England, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales have discovered their UEFA qualifying groups for 2022 FIFA World Cup.
England have been drawn with Robert Lewandowski’s Poland and will also face Hungary, Albania, Andorra and San Marino, of which they are yet to taste defeat against the latter three countries in all competitions.
Steve Clarke’s Scotland should be confident of their chances at qualifying for a first World Cup since 1998 after finding themselves in Group F, containing; Denmark, Austria, Israel, Faroe Islands and Moldova.
For the Tartan Army though, this represents the fourth consecutive UEFA draw in which they have been paired with Israel in a group together, after being put together in both editions of Nations League then the Euro 2020 Qualifying play-offs draw.
Wales face a rematch of their 2016 UEFA Euro Quarter-Final after finding themselves in a five country Group E with Belgium, as both teams will also face Czech Republic, Belarus and Lithuania in their bids to reach the World Cup Finals in November-December 2022.
Ryan Giggs’ side however boasts a poor record of one win in seven previous World Cup qualifiers against Belgium, making the qualifying play-off spot via runner-up spot in the group looking their best hope of progressing from Group E in some form.
Northern Ireland will be seeking to advance to a first World Cup Finals appearance since 1986 but have landed in Group C, which contains Italy, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Lithuania of which the top two countries will be favourites to progress.
Republic of Ireland meanwhile will face a difficult test against Portugal in Group A as they look likely to battle Serbia, Luxembourg and Azerbaijan for a Qualifying Play-Off spot instead, with Portugal favourites to automatically progress as group winners to the Finals.
Other highlights include reigning champions, France finding themselves in Group D where they will battle Ukraine, Finland, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Kazakhstan for a chance to defend their title at the finals in Qatar.
2018 runners-up, Croatia will be in Group H where they must take on Slovakia, Russia, Slovenia, Cyprus and Malta in their bid to reach a sixth World Cup Finals in last seven editions.
Euro 2020 finalists, Spain and Sweden who are in Group E of that competition have found themselves drawn together in Group B alongside Greece, Georgia and Kosovo.
UEFA Qualifying for the World Cup will commence on 24 March and conclude on 16 November 2021, with play-off semi-finals held on 24-25 March 2022, of which the last three finalists will be confirmed across 28-29 March 2022
As a result of Euro 2020 being postponed to June-July 2021, qualifiers in March and September 2021 will be held in triple-headers across eight days before returning to the traditional two matches per international window format in October and November next autumn.
Full UEFA Qualifying Groups for 2022 FIFA World Cup
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D||Group E|
|Republic of Ireland||Greece||Northern Ireland||Finland||Czech Republic|
|Luxembourg||Georgia||Bulgaria||Bosnia & Herzegovina||Belarus|
|Group F||Group G||Group H||Group I||Group J|