Off to Qatar: How each nation qualified for the 2022 World Cup

Michael Regan - FIFA / FIFA / Getty

The field for the 2022 World Cup is finally set. Below, we outline how all 32 nations booked their respective places in Qatar for this year's tournament.

What's the breakdown?

Confederation Automatic Berths Teams Qualified
AFC 5* 6
CAF 5 5
CONCACAF 3 4
CONMEBOL 4 4
OFC 0 0
UEFA 13 13

*Qatar included as host nation.

Australia and Costa Rica earned the last two places on offer via the intercontinental playoffs, giving the AFC and CONCACAF an additional representative each in the tournament.

Who qualified most recently?

Costa Rica 🇨🇷

  • Confederation: CONCACAF
  • Date of qualification: June 14

How it happened: Costa Rica secured the 32nd and final place in Qatar by defeating New Zealand 1-0 in the OFC-CONCACAF intercontinental playoff. Joel Campbell scored the decisive goal in the third minute, and star goalkeeper Keylor Navas stood tall in the latter stages of the match to safeguard the advantage amid mounting New Zealand pressure. Los Ticos, quarterfinalists at the 2014 tournament in Brazil, will now appear in their third consecutive World Cup. After a wretched start to their campaign in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying - the "Octagonal" - Luis Fernando Suarez's team finished strong to secure its place in the playoff before grinding out one more result to punch a ticket to the tournament proper in November.

Australia 🇦🇺

  • Confederation: AFC
  • Date of qualification: June 13

How it happened: Andrew Redmayne will never have to buy a drink in Australia again. The Socceroos qualified for their fifth consecutive World Cup by defeating Peru on penalties in the AFC-CONMEBOL intercontinental playoff, and the 33-year-old goalkeeper was the unlikely hero. Introduced in the final seconds of extra time with the tense match still goalless, Redmayne stole the show in the shootout, dancing wildly on the line before each Peruvian spot-kick. His tactics paid dividends when he turned aside Alex Valera's effort to seal a 5-4 victory for the Aussies. It was only Redmayne's third cap for the national team. Australia will slot into Group D in Qatar alongside reigning champion France, Denmark, and Tunisia.

Which other teams qualified?

Wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

David Davies - PA Images / PA Images / Getty
  • Confederation: UEFA
  • Date of qualification: June 5

How it happened: Wales defeated Ukraine in one of UEFA's three playoff finals to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 64 years. Gareth Bale proved influential, scoring twice in the 2-1 playoff semifinal victory over Austria before forcing an own goal in the 1-0 win against Ukraine. Wales overcame a turbulent two years just to make the World Cup: Robert Page replaced Ryan Giggs as manager, and Bale missed three of his country's first eight qualifiers in Group E through injury. However, after finishing second in group play to Belgium, Wales successfully navigated an additional two games to reach Qatar. The national team has now qualified for three of the last four major international tournaments.

United States 🇺🇸

  • Confederation: CONCACAF
  • Date of qualification: March 30

How it happened: Consider the terrible memories from the 2018 World Cup qualifying cycle banished. The United States clinched a place in Qatar on the final night of CONCACAF action, earning a ticket despite a 2-0 defeat in Costa Rica. Only an almighty shellacking would have seen the Americans fail to reach the World Cup, and Gregg Berhalter's team did enough to ensure there would be no such collapse. Questions remain over Berhalter's tactics and, oftentimes, his squad selection, but the USMNT is rife with young talent. If this squad puts everything together heading into November, expect big things.

Mexico 🇲🇽

  • Confederation: CONCACAF
  • Date of qualification: March 30

How it happened: Qualifying was extremely rocky for Gerardo "Tata" Martino, but Mexico, for the eighth consecutive time, will partake in the World Cup. Despite several underwhelming performances and a lack of scoring punch, El Tri ultimately finished second in CONCACAF qualifying, officially earning their place with a win over El Salvador. Mexico has been eliminated in the round of 16 in the last seven World Cups. It would be ironic if, after such an unsteady qualifying campaign, this was the team that finally got over that hump.

Portugal 🇵🇹

  • Confederation: UEFA
  • Date of qualification: March 29

How it happened: Unlike Italy, Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal got the job done against North Macedonia, avoiding the upset and booking a place in the World Cup with a 2-0 victory in the country's playoff final. Bruno Fernandes scored both goals in the decisive encounter, one on either side of the halftime interval, ensuring that Ronaldo - assuming he's fit and available - will become just the fourth player in men's soccer history to appear at five different World Cup tournaments. It wasn't always straightforward, or pretty, for Fernando Santos' team, but the Selecao are off to their sixth consecutive World Cup.

