The final play-off draw for the 2022 World Cup has taken place, with four teams to compete for two places in Qatar.

On Friday, following the draw for the European play-offs – in which Italy and Portugal were drawn in the same path – FIFA also completed the draw for the inter-confederation games.

These matches will take place in Qatar in June 2022.

One team from each of the federations of Asia (AFC), South America (CONMEBOL), the Caribbean, North and Central America (CONCACAF) and Oceania (OFC) will compete in the single-leg fixtures to settle the final two places in the 32-team tournament.

The AFC side, which will be the winner of the fourth-round play-off in the Asian zone, were drawn against the CONMEBOL team, which will be the fifth-ranked side in the South American qualifying standings - that spot is currently occupied by Peru, with four matchdays remaining.

In the other match, the winner of the OFC qualifiers will take on the fourth-placed team from the final round of CONCACAF qualifiers. 

The 2022 World Cup gets underway in exactly one year's time.

The tournament has courted controversy ever since its hosting rights were awarded, but it promises to be quite the spectacle in a part of the world that has never hosted it before.

Here is everything you need to know about the finals...

Where is the World Cup being held?

The 2022 World Cup takes place in Qatar. It is the first time the tournament will be held in the Middle East

The finals will be staged in five cities: Al Wakrah, Al Khor, Al Rayyan, Lusail, and the capital, Doha.

Qatar is the smallest country ever to host the World Cup. With a surface area of 11,500 square kilometres, it is the 158th largest country in the world and can be traversed in roughly two hours.

A peninsula nation whose economy is powered by oil and natural gas, Qatar has been constructing what FIFA describes as "some of the most eco-friendly and architecturally advanced sporting facilities ever seen" ahead of the tournament.

When does the tournament take place?

The 2022 World Cup will be held from November 21 until December 18, with 64 matches played. The time frame has been slightly condensed because of the impact a winter World Cup will have on many of the world's domestic seasons.

The opening match takes place at Al Bayt Stadium on November 21, with the group stage finishing on December 2. The round of 16 begins the following day.

The quarter-finals will be held on December 9 and 10, with the semi-finals on December 13 (at Lusail Stadium) and December 14 (at Al Bayt Stadium).

The third-place play-off is on December 17 at Khalifa International Stadium, with the final on December 18 at Lusail Stadium.

 

What are the venues?

The tournament is being held across five city regions: Al Wakrah, Al Khor and Lusail contain one stadium each, with two in Al Rayyan and a further three in Doha.

The venues and their capacities are:

Al Rayyan
Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium: 44,000

Education City Stadium: 45,350

Al Khor
Al Bayt Stadium: 60,000

Al Wakrah
Al Janoub Stadium: 40,000

Doha
Al Thumama Stadium: 40,000

Ras Abu Aboud Stadium: 40,000

Khalifa International Stadium: 40,000

Lusail
Lusail Iconic Stadium: 80,000

 

 

Which teams have qualified?

At the moment, the following teams have qualified for the finals:

Qatar (automatically qualified as host nation)

Denmark

Germany

Brazil

France

Belgium

Croatia

Spain

Serbia

England

Switzerland

Netherlands

Argentina

 

Why is it controversial?

The bidding process for the hosting rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups has been beset by allegations of corruption.

Although a FIFA investigation cleared Qatar of wrongdoing, Swiss federal prosecutors opened criminal proceedings into the awarding of the two tournaments as part of a wider probe into alleged criminal activity concerning some former FIFA executives.

Concerns have also been raised about the treatment of migrant workers used in the massive construction projects for the tournament. Amnesty International said labourers in Qatar were subject to abuse, inhuman working conditions and little pay, describing "a playground for unscrupulous employers" in September 2019.

In response, Qatari authorities changed their employment law after entering a partnership with the UN's International Labour Organisation (ILO) aimed at reforming their labour policies. The introduction of a new minimum wage and a commitment to end the 'kafala' system, which made it impossible for workers to change jobs without their employer's permission, were welcomed by the ILO and Amnesty International.

The decision to stage the World Cup during the Northern Hemisphere's winter was taken due to the extreme heat common in summer in Qatar. However, moving the tournament to November and December, when the European club season is at its busiest, will create a knock-on effect for 2022-23.

