All you need to know about the 2022 World Cup group stage draw
It is a World Cup year once again and excitement is starting to build for football’s biggest tournament which will take place in Qatar during November and December.
Moved from the summer due to the Middle Eastern country’s hot temperatures, things are sure to be a bit different this time around.
But with 32 nations competing for the crown, it will be no less thrilling and plenty will be dreaming that their name is next to be etched on the famous trophy.
So, when is the World Cup group stage draw? Read on as we bring you all the important information.
When is the 2022 World Cup group stage draw?
The group stage draw for the 2022 World Cup will be made on Friday, April 1 in Qatar's capital city Doha, where a host of games at the finals are taking place.
This will be once 29 of the 32 teams have been decided for the tournament, with the winners of the intercontinental play-offs in June taking two of those places.
Ukraine are unable to participate in their play-off semi-final against Scotland due to Russia's invasion, meaning that section of European qualification has been postponed until June at the earliest.
The rest of the teams will be left with over seven months to prepare for their opponents before the tournament gets started on November 21.
Which teams have qualified?
As host nation, Qatar have an automatic place at this year’s finals.
Four-time winners Germany became the first country to seal their spot through qualification by topping their group with a 4-0 victory over North Macedonia in October 2021.
England were in the hat a month later, as were defending champions France, while the tournament’s most successful side in Brazil were the first to qualify from South America.
Qualified World Cup 2022 teams: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Ecuador, England, France, Germany, Ghana, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, United States, Uruguay.
Which teams are seeded for the draw?
FIFA have confirmed the pots for the draw will be based on a nation's ranking at the end of the current international break.
Qatar will be in Pot One alongside the seven highest-ranked nations to make the finals, which includes England, while the three teams yet to qualify will be represented as placeholders in Pot Four.
Pot One: Qatar, Brazil, Belgium, France, Argentina, England, Spain, Portugal.
Pot Two: Mexico, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Uruguay, Switzerland, United States, Croatia.
Pot Three: Senegal, Iran, Japan, Morocco, Serbia, Poland, South Korea, Tunisia.
Pot Four: Cameroon, Canada, Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, Wales / Scotland / Ukraine, Costa Rica / New Zealand, Peru / Australia / United Arab Emirates
Which teams still need to qualify?
While 29 sides are already now booking their flights to Qatar, a handful of countries are still awaiting their fate.
In Europe, home nations Scotland and Wales could still face each other for a spot in the finals should the Scots overcome Ukraine.
The intercontinental play-off meanwhile sees a nation from the AFC, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL and OFC federations face off to decide the final tournament spaces.
Peru will be South America's representative, Costa Rica are the CONCACAF team to make the play-offs while New Zealand will be the Oceanic nation involved.
One of United Arab Emirates and Australia will join the trio for the final eliminator in Qatar in June.
United Arab Emirates or Australia vs Peru
Costa Rica vs New Zealand
Which teams missed out?
A number of notable nations will not take part in Qatar, including Euro 2020 winners Italy.
Roberto Mancini's men failed to get past North Macedonia in their play-off semi-final meaning they will sit out the World Cup once more having also missed out in 2018.
Mohamed Salah's Egypt, Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Sweden and Colombia — England's last-16 opponents in 2018 — all failed to qualify as well.
What is the 2022 World Cup format?
The tournament will see 32 nations divided into eight groups of four.
Once each team has played each other in their pools, the winners and runners-up will advance to the last 16.
From there, it is a knockout system with the two finalists eventually facing off at the Lusail Iconic Stadium.
When does the 2022 World Cup kick off?
The first game kicks off on November 21 and the group stage plays out over 12 days.
The knockout rounds begin with the first last-16 clash on December 3, with the remainder taking place over the next three days.
Then it is time for the quarter-finals on December 9 and 10, the semi-finals on December 13 and 14 and final on December 18.
World Cup 2022 schedule
Group stage: November 21-December 2
Last 16: December 3-6
Quarter-finals: December 9-10
Semi-finals: December 13-14
Final: December 18