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FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 draw | pots, groups, schedule, fixtures | USMNT rivals...

Update:
World Cup 2022 draw

World Cup Qatar 2022 draw: as it happened and reaction

World Cup 2022 confirmed draw:

- Group A: Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands

- Group B: England, Iran, USA, Ukraine/Scotland/Wales

- Group C: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland

- Group D: France, (UAE/Aus/Peru), Denmark, Tunisia

- Group E: Spain, (Costa Rica/NZ), Germany, Japan

- Group F: Belgium, Canada, Morocco, Croatia

- Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon

- Group F: Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, Korea Republic

More WC tickets to go on sale from 5 April

Following the draw and confirmation of the match schedule at the Qatar competition, another batch of tickets will go on sale via the official website next Tuesday with the sales window opening at 1200 (Doha time). Fans can now select the games they want to attend knowing the participating nations.

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Herdman insists Canada will have 'no fear' against Belgium, Croatia after World Cup draw

John Herdman insists his Canada side will have "no fear" when going up against powerhouses Belgium and Croatia at the 2022 World Cup.

Canada last appeared at the World Cup in 1986, where they lost all three games without scoring a single goal.

However, Canada have been rejuvenated by talented youngsters such as Bayern Munich's Alphonso Davies and Lille forward Jonathan David.

Under Herdman's tutelage, Canada finished top of the CONCACAF standings.

Regardless of Canada's quality, though, it will be tough sledding against nations with such storied histories.

Belgium hold the crown for most successful World Cup qualifications without winning the tournament out of any European side, making their 14th appearance, while Croatia made the final in 2018, going down 4-2 to France.

Speaking after finding out Canada's draw, Herdman insisted his side would find the line between having no fear, without being naive.

"We wanted those type of games," said Herdman, who will become the first coach to take charge of a team at both the men's and women's World Cups.

"You go into a World Cup, there are no easy matches and I think any team can beat any team on a given day. That's just tournament football.

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Brazil favourites to win Qatar World Cup

Brazil are favourites to win the 2022 World Cup according to bookmakers after the five times champions were on Friday drawn with Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon in the group stage of the showpiece event in Qatar.

William Hill installed Brazil, who rose to the top of the world rankings this week, as 5-1 favourites to win the tournament ahead of France (11-2), England (6-1), Spain (15-2) and Argentina (11-1).

BetMGM also had Brazil as (5-1) favourites followed by France and England (both 11-2).

Holders France were pooled with Denmark, Tunisia and either the United Arab Emirates, Australia or Peru, who are in a playoff series. England face Iran, the United States and the winners of the European playoff - Wales, Scotland or Ukraine.

The tournament will run from Nov. 21 to Dec 18. It will be the first World Cup in the Middle East.

Senegal-Netherlands set to open WC

FIFA have confirmed that the opening game at the 2022 World Cup will be the clash between the European heavyweights and the current champions of Africa. The original opener between host nation Qatar and Ecuador will be played later on 21 November.

The English press were pretty happy with the draw but we can only assume they don't remember 2010... England and the USMNT were drawn in the same group, and the USA topped it on goals scored as the England managed to score one goal fewer than the number of lions on their shirt. 

The group standings meant England pulled Germany in the last 16 and you don't need more than one guess to imagine how that worked out.

Qatar 2022 to cater for autistic children

To mark World Autism Awareness Day, the organizers of the 2022 World Cup have announced they will be providing sensory rooms for children to enjoy the games, with soft play items and reduced lighting.

The third pot was in Spain's favor

AS USA's Alfredo Relaño talks more about how the draw would effect Spain, and how FIFA President Giovanni Infantino has not called out Putin on the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine.

USMNT's Pulisic gets England call up

No, not like that!

Listen to Christian Pulisic explain how Mason Mount, his Chelsea teammate, got in touch once it was confirmed that the USA and England would face each other at Qatar 2022.

England vs USA: part II

There have been various takes on the group stage draw pairing the English against the Americans.

Remember too that either Scotland or Wales could also join them (although Ukraine will have something to say about that!) making up a greater British contingent to the group.

World Cup 2022 recap

Did you wake up today hoping for a quick video showing some of the key moments from yesterday's draw? Well, your dreams have been answered...

