The preliminary draw for the FIFA World Cup 2022 will be held on Monday at 18:00 CET as a virtual event in Zurich.
The 55 participating teams were divided into five pots of ten teams and one pot of five – Pot 6 which includes Malta, Moldova, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar and San Marino.
These five teams will be drawn into the sixth position in groups F to J and since the four finalists of the UEFA Nations League – Belgium, France, Spain and Italy – will be drawn into a group of five teams, Malta cannot be drawn with one of these teams.
The other teams in Pot 1 are England, Portugal, Croatia, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands.
Pot 2: Switzerland, Wales, Poland, Sweden, Austria, Ukraine, Serbia, Turkey, Slovakia and Romania
Pot 3: Russia, Hungary, Republic of Ireland, Czech Republic, Norway, Northern Ireland, Iceland, Scotland, Greece and Finland
Pot 4: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, Israel, Belarus, Georgia and Luxembourg
Pot 5: Armenia, Cyprus, Faroe Islands, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Kosovo, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Latvia and Andorra
The teams drawn will be allocated to a group in alphabetical order, from Group A to Group J (i.e. the first team drawn will be allocated to Group A, the second team to Group B and so forth). When a draw constraint applies or is anticipated to apply, the team drawn will be allocated to the first available group in alphabetical order as indicated by the draw constraint programme.
All teams within a group will play each other twice in a home-and-away format between March and November 2021.
The first three match days will be played in March, another three will be played in September, two in October and two in November.
The ten group winners will qualify directly for Qatar 2022, with the ten runners-up advancing to the play-offs.
Besides the ten runners-up from the group stage, the play-offs will also include the two best group winners from the UEFA Nations League 2020-2021 overall ranking that did not qualify directly for the FIFA World Cup 2022 and did not enter the play-offs as runners-up. The 12 teams will be split into three play-off paths, which will feature single-leg knockout matches in March 2022 to determine the last three European nations to book a place in Qatar.