Poland 🇵🇱

Adam Nurkiewicz / Getty Images Sport / Getty
  • Confederation: UEFA
  • Date of qualification: March 29

How it happened: Poland can always count on its captain. Star striker Robert Lewandowski buried a second-half penalty and attacking midfielder Piotr Zielinski added an insurance marker as the Poles punched their ticket to Qatar with a 2-0 playoff win over familiar foe Sweden. After finishing last in its group four years ago in Russia - and producing an even worse performance at the most recent European Championship - Poland will look to bounce back on the sport's grandest stage.

Cameroon 🇨🇲

  • Confederation: CAF
  • Date of qualification: March 29

How it happened: In perhaps the most dramatic finish of any match throughout this entire qualification cycle - across every confederation - Cameroon scored in the 124th minute to reach the World Cup. Karl Toko Ekambi's goal floored an Algeria team that had scored just minutes earlier in extra time and appeared on the verge of qualification. The close-range finish sparked manic celebrations for the Indomitable Lions while the Algerians, ousted on the away goals rule after the two-legged tie finished 2-2 on aggregate, crumbled to the pitch in disbelief. Wow.

Tunisia 🇹🇳

  • Confederation: CAF
  • Date of qualification: March 29

How it happened: Tunisia made its fans sweat this one out. The Eagles of Carthage clinched their place at the World Cup after a goalless draw against Mali, leaning on a 1-0 win from the first leg of their tight encounter. Manager Jalel Kadri warned that the return fixture would require laser focus and defensive discipline, and though there were some nervy moments, his players delivered a stout defensive performance overall, flying into tackles and putting their bodies on the line to ensure the nation will be enjoying consecutive World Cup appearances come November.

Morocco 🇲🇦

- / AFP / Getty
  • Confederation: CAF
  • Date of qualification: March 29

How it happened: Morocco left nothing to chance. While extraordinary results were unfolding elsewhere in Africa on the final day of CAF qualifying, the Atlas Lions secured their tickets to Qatar with a comprehensive 4-1 win over DR Congo, a result that rounded out a 5-2 aggregate triumph. Having built a 4-0 lead midway through the second half, the final 20 minutes in Casablanca were navigated with relative ease. Manager Vahid Halilhodzic is heading to the World Cup with his fourth different team, and Morocco will be looking for its first win at the tournament since 1998.

Senegal 🇸🇳

  • Confederation: CAF
  • Date of qualification: March 29

How it happened: Senegal did it again. Less than two months after breaking Egyptian hearts to win the Africa Cup of Nations in a shootout, the Lions of Teranga repeated the feat in World Cup qualifying. As was the case in February, Sadio Mane delivered the decisive blow from the penalty spot, smashing home an effort that ensured his celebrated club teammate Mohamed Salah won't partake in the tournament in Qatar. A team littered with star power and overseen by respected bench boss Aliou Cisse, Senegal has all the tools to cause a stir at the World Cup.

Ghana 🇬🇭

  • Confederation: CAF
  • Date of qualification: March 29

How it happened: The Black Stars are back. After missing the 2018 World Cup, Ghana booked its place in Qatar by ousting West African rival Nigeria following a tense two-legged affair in the final round of CAF qualifying. Star midfielder Thomas Partey scored the key goal in the decisive second leg, firing a low strike from outside the area in an eventual 1-1 draw that sent Otto Addo's team through via the away goals rule. Following a dismal showing at AFCON, new boss Addo has rejuvenated the Ghanaians, turning them into a group capable of making some noise later this year.

Canada 🇨🇦

Vaughn Ridley / Getty Images Sport / Getty
  • Confederation: CONCACAF
  • Date of qualification: March 27

How it happened: After 36 long years, Canada - yes, Canada - is back at the World Cup. A commanding 4-0 victory over Jamaica sealed qualification for the Canadians, who, despite missing superstar Alphonso Davies for a handful of matches, have been the most dominant team in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying by some margin. The triumph, which played out amid a party atmosphere in Toronto, will be remembered alongside famous wins over continental powers Mexico and the United States that helped John Herdman's team underline its rapid ascent up the footballing ladder.

Uruguay 🇺🇾

  • Confederation: CONMEBOL
  • Date of qualification: March 24

How it happened: As expected, arguably the biggest match of the 17th round of South American qualifying - Uruguay's visit from Peru - was an extremely nervy affair. But, after losing four straight qualifiers for the first time in their history, La Celeste are finishing their campaign in strong form, beating Paraguay, Venezuela, and Peru to punch their ticket to Qatar. Continuity is the key for Uruguay as Edinson Cavani, Luis Suarez, Diego Godin, and several other big-game veterans are still regulars in the lineup.