FIFA World Cup scheduling

There's a whole lot of information in this graphic and the additional links have details on tickets and stadiums. Here's what FIFA say:

"Given the compact nature of Qatar, event organisers were able to assign, for the first time ever, group stage games to a stadium and kick-off time for each matchday after the final draw, optimising the match schedule for the benefit and comfort of spectators, teams, media and the global audience.

Fans will have another chance to apply for FIFA World Cup tickets during the next random selection draw sales period, which will launch on FIFA.com/tickets on Tuesday, 5 April at 11:00 CET (12:00 Doha time)."

WORLD CUP 2022

'Spain are going to conquer the world' - Luis Enrique

Spain were placed in a World Cup group with fellow European heavyweights Germany, but Luis Enrique is remaining upbeat.

WORLD CUP 2022

France declared favourites

After the World Cup draw pitted France against Denmark, Tunisia and a playoff winner, ex-player Christian Karembeu labelled them favourites.

WORLD CUP 2022

Brazil boss Tite sees neither group of 'death nor life'

Brazil will face three sides that won their qualifying groups at the World Cup and Tite says they must raise their game.

United States to face England on 25 November

As well as deciding the groups for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Friday's draw also revealed the dates for the group stage fixtures of the competition. The United States have been drawn in the same group as European Championships finalists England in a repeat of the 2010 tournament, with that fixture to be played on 25 November. 

The identity of the US' other group stage opponents, one of Ukraine, Wales and Scotland, will be confirmed after the qualification process concludes in June. 

Van Gaal happy with Netherlands' World Cup draw

“[In 2014] we had to compete against world champions Spain, a top country from South America (Chile), and a team of fighters from Australia. We had the hardest time with that last team. So you can’t say much about it beforehand.”

"I have not been to Qatar and Senegal that often. In Qatar once with Bayern and two years ago I was on holiday in Senegal. I have never been to Ecuador. I don’t know those countries either, so I can’t really say anything about them. Fortunately, we have very good scouts, who have to analyze the opponents. So far they have done a fantastic job because we haven’t lost yet…”

Louis van Gaal, Netherlands Head Coach

No shortage of political subtext in US' World Cup group

Earlier today the United States' World Cup group opponents were drawn, with Gregg Berhalter's side set to play England, Iran and one of Ukraine, Scotland or Wales. As is pointed out by The New York TImes' Tariq Panja, Iran's inclusion in the group could lead to some tense diplomatic situations, almost echoing their game against the US in the 1998 World Cup. 

Ghanian FA promises payback for Luis Suarez

Ghana were drawn against Uruguay in Friday's World Cup 2022 Draw, setting up a rematch between the quarter-finalists of the 2010 edition. In that memorable tournament Ghana went the furthest of any African team in the continent's first World Cup on home soil, and appeared poised to make it to the semis until a Luis Suarez handball denied them the win at the very end of regulation time. 

Asamoah Gyan missed the resulant penalty for the Ghanians and they were eliminated on penalties after 120 minutes. This time Ghana will be out for revenge. 

France meet Denmark again

Opta- France have played Denmark three times in the World Cup group stage, including on two occasions when Les Bleus lifted the trophy (2-1 in 1998 and 0-0 in 2018). 

The countries will meet again this winter in Qatar. 

Cafe with the cross, Cahill with the header

Cafu's smile as he pulled out the countries in the World Cup draw was definitely one of the highlights of the event. 

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Berhalter relishing Southgate challenge

USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter is relishing the opportunity to face Gareth Southgate's England at the World Cup, with the United States boss seeing his England counterpart as a "mentor".

Speaking to BBC Sport following the draw, Berhalter explained how he and Southgate "go way back", saying they had contact following the former's appointment as USA coach in 2018.

"We think it's a good group, we know every opponent in the World Cup is difficult but with England you get an exciting match-up," Berhalter said.

Who is going to win?

Well, that's the million dollar question. I like the look of groups C and H for tasty starters. The outright winner? France. 

Early kickoff times at World Cup

Football journalist Grant Wahl is already fearful of the early starts at this year's World Cup. The first game will be a 5 am ET. We'll be needing our coffees!

Ample MLS representation at Qatar 2022

Testament to the ever growing diversification of players in MLS with 13 different countries, 6 confederations represented at the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

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WC draw reaction: Neville

Gary Neville (ex England player)

"The Ukraine/Wales/Scotland conundrum - each of those, whether it be a home nation or Ukraine at this moment in time, brings a level of real passion and emotion and feeling for different reasons," Neville told Sky Sports.