The Premier League, for example, plans to take a seven-week break between November 13 and December 26 to accommodate the World Cup, while the Champions League final is set to be pushed back into June. There are concerns about the physical toll the prolonged season will have on players; Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow described it as a "crazy idea".

Australia were forced to settle for a point in their World Cup qualifier against China after a 1-1 draw in the UAE.

After winning 11 games in a row, including a 3-0 victory against China in the reverse fixture in September, the Socceroos are now winless in three – their worst such run since June 2018.

Australia led in this match, though, following a quiet start, as Martin Boyle's cross was headed in emphatically by Mitch Duke seven minutes before the break.

Despite creating little for the first hour, China were level on 70 minutes when James Jeggo was adjudged by a VAR review to have handled in the penalty area, allowing Wu Lei to send Mat Ryan the wrong way from the spot.

Both sides pushed for a winner in the closing stages, but neither came particularly close to getting it, forced instead to make do with a point apiece.

The draw sees Australia move on to 11 points in Group B in the third round of AFC World Cup qualifying, five behind leaders Saudi Arabia, while China have five points.

Australia's perfect record in World Cup 2022 qualifying was ended in a 2-1 defeat to Japan on Tuesday.

The Socceroos had won all 11 games on the road to Qatar – setting a record in the process – and each of their last 12 games stretching back into the last campaign.

But Ao Tanaka's early strike in Saitama and a late own goal from Aziz Behich, either side of Ajdin Hrustic's leveller, inflicted a first competitive defeat on Australia since January 2019.

Graham Arnold's side could now see top spot in Group B relinquished to Saudi Arabia, who play later on Thursday. Only the top two sides will qualify automatically for the World Cup.

Japan entered the game unbeaten in seven meetings with Australia and they were ahead inside eight minutes when Tanaka drilled a low shot into the bottom-left corner.

Australia went close to equalising before half-time as Adam Taggart's shot was tipped onto the upright and Aaron Mooy's effort was blocked in front of goal from the follow-up.

The visitors then had a penalty overturned as the officials felt Hidemasa Morita's challenge on Hrustic was outside the box, but the fouled player still made Japan pay as his powerful free-kick crashed in off the underside off the crossbar.

But it was Japan who snatched a winner with five minutes remaining.

Mat Ryan could only parry substitute Takuma Asano's deflected shot into the air and Behich, in an attempt to clear the ball from under the crossbar, turned it into his own net.

Martin Boyle stooped to conquer as Australia racked up a record 11th successive win in their World Cup qualifying campaign, battling to a 3-1 victory over Oman.

The Hibernian forward got down to head in the crucial second goal for the Socceroos at the Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar, and he has now been directly involved in eight goals in his last eight internationals, scoring five times and providing three assists.

Australia snatched a ninth-minute lead when Awer Bul Mabil lashed home a left-footed strike.

Graham Arnold's side were then indebted to goalkeeper Mat Ryan who kept them ahead with two fine saves, but he was beaten in the 28th minute as Al Mandhar Al Alawi pulled Oman level, sidestepping Harry Souttar and thrashing a shot high into the right corner.

Australia regained the lead in the 49th minute when Adam Taggart's shot was only parried as far as Boyle, who was deadly from close range.

The hard-earned success was sealed when Mitchell Duke side-footed into the left corner late on.

It means Australia have three wins from three in the third round of Asian World Cup qualifying, having won eight from eight in the second round, the stage at which they began their campaign.

They become the first team to have won 11 games in a single World Cup qualifying campaign.

Australia have won 12 consecutive qualifiers in all, including the 3-1 play-off win over Honduras that took them to the 2018 World Cup.

Nuno Espirito Santo revealed Son Heung-min is a doubt for Saturday's clash with Crystal Palace after returning injured from international duty.

The 29-year-old returned early from South Korea, missing their World Cup qualifier with Lebanon due to a calf problem suffered against Iraq.

And Nuno confirmed that Son, who has scored the most winning goals in the Premier League since the start of last term (8), may not feature at Selhurst Park.

