The final five spots in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar will be decided by five different playoffs held around the world in 2022. And there will be plenty of drama in store after the draw on Nov. 26.

FIFA held the draw at its Zurich headquarters to determine the matchups that will assign the final three World Cup berths in Europe, as well as the two intercontinental playoff berths (details below). What’s certain is that one of Italy or Portugal will definitely miss out on Qatar 2022.

A total of 32 nations will participate in the 2022 FIFA World Cup that will be held in Qatar beginning in November 2022. Qatar automatically qualifies as host and the other 31 finalists will emerge from regional qualifying held around the globe.

MORE: Which teams have qualified to the 2022 World Cup?

There are 13 countries that have already booked their ticket to Qatar, and others will lock up spots during qualifying in January and February. Not including host Qatar, here’s how the 31 direct berths are split up around the world: 

  • Africa (CAF): 5
  • Asia (AFC): 4 (plus 1 playoff qualifier)
  • Europe (UEFA): 13 (including 3 playoff winners)
  • North/Central America & Caribbean (CONCACAF): 3 (plus 1 playoff qualifier)
  • Oceania (OFC): 1 playoff qualifier
  • South America (CONMEBOL): 4 (plus 1 playoff qualifier)

The four playoff qualifiers noted above from the Asia, South America, North America and Oceania continents were drawn in two separate “intercontinental” playoff knockout matches that will be played in a neutral venue with a ticket to Qatar on the line.

Europe has its own playoffs involving 12 countries. They were drawn into three “final four” brackets. The survivor of each bracket will head to Qatar.

MORE: Could Cristiano Ronaldo miss out on the World Cup?

World Cup European Playoffs (3 berths)

The draw split the 12 European playoff teams (10 group runners-up and two Nations League group winners) into three different brackets.

The six best teams based on qualifying points total (minus points earned against last-placed teams for those nations that played in six-team groups) were allocated to Pot 1, and the remaining six nations went into Pot 2.

Pot 1 (seeded teams): Italy, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, Sweden, Wales

Pot 2 (unseeded teams):  Austria, Czech Republic, North Macedonia, Poland, Turkey, Ukraine

The teams in Pot 1 will host the knockout semifinal in their respective bracket (or “path”, as FIFA calls it). The host of the final was determined by a draw.

Home teams listed first

Bracket (Path) A – 1 World Cup berth

DateMatchTime (ET)TV channelsStream
Thurs, March 24Semi #1: Scotland vs. Ukraine 2:45 p.m.TBDTBD
Thurs, March 24Semi #2: Wales vs. Austria2:45 p.m.TBDTBD
Tues, March 29Final (Wales vs. Austria winner will host)2:45 p.m.TBDTBD

Bracket (Path) B – 1 World Cup berth

DateMatchTime (ET)TV channelsStream
Thurs, March 24Semi #1: Russia vs. Poland12 p.m.TBDTBD
Thurs, March 24Semi #2: Sweden vs. Czech Republic2:45 p.m.TBDTBD
Tues, March 29Final (Russia vs. Poland winner will host)2:45 p.m.TBDTBD

Bracket (Path) C – 1 World Cup berth

DateMatchTime (ET)TV channelsStream
Thurs, March 24Semi #1: Italy vs. North Macedonia2:45 p.m.TBDTBD
Thurs, March 24Semi #2: Portugal vs. Turkey2:45 p.m.TBDTBD
Tues, March 29Final (Portugal vs. Turkey winner will host)2:45 p.m.TBDTBD


World Cup Intercontinental Playoffs (2 berths)

There are four national teams that will advance to the FIFA intercontinental playoffs

The Nov. 26 draw determined which continents will face off in each knockout match in June 2022 to complete the field of 32 World Cup teams. In the past, these were held over two legs, but due to schedule congestion caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, they will be single-game knockout playoffs at a neutral venue.

DateMatchTime (ET)TV channelsStream
Mon/Tues, June 13/14Asia vs. South America TBDTBD
Mon/Tues, June 13/14North America vs. Oceania TBDTBD


When does the FIFA World Cup start?

  • Inaugural matches: Monday, Nov. 21, 2022
  • World Cup final: Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022

The 2022 FIFA World Cup will kick off on a Monday with four matches in Qatar.

The World Cup final will still be held on a Sunday, as per tradition. The trophy will be hoisted by the winner on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022.

Which teams have qualified for the World Cup?

A total of 13 teams have officially qualified for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including the host nation. That leaves 19 spots to be filled in the upcoming months.

In addition to host nation Qatar, there have been 10 nations from Europe to qualify for the tournament (the 10 qualifying group winners). Brazil was the first to earn a berth from South America with five qualifying matches left, and it was later joined by Argentina.

No.NationRegionHow qualified
2TBDAsia1st – Asia Grp A
3TBDAsia2nd – Asia Grp A
4TBDAsia1st – Asia Grp B
5TBDAsia2nd – Asia Grp B
6TBDAfricaWinner – Africa Series 1
7TBDAfricaWinner – Africa Series 2
8TBDAfricaWinner – Africa Series 3
9TBDAfricaWinner – Africa Series 4
10TBDAfricaWinner – Africa Series 5
11TBDN. America1st – CONCACAF
12TBDN. America2nd – CONCACAF
13TBDN. America3rd – CONCACAF
14Brazil S. AmericaTop 4 – South America
15ArgentinaS AmericaTop 4 – South America
16TBDS. AmericaTop 4 – South America
17TBDS. AmericaTop 4 – South America
18Serbia Europe1st – Europe Group A
19SpainEurope1st – Europe Group B
20SwitzerlandEurope1st – Europe Group C
21FranceEurope1st – Europe Group D
22BelgiumEurope1st – Europe Group E
23DenmarkEurope1st – Europe Group F
24NetherlandsEurope1st – Europe Group G
25CroatiaEurope1st – Europe Group H
26EnglandEurope1st – Europe Group I
27GermanyEurope1st – Europe Group J
28TBDEuropeEurope Playoff Bracket #1
Austria, Scotland, Ukraine or Wales
29TBDEuropeEurope Playoff Bracket #2
Czech Rep., Poland, Russia or Sweden
30TBDEuropeEurope Playoff Bracket #3
Italy, N. Macedonia, Portugal or Turkey
31TBDTBDIntercontinental Playoff #1
Asia or South America
32TBDTBDIntercontinental Playoff #2
North America or Oceania