"And Iran, relations at government level between Iran, England, USA over the last 20-30 years has not always been great so there will a lot of interest in that game."

234 days to go

So, we have the curtain raiser at the forthcoming World Cup where host nation Qatar will face Ecuador at Al Bayt stadium in Al Khor with a local kick-off time of 1300.

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WC draw reaction: Shaqiri

Shaqiri (Switzerland midfield)

'It's a good draw, it's a good group, I was surprised that we have the same group like 2018 with Serbia and Brazil. Just Cameroon is the new country in our group. 'I'm really excited, I think it's a tough group, going to be tough for everybody ... I'm really looking forward to these games. I wanted a strong group and... Brazil and Serbia (are) doing well at the moment.'

England legend Lineker excited about possible Eng-Scotland-Wales meeting

The former player and now pundit took to Twitter and expressed his enthusiasm about the possibility of a Group B clash between England and Wales-Scotland.

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WC draw reaction: Hjulmand

Kasper Hjulmand (Denmark coach)

'It's not great. We would have liked to have avoided France, because I'm pretty sure they are one of the best teams in the world with the incredible talent they have,' Hjulmand told TV2. 'And then I also think that the last team - possibly Peru - is an incredibly strong team that I think will get through the qualification.'

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WC draw reaction: Southgate

Gareth Southgate (England coach)

(The U.S. and Iran)... are teams we've not played for a while and the third is an unknown but throws up a possible British derby,' Southgate told the BBC. 'In this situation all of our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine, so when that tie is played out is irrelevant really. 'For us we're (playing) on day one so it's quite clear now what our programme looks like with the end of the Premier League season and getting out here as quickly as possible.'

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WC draw reaction: Weston McKennie

Weston Mckennie (USA)

'The exciting thing is when you get to these world stages, when you get to these platforms to be able to play, you want to play against the best, you want to play against teams that are going to challenge you,' McKennie told FS1.

SOCCER

USA in Group B at the World Cup 2022, rivals, matches, schedule

USA's path to the 18 December final.....

Who said winning a World Cup was easy !

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Raheem Sterling raring to go

The Manchester City striker will be expected to be on the plane next November as the 'Three Lions' are being tipped in many quarters as serious contenders to lift the trophy on 18 December at the Lusail Stadium.

Inter-continental play-off dates

Dates have been confirmed for the UAE-Australia game with the winner set to face Peru. All games will take place in Doha in June with the AFC play-off game scheduled for 7 June and the final set to go ahead on the 13th.

AS Mexico reaction

Our colleagues from AS Mexico also focus on the individual aspect of the draw for 'El Tri' with the meetings against Poland's Lewandowski and Argentina's Messi being highlighted.

AS Argentina reaction

AS Argentina are focusing on the Leo Messi-Robert Lewandowski match-up as both star strikers will go head-to-head in the Group C clash.

Draw reaction from sister AS sites....

AS Spain: 'We've drawn the ogre from Pot 2".

There was initial concern from Spanish interests after they were drawn with Germany in Group E, those worries abated slightly with Japan and Costa Rica-N.Zealand as other participants in the group with confidence high among Spanish colleagues that both European nations will progress to the last 16.

Berhalter: 'It's a good group'

Initial reaction from the USMNT boss after today's World Cup draw in Doha.

draw

WC 2022 groups

Here's a reminder of how the final draw looks...

Now, the wait.... first up in June, we'll have the play-offs to resolve the names of the final three nations who will be at Qatar 2022. Then a further four months as domestic leagues start and speculation over squad places (as things stand, it looks like we'll be back to 23 man squads as opposed to the 26 we saw at Euro 2022). Then the final pre-tournament friendly games, the sticker books will be filled as the wall-charts go up ahead of the 21 November start.

Bring on the World Cup !

SOCCER

USA in Group B at the World Cup 2022, rivals, matches, schedule

Here's a look at the USA's group in the World Cup 2022, where the USMNT will face England, Iran and the winner of the European play-off slot, contested between Ukraine, Scotland and Wales. 

USA schedule at World Cup 2022

Get booking your days off for the USMNT's matches at Qatar 2022. 