"Like some of our players, he came back with some issues," said Nuno, who was named the Premier League's Manager of the Month for August on Friday.

"Sonny is not so well, but let's wait for the club to make the proper announcement and explain to you better what kind of injury he has."

Asked for further clarification, Nuno responded: "I don't know. Let's wait and see. The doctors will make the proper diagnostics."

The potential loss of Son will place further impetus on Harry Kane, who has been involved in 12 goals in 14 Premier League games against Palace (7 goals, 5 assists).

Indeed, only Thierry Henry (43) has scored more goals in London derbies than Kane (38) but Spurs will also be without Cristian Romero, Giovani Lo Celso and Davinson Sanchez as they look to maintain their perfect top-flight start.

When questioned on the whereabouts of his South American trio, Nuno explained: "I can tell you that they are in Croatia. That's what we decided to do to try to avoid more problems. 

"So the solution was to try to get them in a country where after that they can join the group. Now they are working with the sports science, a physio, in Croatia."

Rhyan Grant scored his first international goal as Australia sealed a 10th consecutive World Cup qualifying win with a 1-0 victory over Vietnam.

The defender nodded home in the 43rd minute after Ajdin Hrustic's searching cross picked him out at the back post.

It maintained the Socceroos' perfect qualifying record on the road to Qatar 2022.

Grant was an unlikely match-winner, opening his account on the occasion of his 14th cap with what proved to be the visitors' only shot on target at an empty My Dinh Stadium.

Despite appearing a little shot-shy on this outing, Graham Arnold's men have scored 32 goals in their winning streak, while Tuesday's clean sheet means they have conceded only twice.

Arnold's men resume their qualifying campaign with games against Oman and Japan next month.

Australia made it nine World Cup qualifying wins in a row on the road to Qatar 2022 with a straightforward 3-0 triumph over China at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha. 

The Socceroos finished top of their group in the previous round and made a winning start to the third qualifying stage thanks to goals from Awer Mabil, Martin Boyle and substitute Mitchell Duke. 

China had won their previous four qualifiers and managed to restrict their opponents to minimal opportunities in the opening quarter of the contest on neutral territory. 

But Mabil acrobatically volleyed home to give Australia the breakthrough – the goal allowed to stand despite a high boot from the winger – and Boyle fired in a second from the edge of the box less than two minutes later. 

Graham Arnold's side had a penalty shout for handball turned down, but they had a third goal that their dominance deserved with 70 minutes on the clock. 

Duke was on hand to tap home after Mabil was denied from one of his five shots on target – the joint-most of any player in a game in the 2022 Asian World Cup qualifiers – as he scored just 59 seconds after being introduced off the bench. 

That was the fastest any substitute has scored in the Asian qualifiers since Tana Chanabut for Thailand after 36 seconds against the United Arab Emirates in October 2016.

Australia sealed a perfect passage through to the 2022 World Cup third qualifying round thanks to Harry Souttar's header in Wednesday's 1-0 win over Jordan in Kuwait.

The Socceroos were already guaranteed top spot in Group B and made it eight wins from eight in qualifying for the first time ever with their three points at the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium.

Souttar's goal – the Stoke City defender's sixth in five internationals – ended Jordan's hopes of qualifying and that frustration told as Mousa Suleiman was shown a late red card.

Jordan had lost only one of their previous seven internationals but struggled to create any meaningful opportunities, which was also true of their opponents for large parts.

Trent Sainsbury sent an unmarked header just past the post and James Holland's strike soon after hit the upright as Australia's superiority slowly started to show.

And that pressure paid off as Souttar met Martin Boyle's inswinging corner to put his side on course for their first ever back-to-back victories against Jordan.

Tempers then flared in the 87th minute following Ehsan Manel Haddad's challenge on Aziz Behich, culminating in Suleiman being sent off for clashing heads with the Australia wing-back.

Christian Eriksen remains in a stable condition in hospital pending further examinations, the Danish Football Union (DBU) said in an update to the midfielder's condition on Sunday.

The football world has rallied around Eriksen after he collapsed on the pitch during Denmark's Euro 2020 game with Finland on Saturday.

Eriksen fell to the ground with no other player around him during the first half in Copenhagen.

