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2022 World Cup Draw: Who’s In, How It Works, When It Is

Everything you need to know about the 2022 World Cup draw, including who’s in, how it works, when it is and how to watch.

The World Cup draw, more than any other moment, marks the true start of FIFA’s quadrennial tournament. The draw is when things get real, when players and fans can start plotting their path to the final, when it really hits home that the World Cup is here. 

So, when is the World Cup draw? How does the draw work? Who’s in and who’s out? Here’s everything you need to know about the World Cup draw, including in which pot the USMNT will be placed.

Everything You Need To Know About The 2022 World Cup Draw

The first thing you’re probably wondering is when is the World Cup draw.

When Is 2022 World Cup Draw?

  • Date: Friday, April 1, 2022
  • When: 11:30 a.m. ET
  • Where: Doha, Qatar
  • TV: Telemundo, FS1

The 2022 World Cup draw will take place on Friday, April 1, 2022, in Doha, Qatar. Fans in the U.S. can watch the draw on FS1 and Telemundo starting at 11:30 a.m. ET. The actual draw will start at noon ET.

Who Is In 2022 World Cup Draw?

The World Cup draw will include 32 teams. Of those, Qatar qualified automatically as host, 28 will have qualified by the time of the draw and three more will be decided via playoffs played after the draw. 

Here’s the list of teams that have already qualified for the World Cup draw

  • Qatar
  • Germany
  • Denmark
  • Brazil
  • France
  • Belgium
  • Croatia
  • Spain
  • Serbia
  • England
  • Switzerland
  • Netherlands
  • Argentina
  • Iran
  • South Korea
  • Japan
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Ecuador
  • Uruguay
  • Canada
  • Ghana
  • Senegal
  • Portugal
  • Poland
  • Tunisia
  • Morocco
  • Cameroon
  • Mexico
  • United States

The final breakdown of World Cup teams will be as follows, where the half berths refer to teams making intercontinental playoffs (more on those below).

2022 World Cup Draw By Region

  • Asia: 4.5
  • Africa: 5
  • Concacaf: 3.5
  • South America: 4.5
  • Oceania: 0.5
  • Europe: 13

Normally, the World Cup draw is held after every team competing has been decided. In part because of delays in qualifying caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, there will still be three spots left undetermined at the time of the draw. There will be two intercontinental playoffs played on June 13 and 14 in Qatar — Asia’s fifth-place team vs. CONMEBOL’s fifth-place team Peru, plus Concacaf’s fourth-place team Costa Rica vs. Oceania’s first-place team New Zealand — to determine two of the final three berths. 

Additionally, UEFA’s World Cup qualifying playoffs will not yet have been determined because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While Russia was barred from playing in its playoff against Poland, Ukraine was allowed to postpone its playoff against Scotland until June, meaning the winner of that match will play Wales soon after that match, also in June. 

How Does The 2022 World Cup Draw Work?

The World Cup draw will work similarly to how it did in 2018, with a few minor changes. 

FIFA seeds every team based on FIFA ranking except for Qatar as host. FIFA will use the rankings released on March 31, 2022, which can be found here. The mathematically determined rankings are by no means a perfect measure of a team’s quality, but it’s what FIFA has decided to use and it’s probably better than a selection committee of humans inserting its own biases into the process.

The top seven teams in the FIFA rankings plus Qatar are placed in Pot 1, followed by the teams ranked eight to 15 in Pot 2, the nations ranked 16 to 23 in Pot 3 and finally the teams ranked 24 to 28 in Pot 4. Because the final three teams are not yet determined at the time of the draw, they will automatically be placed in Pot 4 as placeholders. 

In addition to the four pots, there will be four group positions to determine scheduling. The Pot 1 team in each group automatically takes Position 1, but the other three pots are drawn into positions 2, 3 or 4. 

The draw will start with Pot 1 followed by Pot 2, Pot 3 and finally Pot 4. Qatar is automatically placed in Group A, Position 1. When a team from Pot 2, 3 or 4 is drawn, a ball from the group position pot is also drawn. This continues until there are no teams left.

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There are a few constraints to the draw. No confederation (geographic region) can have more than one team per group except for UEFA (Europe), which must have at least one but no more than two teams per group. If a non-European team is drawn into a group that already has a team from its region, it will be placed into the next viable group; it’s the same for a European team drawn into a group that already has two UEFA teams in it. 

There will be two placeholders for which the region is not yet known, for the intercontinental playoffs. In these cases, the draw will prevent the placeholder from being placed into a group with either of the potential confederations involved. For example, if the placeholder for the playoff between Asia and South America is drawn into a group that already includes a team from either confederation, it will be placed into a different group. 

This process is not ideal. For starters, the World Cup draw usually takes place after every team has been determined. The Wales/Scotland-Ukraine UEFA playoff has three teams that would normally go in the Pot 2-3 range, but because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine the team that comes out of that playoff will be placed into Pot 4, probably unfairly. Similarly, if Peru makes it through the intercontinental playoff, it should be in Pot 3 based on its FIFA ranking of 22 but will end up in Pot 4. 

All of this could make for some incredibly varied group qualities. For more on what pot the USMNT will be in, click here.

Following Mexico and the U.S. qualifying on Wednesday, the pots will be as follows based on the current FIFA rankings. Note, these rankings will change, so there could be some variability, but we can predict how much they will change with math. For example: Because Canada lost to Panama on Wednesday, it will move down to Pot 4 while Tunisia will take its place in Pot 3. 

World Cup Draw Pots (FIFA Ranking As Of March 31)

Pot 1

Qatar (51)
Brazil (1)
Belgium (2)
France (3)
Argentina (4)
England (5)
Spain (7)
Portugal (8)

Pot 2

Mexico (9)
Netherlands (10)
Denmark (11)
Germany (12)
Uruguay (13)
Switzerland (14)
United States (15)
Croatia (16)

Pot 3

Senegal (20)
Iran (21)
Japan (23)
Morocco (24)
Serbia (25)
Poland (26)
South Korea (29)
Tunisia (35)

Pot 4

Cameroon (37)
Canada (38)
Ecuador (46)
Saudi Arabia (49)
Ghana (60)
UEFA Playoff (Ukraine, Scotland or Wales)
AFC (Australia or UAE) vs. CONMEBOL (Peru) Playoff
Concacaf (Costa Rica vs. OFC (New Zealand) Playoff

Based on these projections, you could have a group of Qatar, U.S., Poland and Ghana for a combined FIFA ranking of 152 and a group of Brazil, Netherlands, Senegal and Canada with a combined FIFA ranking of 69. 

If you want to buy tickets, click here for a guide on how to attend in person. For a World Cup schedule, click here. To find out what times the matches will kick off, click here.

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