Monday, November 21: USA vs Wales or Ukraine or Scotland

Friday, November 25: England vs USA

Tuesday, November 29: Iran vs USA

The venues and kick-off times for the matches are yet to be confirmed. 

Qatar vs Ecuador will be the 2022 World Cup opener and this game will be staged at the impressive Al Bayt stadium in Al Khor

WC 2022 draw

This is how the Qatar World Cup will shape up after today's group stage draw

Gregg Berhalter's men have been given a reasonably decent draw and the game against England will be highly interesting...Iran-USA throws back memories of the match-up back in 1998 and a big ? surrounding the final nation with Wales/Scotland and Ukraine all tricky European rivals.

And there we have it ... the eight groups have been created.... no one group jumps out as the dreaded 'group of death'... Group C with Argentina, Mexico and Poland looks interesting....

That leaves Canada who will be team F2 and will face Belgium, Morocco and the Swiss

Next nation from the bowl is Ghana and they will head to Grouo H with Portugal and Uruguay and S.Korea

Next out is Cameroon and the African side head to Group G as G4

Next out is UEFA play-off winner and could be Wales-Scotland or Ukraine ... they head to B4

Group E sees Inter-Continental play-off winner (Costa Rica-N.Zealand) as E2

Next out of Pot 4 is ... Saudi Arabia and they head to Group C with Argentina, Mexico and Poland ...they are C2

Next out is Ecuador ... we have the opening game of the competition ... Qatar-Ecuador .... they are team A2

First out from Pot 4 is the winner of the Inter-Continental play-off (UAE-Australia or Peru) they will be D2

Nearly there ... Pot 4 is the final of the quartet....

Final ball is Korea Republic and they head to Group H with Portugal & Uruguay.... they will be team H4

Group F up next and Morocco are drawn... The Lions fro the Atlas will play in F as team F3

Going to Group E is ... Japan and they join Spain and Germany...they will be team E4

Back to Group D and it's Tunisia who join France and Denmark and they will be team D4

Next nation out is ....Serbia .... they head to Group G due to regional constraints ...They will be team G2

Next we head to Group C and sees Poland drawn, they join Argentina and Mexico in a decent looking group... they will be team C4

Next out is Senegal and they head to Group A with Qatar and Netherlands.... they will be team A3

Pot 3 time ... first up will be Iran who head to Group B as they cannot join Qatar in Group A... they head to B with England and the US and will be team B2

So Group G sees Switzerland as team G3 with Uruguay off to Group H as H3

Group G will see Brazil joined by Switzerland as Uruguay are drawn and two CONMEBOL teams cannot be in the same group....

Next out is Croatia and they head to Group and will be team F4

Spain in Group E will be joined by Germany .... ouch ! The German side will be team E3

Next up is Group D... France will be joined by Denmark.... The Danes will be team D3

Next out and heading to Group C with Argentina is Mexico ... 'El Tri' will be team C3

Next side out is ..... USA and they head to Group with England...they will be team B3

Pot 2  time and first nation out is .... Netherlands.... they will head to Group A and will be team A4

Now, this is where is it gets interesting as we start to the confection of the groups....Pot 2 next up....

...which leaves CR7 and Portugal as team H1

Next out is team G and G1 will be Brazil

Team F1 will be Belgium

Heading to group E is Spain.... they will be team E1

Next out...current holders France who head to D as D1

Next out is .... Argentina and Messi and co. will head to Group C (C1)

Next out is .... England and they will be B1.

and the first name out is Qatar and they are A1

It's draw time ..... just 46 minutes into the action and we'll see the first ball out...

Pot A will be the first pot to be drawn with Qatar as hosts being allocated slot A1.

Now a quick run through the draw procedure and how the process will work explaining the four Pots of eight teams and how they are designed by the current FIFA rankings which were published yesterday.

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Deschamps delivers the WC trophy

The France head coach returns the trophy after 'Les Bleus' secured the 2018 title back in Russia with a 4-2 win over Croatia.

Jenas now fires a few questions at the WC legends ...

FIFA obviously banking on Nigeria and Algeria advancing from the CAF qualifiers by inviting Okacha and Madjer.....Ghana and Cameroon had different ideas....

Recently retired Carli Lloyd talks us through what it's like to be a World Cup winner as we're introduced to a series of World Cup legends who will also assist with the draw.