Ecuador 🇪🇨

  • Confederation: CONMEBOL
  • Date of qualification: March 24

How it happened: Ecuador's progression was confirmed despite a 3-1 loss to Paraguay, and those contrasting emotions were typical of an inconsistent yet successful qualification campaign for La Tri. The highs, when they came, were significant, including high-scoring home wins over Uruguay and Colombia and an away victory at Bolivia all in late 2020. However, Ecuador's place in the World Cup could be more down to its CONMEBOL rivals' weaknesses rather than its own strengths.

Japan 🇯🇵

Mark Metcalfe / Getty Images Sport / Getty
  • Confederation: AFC
  • Date of qualification: March 24

How it happened: Japan overcame a rocky start in the second round of qualifying with a dominating run of matches to qualify for the World Cup for the seventh time in a row. After losing two of its opening three games, Japan bounced back to produce six straight wins and clinch its place in Qatar with one match remaining. Japan's berth was secured with a 2-0 victory over an Australia side that now needs to win a playoff in order to reach a fifth consecutive World Cup.

Saudi Arabia 🇸🇦

  • Confederation: AFC
  • Date of qualification: March 24

How it happened: The wave of joy and relief wasn't limited to Japan, as Saudi Arabia celebrated a World Cup berth at the expense of the Socceroos, too. Whatever nerves were present before its qualifier against China were lifted before kickoff after Japan's victory ensured Saudi Arabia's place at the 2022 World Cup. Although its fate was decided without kicking a ball, Saudi Arabia's early success in the second round of qualifiers proved integral in helping the Middle Eastern nation reach a sixth World Cup.

South Korea 🇰🇷

  • Confederation: AFC
  • Date of qualification: Feb. 1

How it happened: Was there ever any doubt? South Korea will take part in its 10th consecutive World Cup this November, sealing an automatic berth with a 2-0 victory over Syria. The win, procured without the services of injured superstar Son Heung-Min, clinched a top-two finish in Group A of AFC qualifying. South Korea, managed since 2018 by Portuguese tactician Paulo Bento, has been stout defensively during the final qualification round. Carry that solidity into Qatar, and the Taeguk Warriors will fancy their chances of adding to a storied history of World Cup upsets.

Iran 🇮🇷

Amin Mohammad Jamali / Getty Images Sport / Getty
  • Confederation: AFC
  • Date of qualification: Jan. 27

How it happened: After dominating the second round of qualifying with 34 goals scored and just four conceded, Iran won six of its next seven games to ensure a top-two finish in Group A and a third consecutive World Cup berth. It's the first nation out of Asia to advance, and its decisive victory came at home against neighboring rival Iraq. More than 2,000 women were in attendance, marking another watershed moment in Iran's ongoing fight for equal rights.

Argentina 🇦🇷

  • Confederation: CONMEBOL
  • Date of qualification: Nov. 16, 2021

How it happened: La Albiceleste haven't looked this good in a long time. Qualification was never in doubt, and was part of a lengthy unbeaten run that helped Argentine reaffirm its status. Lionel Messi lifted the Copa America with his countrymen during that run to win his first international title, giving him "peace of mind" and giving Argentina fans reason to support the once-shambolic national team once again.

Netherlands 🇳🇱

  • Confederation: UEFA
  • Date of qualification: Nov. 16, 2021

How it happened: The Dutch nearly blew it again. After missing the 2018 World Cup, the Netherlands must have experienced deja vu when it surrendered a 2-0 lead in the final eight minutes of its penultimate qualifier against Montenegro. Louis van Gaal's side suddenly needed a win in the final round of fixtures to ensure its place in Qatar, and it arrived late against Norway, with Steven Bergwijn and Memphis Depay breaking a goalless stalemate in the final few minutes of play.

Switzerland 🇨🇭

STEFAN WERMUTH / AFP / Getty
  • Confederation: UEFA
  • Date of qualification: Nov. 16, 2021

How it happened: In arguably the biggest upset of UEFA's qualifying campaign, Switzerland edged out Italy to claim first place in Group C and condemn the Euro 2020 winner to the playoff round. The Swiss held the Italians in both of their matches, with Jorginho missing crucial penalties in each one. Head coach Murat Yakin has built on the solid foundation predecessor Vladimir Petkovic left behind, with Switzerland conceding just twice in eight qualifiers.

England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

  • Confederation: UEFA
  • Date of qualification: Nov. 16, 2021

How it happened: No European team scored more than England's 39 goals in qualifying. Twenty of those came against perennial punching bags San Marino and Andorra, but England is undoubtedly a force. The Three Lions have an impressive group of youngsters with considerable experience for their age. They'll look to build on their semifinal run at the 2018 World Cup and Euro 2020 final appearance.

