express– 2022 World Cup qualifying draw LIVE
– Draw will commence at 5pm UK time
– 55 European countries to learn their opponents for 2022 World Cup qualifying
– Only 13 countries from Europe can make it through to the finals in Qatar
Pot 2: Switzerland, Wales, Poland, Sweden, Austria, Ukraine, Serbia, Turkey, Slovakia, Romania
Pot 3: Russia, Hungary, Republic of Ireland, Czech Republic, Norway, Northern Ireland, Iceland, Scotland, Greece, Finland
Pot 4: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, Israel, Belarus, Georgia, Luxembourg
Pot 5: Armenia, Cyprus, Faroe Islands, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Lithuania, Latvia, Andorra
Pot 6: Malta, Moldova, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar, San Marino
What you need to know
4.45pm: It’s not going to be a straightforward draw – although it never really is with UEFA or FIFA.
We’ll be given a thorough run-through of the afternoon’s events before the balls get pulled out of the pot, that’s for sure.
Here it is in its most basic terms…
– Teams will be allocated to a group in alphabetical order, Group A to Group J
– Some teams have constraints due to either risk of severe winter conditions, excessive travel or UEFA Executive Committee decisions
– For example, Ukraine and Russia cannot be drawn against one another due to the UEFA Executive Committee and Norway, Finland and Lithuania cannot all go into the same group in fear of matches being cancelled due to weather
– England can theoretically draw Wales and also one of Wales, Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland – all three of whom are in Pot 3
The key dates
4.30pm: So when will the World Cup qualifiers actually take place? Good question. They’ll be crammed in between March and November 2021, so Premier League managers won’t be overly delighted.
See the full match-day schedule below…
Matchday 1: 24–25 March 2021
Matchday 2: 27–28 March 2021
Matchday 3: 30–31 March 2021
Matchday 4: 1–2 September 2021
Matchday 5: 4–5 September 2021
Matchday 6: 7–8 September 2021
Matchday 7: 8–9 October 2021
Matchday 8: 11–12 October 2021
Matchday 9: 11–13 November 2021
Matchday 10: 14–16 November 2021
Play-offs: 24, 25, 28, 29 March 2022
Ready, set, draw…
4.15pm: Afternoon all and welcome to Express Sport’s live coverage of the 2022 World Cup qualifying draw.
In an hour or so’s time, England will learn their five opponents as they bid to book their spot in Qatar in two years’ time.
Fifty-five European countries will be split into 10 groups of five or six with the winners of each group qualifying for the tournament.
The 10 group runners-up will then go into the play-offs, joined by the two best-ranked group winners of the Nations League that have not qualified directly for the Nationls League Finals.
The four countries into the Nations League Finals – Belgium, France, Italy and Spain – will all go into the smaller five-team groups.