Cafu (Brazil), Lothar Matthaus (Germany), Adel Ahmed MalAllah (Qatar), Ali Daei (IR Iran), Bora Milutinovic (Serbia/Mexico), Jay-Jay Okocha (Nigeria), Rabah Madjer (Algeria) and Tim Cahill (Australia) take to the stage.

Former player and now broadcasters Carli Lloyd, Jermaine Jenas and Samantha Johnson take to the stage to guide us through the next installment of the draw.

Anohter promo vid celebrating the rich culture of Qatar as the Arab world opens it's doors to the world....

The World Cup trophy is brought to the stage by France manger Deschamps....

Now...we move towrds the draw...

Video time... a look back at some of the key played who have died since the last World Cup.... Gerd Muller, Paolo Rossi, Gordon Banks, Diego Maradona all included...

Nice touch and moving brief video-clip!

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Idris Elba and Reshmin Chowdhury

Presenters Idris Elba and Reshmin Chowdhury during the draw

The Emir of Qatar now takes to the stage... starts off with a 'no-one wants to hear a speech just before the draw'.....

Talks about the WC being the first major event post-pandemic..... 'Qatar will offer all is has to the world'.

A point scorer from Infantino wearing a burgundy tie... the colour of Qatar....Not sure if you saw the President in Doha earlier this week trying to inspire a local audience with chants of 'FIFA, FIFA, FIFA'.... not his finest moment to be honest....

He goes on to promise the 'best World Cup in history'... am sure he said that pre-Russia 2018 too !

He goes onto talk about a 'divided world' and how he hopes football serves as a catalyst to unite .....

Next up is FIFA President Gianni Infantino....

That ends the musical interlude....

Hayya Hayya (Better Together) is performed by Trinidad Cardona, Davido and Aisha.

Is it any good? It's a box ticker.... easy on the ear...big chorus and lyrics about being together etc.... Not a classic but won't offend.... having said that, ask me what I think of the song mid-December !

We'll meet the new matchball for the competition and listen to the new official FIFA World Cup song ....

Idris Elba and Reshmin Chowdhury, tonight's hosts take to the stage..... They talk us through the menu for this evening.... They offer some thanks to Qatar and FIFA....

Fair to say that the initial reaction to La'eeb (the WC mascot) on social media has been...at best ....mixed .....

Meet the WC mascot

Following a glorious tradition of mascots, starting with England's World Cup Willie in 1966, and followed by lovable figures such as Spain's Naranjito in 1982, France's Footix in 1998 and Striker, the World Cup Pup, who donned a red, white and blue soccer uniform for USA '94, here's La'eeb, the mascot for Qatar 2022. 

La'eeb is an Arabic word meaning super-skilled, and by bringing the joy of football to all he will encourage "everyone to believe in themselves as 'Now is All', according to FIFA. 

Per the FIFA description of their latest mascot, "La’eeb will be known for his youthful spirit; spreading joy and confidence everywhere he goes. La’eeb comes from a parallel world where tournament mascots live. It is a world where ideas and creativity form the basis of characters that live in the minds of everyone", and I don't think anyone could argue with that. Go La'eeb!

A bit of music after the unveiling of the mascot to start proceedings .....

First up we see the official presentation of the new mascot....

I'd imagine it'll be 15 mins' or so before we see a ball drawn today with a series of speeches and goal highlights reels before we starting to learn which teams are going to what groups....

So, less than 5 minutes away from the draw for the first ever Winter World Cup...

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Santos cracks a smile !

Portugal boss Fernando Santos even cracked a brief smile in Doha today as he arrived for the 2022 World Cup draw.... The head coach is normally renowned for his generally 'serious' demeanor.

2022 World Cup draw: the pots

Pot 1: Argentina, Brazil, Belgium, England, France, Portugal, Qatar, Spain

Pot 2: Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Mexico, Switzerland, Uruguay, US

Pot 3: Iran, Japan, Morocco, Poland, Senegal, Serbia, South Korea, Tunisia

Pot 4: Cameroon, Canada, Ecuador, Ghana, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine/Scotland/Wales, Peru/Australia/UAE, Costa Rica/New Zealand

Draw 'gold dust'

We've had some iconic draw moments in the past ...from the recent botched UEFA draw in December through to a fresh faced Donald Trump conducting the Littlewoords Cup draw with Saint and Greavise back in the 80's.... None, however can hold a candle to a well 'hydrated' Sir Rod Stewart a few years back conducting the draw for the Scottish Cup.