Serbia 🇷🇸

  • Confederation: UEFA
  • Date of qualification: Nov. 14, 2021

How it happened: A most dramatic sequence of events occurred Nov. 14 in Lisbon, where Aleksandar Mitrovic's 90th-minute header powered Serbia to a 2-1 comeback win over Portugal. Portugal hadn't lost a home qualifier in eight years, and Serbia - which failed to qualify for Euro 2020 - had never beaten the Selecao. A draw would have been enough for Portugal to progress, but the upset catapulted the eastern European nation into first place and sent the Euro 2016 champion to the playoffs. Serbia will look to continue its impressive transformation in Qatar.

Spain 🇪🇸

JORGE GUERRERO / AFP / Getty
  • Confederation: UEFA
  • Date of qualification: Nov. 14, 2021

How it happened: Qualifying took a "huge weight" off the shoulders of head coach Luis Enrique - with good reason. Spain, which usually rips through the opposition in World Cup qualifying, needed a late win over direct rival Sweden in the final round of matches to clinch top spot in Group B. A lack of scoring was at the heart of Spain's unusual hardship, with neither Alvaro Morata nor Gerard Moreno leading the line with much conviction. Morata's winning goal against Sweden was much-needed but only his second of the qualifying campaign.

Croatia 🇭🇷

  • Confederation: UEFA
  • Date of qualification: Nov. 14, 2021

How it happened: Croatia needed the help of an own goal in the 81st minute of its final qualifying match to beat Russia and win Group H by a single point over its European rival. An opening loss to Slovenia and a goalless draw with Russia earlier in the campaign made Croatia's path more difficult. The upcoming World Cup will likely be the last for a number of the national team's veterans, including 36-year-old talisman Luka Modric.

Belgium 🇧🇪

  • Confederation: UEFA
  • Date of qualification: Nov. 13, 2021

How it happened: Belgium has held the No. 1 ranking for more than three years, and it clinched a World Cup berth with typical swagger, scoring 25 goals across eight wins and two draws in Group E. The so-called golden generation of Belgian football has yet to make a major tournament final, but many of its best players - notably Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne - are in their prime. The Red Devils remain a top contender heading into Qatar.

France 🇫🇷

John Berry / Getty Images Sport / Getty
  • Confederation: UEFA
  • Date of qualification: Nov. 13, 2021

How it happened: Even with three draws from its opening four qualifiers, France never seemed likely to falter. Les Bleus' margin for error was as wide as it could be in a group of lackluster opponents, including overmatched Kazakhstan, directionless Bosnia and Herzegovina, middling Finland, and goal-shy Ukraine. After the early hiccups, the reigning world champion won five matches in a row to take command of the quintet.

Brazil 🇧🇷

  • Confederation: CONMEBOL
  • Date of qualification: Nov. 11, 2021

How it happened: Brazil has been a picture of stability in CONMEBOL. It conceded only five goals en route to topping the South American qualifying group, a testament to manager Tite's tactical acumen and his players' defensive discipline. This team can still blow opponents away - see its 4-1 win over endangered Uruguay last November - but it does so without throwing caution to the wind.

Denmark 🇩🇰

  • Confederation: UEFA
  • Date of qualification: Oct. 12, 2021

How it happened: Feeding off its remarkable semifinal run at Euro 2020, the Danish national team rattled off nine straight wins to qualify for the World Cup. Denmark's only loss came against second-placed Scotland when it had already secured its place in Qatar. Kasper Hjulmand's side scored 30 goals - including a team-leading five from adventurous full-back Joakim Maehle - while allowing just three.

Germany 🇩🇪

Markus Gilliar / Getty Images Sport / Getty
  • Confederation: UEFA
  • Date of qualification: Oct. 11, 2021

How it happened: Germany's shocking loss to North Macedonia last March was little more than a speed bump on the road to Qatar. But it seemed to hold far more meaning at the time. Die Mannschaft hadn't lost a World Cup qualifier in 20 years before falling to the then-65th-ranked nation, and longtime head coach Joachim Low had announced he was stepping down just a few weeks prior. Germany could have gone into a tailspin. It didn't, winning its group by a nine-point margin to become the first European nation to qualify.

Qatar 🇶🇦

  • Confederation: AFC
  • Date of qualification: Dec. 2, 2010

How it happened: Qatar automatically qualified for the 2022 World Cup but has faced allegations of corruption and human rights abuses since winning hosting rights over a decade ago. The U.S. Department of Justice recently concluded after years of investigations that representatives for Qatar bribed officials to win votes in 2010. Since then, more than 6,000 migrant workers have died in the gulf nation while building infrastructure. On the pitch, Qatar's national team gained valuable experience in the second round of World Cup qualifying in Asia, finishing with seven wins and one draw in a group with Oman, India, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. Qatar was required to compete in the second round because those matches doubled as qualifying for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.

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