Team-mates and referee Anthony Taylor called for immediate help from medical staff, with the players forming a protective barrier around Eriksen while efforts were made to resuscitate him.

He was subsequently transferred to hospital, with UEFA saying Eriksen had been "stabilised". The DBU added that he was "awake" and set for "further examinations".

Following a lengthy suspension, the match was resumed and Finland went on to win 1-0.

A DBU statement read: "This morning we have spoken to Christian Eriksen, who has sent his greetings to his team-mates. His condition is stable, and he continues to be hospitalised for further examination.

"The team and the staff of the national team has received crisis assistance and will continue to be there for each other following yesterday's incident.

"We would like to thank everyone for the heartfelt greetings to Christian Eriksen from fans, players, the Royal Families from both Denmark and England, international associations, clubs etc.

"We encourage everyone to send their greetings to the Danish FA, where we will make sure they are all passed on to Christian and his family."

One of his Inter team-mates, Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku, showed his support for Eriksen after netting the opening goal in his country's 3-0 victory over Russia.

The striker shouted "I love you Chris" into a television camera having put the Red Devils in front.

And, following his decisive penalty in South Korea's 2-1 victory over Lebanon on Sunday, former Tottenham team-mate Son Heung-min ran to the camera and said "Chris, stay strong, I love you."

Denmark face Belgium in their next Euro 2020 game on Thursday.

Australia made sure of their place in the third stage of Asia's 2022 World Cup qualifying format with a routine 3-0 victory over 10-man Nepal.

After resounding wins over hosts Kuwait and Chinese Taipai, boss Graham Arnold again rung the changes at Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium but it made little difference to the outcome.

Mathew Leckie, captain for the night, gave the Socceroos an early advantage and Fran Karacic's maiden international goal had doubled the lead by the time Rohit Chand was sent off for a professional foul on Martin Boyle before half-time.

Boyle completed the scoring, with a seventh consecutive win to wrap up top spot in Group B long beyond doubt before then.

It took Leckie only six minutes to find the breakthrough, meeting left-back Aziz Behich's cross with a powerful header.

Karacic enjoyed a moment to savour in the 38th minute after Leckie skipped past a desperate lunge from Suman Aryal and picked out the Brescia right-back to slot home.

Leckie was involved again shortly afterwards as Nepal's evening took another sour turn, releasing Boyle to be unceremoniously brought down by Chand, who gave the referee little option.

Boyle looked set to experience personal disappointment when he botched a free header early in the second half before slicing into the side netting. But a sublime curling cross from Hibernian team-mate Jackson Irvine in the 57th minute allowed the 28-year-old to tap in from close range.

Mitch Duke scored twice as Australia closed in on a place in the third stage of World Cup qualifying with a 5-1 hammering of Chinese Taipei on Monday.

The Socceroos made it six wins out of six and within one victory of a guaranteed spot in the third phase of Asian qualifying at Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium in Kuwait, outclassing the team propping up Group B without a point to their name.

Harry Souttar and Jamie Maclaren each scored their fifth goals of the qualifying campaign and Trent Sainsbury added a third in the first half, with Duke claiming a second-half double either side of Gao Wei-Jie's surprise goal for Chinese Taipei.

Head coach Graham Arnold called on Australia to be more clinical after a 3-0 win over Kuwait and gave a completely different side the opportunity to capitalise on Chinese Taipei's defensive frailties.

Souttar opened the scoring by heading home Riley McGree's corner 11 minutes in and A-League Golden Boot winner Maclaren got in on the act from the penalty spot after he was upended by Chen Wei-chuan.

Sainsbury got on the end of another McGree corner to head in a third Australia goal late in a first half which also saw Brandon Borrello rattle the post from close range.

Borrello provided the cross for Duke to nod home 20 seconds into the second half before Gao scored only Chinese Taipei's third goal from seven group games with a clinical finish.

Duke had the final say, tucking into an empty net after being set up by Nikita Rukavytsya six minutes from time.

Australia moved five points clear at the top of their World Cup qualifying group with a 3-0 victory over Kuwait.

Matthew Leckie scored his third goal in three Socceroos appearances to put them ahead after just a minute had been played, the striker nodding home Martin Boyle's cross.