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Renard arrives

Saudi Arabia's French coach Herve Renard arrives for the draw for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center

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Berhalter is in the house !

The USMNT head coach has arrived at the Doha Conference Centre as we head towards the 1800 CET/1200 ET scheduled start for the event

When the draw has been completed and the full round of fixtures, FIFA will then open the third and final window of ticket sales....as fans can lock down the particular matches they want to take in. To date more than 800,000 tickets have been sold with Qatar, USA, England, Mexico, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, India, Brazil, Argentina and Saudi Arabia being the hot spots globally in terms of sales.

Qatar 2022...anticipated CR7 and Messi swansongs

This time it looks as though Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – who for so long battled out their own personal 'Greatest of All-Time' rivalry – may be among those appearing on the World Cup stage for the last time.

"Goal achieved, we're at the Qatar World Cup. We're in our rightful place!" Ronaldo's Instagram post after Portugal's play-off success focused on the positive, but at 37, Qatar 2022 will surely be his final appearance at the tournament.

As for Messi, he said last week: "I don't know, the truth is I don't know. Let's hope [Argentina's preparations] go the best way possible. But for sure after the World Cup many things will change."

Exoduses after major international tournaments are common as teams reset or rebuild, but given what Messi and Ronaldo have represented on the pitch and the fact they've appeared at each of the previous four World Cups, their appearances at Qatar 2022 need to be savoured.

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National team coaches arrive...

England's Gareth Southgate, Qatar's Felix Sanchez, Belgium's Roberto Martinez and Spain's Luis Enrique are just a few of high profile names to have arrived at Doha's Conference Centre as draw time lurks closer.

USMNT's last World Cup game

 A 2-1 round of 16 loss to Belgium eight years ago in Brazil was the last time the US were in involved in World Cup action with all eyes on the group that determines the USMNT's rivals today.

US confirm schedule for year ahead

This is how Gregg Berhalter's men will prepare for the Qatar World Cup. Incidentally one of the friendly games taking place in the US is reported to be Copa America winners Argentina.

pots

29 team pot reminder

As we move closer to the draw start, a reminder of the 29 qualified nations along with the three as yet defined finalists who will be decided in June.

WC 2022 set to open at Al-Bayt Stadium

Qatar will face team A2 at the inaugural World Cup game on 21 November at the spectacular Al Bayt stadium which is close to the city of Al Khor, approximately 40km north of Doha.

WC 2022 draw assistants...

A plethora of former players will be on hand to assist with today's draw and they include....Cafu (Brazil), Lothar Matthaus (Germany), Adel Ahmed MalAllah (Qatar), Ali Daei (IR Iran), Bora Milutinovic (Serbia/Mexico), Jay-Jay Okocha (Nigeria), Rabah Madjer (Algeria) and Tim Cahill (Australia).

...and possible opposite ....

....but, there is always the possibility of a benevolent draw or the opposite to a group of death.... group of life? not sure that sounds right, but you get the idea.....obviously, everyone outside Pot 1 will be gunning to be paired with hosts Qatar. Despite coming on leaps and bounds under Spaniard Felix Sanchez, it will take something special for the hosts to advance past the group stage. The likes of Iran or Tunisa from Pot 3 wold be desirable with Saudi Arabia from Pot 4 completing a possible (on paper at least) straightforward group for the USMNT.

USMNT (benevolent group)

Qatar - USA-Tunisia- Saudi Arabia

Possible 'Group of Death' for the USMNT

It wouldn't be a World Cup draw preview without the obligatory talk about a 'group of death' and we all know that even if there s nothing that remotely resembles aforementioned 'GoD', one will be tagged as that group.... with Gregg Berhalter's men in Pot 2, some big fish potentially await in the draw with the likes of Brazil, Argentina or Spain possible rivals. Poland and AFCON winners Senegal would be difficult opponents from Pot 3 with Wales-Scotland-Ukraiine fare from easy in the final pot.

USMNT (possible group of death)

Brazil - USA- Poland - Uefa winner

SOCCER

Costa Rica 2-0 USA: summary, stats and highlights | 2022 World Cup qualifying

US progressed to Qatar 2022 despite going down in San Jose...

sim

Simulator WC 2022 draw

My simulator draw threw up these groups.... Spain and Germany in Group C and a tough one for the US in with Portugal, Japan and Ghana.

