thursday if different outcomes go its means, most notably a Panama loss.

Barring an unprecedented collapse, Canada will qualify for the World Cup. It is only a matter of when it’s going to occur throughout this worldwide window, though coach John Herdman and the gamers insist nothing has been achieved.  

“It is robust as a result of there’s a lot you hear, a lot from the surface. Even my circle of relatives members: ‘Oh my God, you are nearly there.’ It is robust to disregard,” stated Toronto FC midfielder Jonathan Osorio.  

“However on the similar time, I attempt to hold my toes on the bottom. It nonetheless hasn’t occurred but. We now have to make it occur.”

The USA and Mexico look to be stable bets to safe the opposite two computerized berths on supply in CONCACAF. Nonetheless, they face one another Thursday in Mexico Metropolis, and a loss by both aspect may probably open the door for Panama and Costa Rica to qualify of their place.

Europe

The next 10 nations received their group within the first spherical of the UEFA qualifiers to e book their spot in Qatar: Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Netherlands, Serbia, Spain and Switzerland.

That leaves the ten second-place finishers and the 2 best-performing Nations League sides (Austria and Czech Republic) to duke it out over three World Cup berths within the second spherical.

The 12 nations have been divided into three pathways, with the 4 groups in every bracket taking part in a one-legged mini-tournament. The winner of every bracket qualifies for the World Cup.

Path C is essentially the most intriguing, as both Italy or Portugal is not going to qualify for Qatar. Recent off profitable Euro 2020, the Italians completed second of their group behind the Swiss, whereas a late objective by Serbia sunk Portugal on the ultimate matchday of the primary spherical, forcing Cristiano Ronaldo and his cohorts into this additional sequence of video games.

Italy hosts North Macedonia on Thursday, whereas Turkey visits Portugal on the identical day. The 2 winners will meet on March 29 to resolve who strikes on to the World Cup.

The Italians face the very risk of lacking their second consecutive World Cup, having beforehand certified for each match since 1958. Portugal has performed in each World Cup since 2002, however like Italy, they’re additionally in peril of lacking out.

Path A sees Wales host Austria this week, whereas the Scotland vs. Ukraine match has been postponed till June as a result of Russia-Ukraine warfare.

In Path B, Russia was alleged to host Poland this week. However the Russia group was suspended from worldwide competitors by FIFA after Poland, Sweden and Czech Republic all refused to face them as a result of battle with Ukraine. Poland acquired a bye into the finals of this part. Sweden hosts the Czech Republic on Thursday, with the winner assembly Poland subsequent week.

South America

Each Brazil (39 factors) and Argentina (35) have already punched their tickets for Qatar, however there may be nonetheless a lot to play for within the CONMEBOL area. Two extra computerized berths are up for grabs, with the fifth-place finisher incomes a spot within the intercontinental playoffs.

Ecuador (25), Uruguay, (22) and Peru (21) have the within observe on claiming the 2 computerized berths and the playoff spot. Venezuela (10) and Paraguay (13) have already been eradicated from competition, whereas Bolivia (15) can qualify for the World Cup solely by way of the intercontinental playoffs.

Colombia reached the knockout phases of the previous two World Cups, however is in peril of not qualifying for Qatar. The Colombians (17) sit seventh within the desk, 5 factors off computerized qualification, and 4 factors away from the playoff. Each of their remaining video games – residence to Bolivia and away to Venezuela – are winnable. But when Peru defeats Paraguay at residence within the closing spherical, the Colombians will sit out this World Cup.

Chile (19) is in the same scenario, because it must overtake Peru and Uruguay to journey to Qatar. However their closing two video games current stiff challenges, as they may host first-place Brazil after which play on the street vs. Uruguay.

Asia

Qatar qualifies robotically as hosts, whereas Iran and South Korea have booked their spots on the World Cup by ending as the highest two groups in Group A of the third spherical of the Asian qualifiers.

Each computerized berths in Group B are nonetheless out there, with Saudi Arabia (19 factors), Japan (18) and Australia (15) within the combine.

Australia’s solely sensible likelihood at computerized qualification is by beating Japan at residence on March 24 and Saudi Arabia in Jeddah on March 29, however even that may not be sufficient. Japan’s different recreation is in opposition to Vietnam, and assuming the Japanese win, they’ll be tied on factors with Australia, which implies the ultimate berth in Group B could be selected objective distinction.

Even when Australia doesn’t end within the prime two, it may nonetheless qualify by way of the intercontinental playoffs. The 2 third-place groups within the Asian area will meet in a single knockout recreation on June 7 with the winner advancing to the intercontinental playoffs in opposition to the fifth-place group from South America.

Africa

All 5 berths from the African area might be determined from March 25-29 when the ten group winners from the second stage face off within the closing spherical.

The 5 matchups: Egypt vs. Senegal, Cameroon vs. Algeria, Ghana vs. Nigeria, Mali vs. Tunisia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo vs. Morocco. The nations will face off in a home-and-home sequence, with the winner of every clinching a World Cup berth.

Probably the most intriguing matchup must be Egypt vs. Senegal, which is a rematch of final month’s African Cup of Nations closing. The Senegalese outlasted their Egyptian counterparts in a penalty shootout to win the match for the primary time of their historical past.

Ghana and Nigeria are the 2 most populous nations in west Africa, and their rivalry is without doubt one of the fiercest in African soccer. It’s been a decade since their earlier assembly, however earlier than that, they collided in three consecutive African Cup of Nations tournaments, with Ghana getting the higher of Nigeria twice within the knockout rounds.

Oceania

New Zealand has certified for the semifinals of this area’s qualifying marketing campaign, and might be joined by three different groups by the tip of Thursday.

The semifinals and closing are scheduled from March 27-30, with the final group standing advancing to the intercontinental playoffs. Because the perennial Oceania heavyweight, New Zealand is anticipated to win the area.

Intercontinental Playoffs

The ultimate two World Cup berths might be determined in mid-June, when FIFA phases the intercontinental playoffs in Qatar.

The Asian qualifier faces the fifth-place nation from South America and the Oceania winner meets the fourth-place aspect from CONCACAF in single elimination matches. The winner of each video games will clinch World Cup berths.


 

Concerning the creator: John Molinaro is without doubt one of the main soccer journalists in Canada, having lined the sport for over 20 years for a number of media shops, together with Sportsnet, CBC Sports activities and Solar Media. He’s presently the editor-in-chief of TFC Republic, a web site devoted to in-depth protection of Toronto FC and Canadian soccer. TFC Republic could be discovered right here.



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