Boyle had the chance to double the lead after Bandar Al Salama brought down James Holland in the box, and although his penalty was saved, Jackson Irvine was on hand to convert the rebound.

Boyle sent a shot narrowly wide and Aziz Behich fizzed an effort inches past the right-hand post as Australia ended the half with 15 shots to Kuwait's three.

Mat Ryan had to be alert to keep out Shabaib Al-Khaldi's strike at the near post just past the hour mark, but Australia made the three points safe four minutes later, Ajdin Hrustic's free-kick bamboozling goalkeeper Sulaiman Abdulghafoor and going in off the right-hand post.

Hrustic's first goal for his country – the first direct free-kick scored by a Socceroo since Mile Jedinak in November 2017 – took Graham Arnold's side to 19 goals scored in their past five matches.

Arnold was able to offer game time to three debutants, with Fran Karacic starting at right-back and both Kenneth Dougall and Riley McGree coming off the bench in the second half, while Chris Ikonomidis made his first appearance since recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

Australia sit five points ahead of Kuwait and Jordan in Group B, having won all five of their opening matches.

Australia have named seven new faces in their 31-man squad for four World Cup qualifiers in June, but there is no place for established stars Aaron Mooy and Tom Rogic.

Overseas-based players Riley McGree, Fran Karacic, Kenneth Dougall and Lawrence Thomas are joined by uncapped A-League trio Denis Genreau, Connor Metcalfe and Ruon Tongyik for the matches against Kuwait, Chinese Taipei, Nepal, and Jordan.

The Socceroos, who have not played since a 1-0 away win over Jordan in November 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic, are top of their qualifying group with maximum points after four games.

The absence of Mooy and Rogic raised eyebrows, with head coach Graham Arnold explaining that challenges posed by the pandemic and personal circumstances had led to some players being left out.  

"We've selected a balanced squad that combines youth and experience, but also one that rewards players for their outstanding performances at their clubs over the past six to 12 months," Arnold told the Socceroos' official website.

"I have said many times that I believe the strength of the Socceroos is through its young players. Along with my staff, I can't wait to work with the many fresh faces in this squad as we continue to build the depth of the national team.

"Equally so, we are excited to work with the experienced and senior players we will have with us, as together we strive to advance to the next round of qualifying with eight wins on our record.

"Our extended 31-player squad will provide us with the flexibility and adaptability we will need given we will play four matches in 12 days, and the acclimatisation and preparation period that half of our squad will have here in the UAE will be crucial ahead of the first two games in Kuwait.

"It is no secret that we had originally targeted to name this squad last week. However, some challenges with COVID, as well as some injuries and personal circumstances, have meant some players were ruled out of the final reckoning.

"We have communicated at length with those players and will continue to support them individually as they strive to return to the Socceroos later in the year."

 

Australia squad in full:

Andrew Redmayne (Sydney FC), Mathew Ryan (Arsenal), Danny Vukovic (unattached), Lawrence Thomas (SonderjyskE); Aziz Behich (Kayserispor), Milos Degenek (Crvena Zvezda), Curtis Good (Melbourne City), Rhyan Grant (Sydney FC), Fran Karacic (Brescia), Ryan McGowan (Sydney FC),Trent Sainsbury (Kortrijk), Brad Smith (Seattle Sounders), Harry Souttar (Stoke City), Ruon Tongyik (Central Coast Mariners); Brandon Borrello (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Martin Boyle (Hibernian), Kenneth Dougall (Blackpool), Denis Genreau (Macarthur), James Holland (LASK), Ajdin Hrustic (Eintracht Frankfurt), Chris Ikonomidis (Perth Glory), Jackson Irvine (Hibernian), Mathew Leckie (Hertha Berlin), Awer Mabil (Midtjylland), Riley McGree (Birmingham City), Connor Metcalfe (Melbourne City), Nikita Rukavytsya (Maccabi Haifa); Mitchell Duke (Western Sydney Wanderers), Apostolos Giannou (OFI), Jamie Maclaren (Melbourne City), Adam Taggart (Cerezo Osaka).

Page 1 of 2
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.