SOCCER

World Cup 2022 Draw Simulator: simulate and predict groups and teams for Qatar

Can't wait for the draw..... get simulating .....

Create your own draw with this easy to use simulator....

Carli Lloyd, Jermaine Jenas and Samantha Johnson to host draw...

The three former players have established new careers in the media world and the trio will be involved in overseeing today's proceedings. UEFA/FIFA draws in recent years have been slicker affairs but given the high profile of the draw today, I'd anticipate an event taking from anything up to 90 minutes.

Brazil

Brazil touted as WC favourites

The South American side are cited in an aggregate ranking among leading bookmakers as pre-tournament favourites out-pipping holders France as second favourites. England, Spain and Argentina complete the 3,4 and fifth placed favourite nations to lift the World Cup trophy at the Lusail Stadium on 18 December (2022).

GS

Qatar World Cup CEO wants to meet Southgate to discuss concerns

Qatar World Cup chief executive Nasser Al-Khater has called for a meeting with Gareth Southgate after the England manager said he is unhappy some fans will not feel safe travelling to the event due to concerns over human rights issues in the country.

Homosexuality is illegal in the Gulf state and there is also unease over women's rights, while a report by Amnesty International found that thousands of migrant workers in the country were being exploited, which Qatar has denied.

Southgate said this month it was a "great shame" there were issues stopping fans going to the World Cup, highlighting the rights of women and the LGBTQ+ community.

"Somebody with a lot of influence, such as Southgate, somebody with a big audience that listens to what he says, ought to pick his words very carefully," Al-Khater told Sky Sports on Wednesday.

"And I think that before making statements like that, when it comes to the workers, he needs to come here and speak to workers and understand what workers get out of being here."

The World Cup draw is set to be held in Doha latter today and Al-Khater said he wanted the opportunity to discuss the issues with Southgate.

"... so I look forward to welcoming him here, I look forward to meeting him at the draw and he can listen to my opinion, he does not have to believe it, but at least he needs to go that far to understand different opinions and different cultures," he added.

FiFA Congress: Idea for biennial WC put on hold

Gianni Infantino has stepped sharply back from hotly contested plans for a biennial World Cup yesterday at the Doha congress, telling world soccer’s leadership that FIFA had never proposed such an idea.

The FIFA president has been under fire for the past year, particularly in Europe, for proposals to increase the frequency of the global extravaganza from every four years, to every two.

But at FIFA's congress in Qatar on Thursday, Infantino told assembled heads of world football that the sport’s governing body had not been proposing the move which was threatening to split the soccer world.

"Let me be very clear that FIFA has not proposed a biennial process," Infantino said. "The last FIFA congress passed to the administration a vote, with 88 percent voted in favour, to study the feasibility of the World Cup every two years.

"FIFA administration, under the leadership of (former Arsenal manager) Arsene (Wenger), then started a feasibility... FIFA did not propose it. It concluded that it is feasible, that it would have some repercussions and impacts."

Soccer

Qatar World Cup - who's in?

A video recap of the nations participating in today's Doha draw.

ball

Meet..... Al Rihla

Al Rihla, which means "the journey" in Arabic is the official matchball for the 2022 Qatar World Cup and was unveiled earlier this week by Adidas.

“A stunning, sustainable and high-quality official match ball from Adidas that will be enjoyed by stars performing at the top of their game on the world’s biggest stage in Qatar, as well as grassroots players everywhere,” said Jean-François Pathy, FIFA’s Director of Marketing.

The 29 teams

Official WC 2022 song presented

Hayya Hayya (Better Together) is the first of a selection of singles to be released ahead of the competition and is performed by Trinidad Cardona, Davido and Aisha, and draws on R&B and reggae influences and will play a central role in tonight’s final draw for the tournament.

Luck of the draw....

But just as being in a higher pot is no guarantee of going deep into the tournament, who's to say how eventual 2018 champions France would have fared had they been in pot two?

Les Bleus were ranked seventh at the time so squeezed into pot one ahead of Spain. While that arguably gave them a trickier route to the final in the knockout phase, perhaps the tests posed by Argentina, Uruguay and Belgium were what kept them sharp all the way to the end?

This time around, Spain do appear in pot one. Portugal do as well, with Fernando Santos' men benefiting in that regard from European champions Italy's shock absence.

Nevertheless, there are some powerful teams in pot two. The Netherlands and Germany are undoubtedly the pick of the bunch there, both of whom will provide a stern test for any of the teams in pot one. Brazil v Die Mannschaft in the group stage, anyone?

There's a chance we could even see a repeat of the 2018 final in the group stage, with Croatia (pot two) able to come up against France in the opening round, while an England v United States showdown would surely capture the imagination of fans on both sides of 'the pond'.

We can expect to see plenty of quality in pot three as well, especially with Serbia, Robert Lewandowski's Poland and African champions Senegal present.

Among those in pot four are Canada. They may only be competing in their second World Cup and first since 1986, but John Herdman's team have won plenty of admirers en route to winning the CONCACAF qualifying section ahead of Mexico and reaching a record high of 33rd in the rankings.

How will today's draw work?

Today's draw will include 29 qualified teams, with the other three spots to consist of a couple of intercontinental play-off slot placeholders and one UEFA play-off slot placeholder, with those nations to be determined later in the year.

The qualified teams will be sorted into four pots of eight, with their FIFA world ranking determining which they enter – joining Qatar in pot one will be the top seven teams, while the nations ranked eight-15 will be in pot 2, and so on. The three play-off slot placeholders will be drawn from pot four.

There will also be eight pots representing the groups, A to H. Each group pot contains four balls with position numbers, ranging from one to four, which correspond to the teams' respective starting position in the tables and subsequently impact their fixture schedule.

Team pot one will be the first to empty, with Qatar automatically drawn into slot A1. The other sides from pot one will go straight into position one of the remaining groups.

From then on, a ball is drawn from a team pot and followed by one from a group pot, determining that team's position – for example, the second nation drawn into Group A could be placed in slot A4. The process continues until each team pot is emptied, with pot four the last to be drawn.

Where possible, no group will contain more than one team from the same qualification zone, with the exception of Europe – so anyone hoping for an encounter like Brazil v Uruguay will have to wait for the knockout stage.

WORLD CUP 2022

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FIFA 72nd congress

It's been a busy week for FIFA ahead of the draw with the staging of the 72nd congress in Doha , the unveiling of the official matchball and the official World Cup song that will be omnipresent prior to the competition later this year.

European situation

The situation relating to the final UEFA berth is slightly more complex. Ukraine are scheduled to face Scotland in the final UEFA 'path' with the winner set to face Wales in a final match with the victor Qatar bound. Football at national level and international  level, for obvious reasons has been suspended in Ukraine and at present a date of early June has been touted for the Scotland-Ukraine game but given the uncertainty surrounding the war, there is no guarantee that that date can be met. 

It's something of a conundrum for UEFA but somewhat complex at present with so many related issues totally out of the governing body's hands.

Inter Confederation fixtures:

New Zealand vs Costa Rica (Doha) on 13 or 14 June.

Peru vs winner of UAE-Australia on 13/14 June in Doha

The winners of those games will claim a place at the World Cup

It's fair to say, that the build-up to this World Cup has been like no other.... despite the controversy of awarding the Gulf State the competition back in 2010 with the plight of the migrant workers and other social issues correctly highlighted, the world has undergone (and still suffering) from a global pandemic with matters further being complicated following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in late February.

These situations have had a knock-on effect particular with the Oceania confederation qualifying process and leaves us with a unique situation where we only know the names of 29 of the 32 nations who will participate at the Qatar World Cup.

2022 World Cup draw: the pots

Pot 1: Argentina, Brazil, Belgium, England, France, Portugal, Qatar, Spain

Pot 2: Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Mexico, Switzerland, Uruguay, USA

Pot 3: Iran, Japan, Morocco, Poland, Senegal, Serbia, South Korea, Tunisia

Pot 4: Cameroon, Canada, Ecuador, Ghana, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine/Scotland/Wales, Peru/Australia/UAE, Costa Rica/New Zealand

The balls are in place in Doha

With just over 3.5 hours to go, all the preliminaries are under control at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center

Proceedings officially start at 1200 ET-1800 CEST but we'll bring you all the developments, breaking news and analysis ahead of the gala event

Hello and a very warm welcome to our live coverage of the 2022 World Cup draw from Doha.

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