Qatar included in European qualifying for 2022 World Cup
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Qatar, the first country from the Middle East to host a World Cup, will take part in UEFA qualifying for the 2022 tournament.

The additional games will provide the Gulf nation with an opportunity to test themselves ahead of the showpiece event.

Qatar will join Group A - alongside the Republic of Ireland, reigning European champion Portugal, Luxembourg, Serbia, and Azerbaijan - and play 10 games in total. All of its games, including designated home fixtures, will take place in Europe to cut down on travel.

Its first contest will be against Luxembourg on March 24, 2021.

"As Qatar has already qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup as hosts, UEFA has invited them to join with the teams of Group A to help their squad prepare for the tournament," UEFA told Rob Harris of The Associated Press.

Games involving Qatar won't count toward qualifying, according to Harris. As host nation of Euro 2016, France enjoyed a similar arrangement, treating all of its qualifiers as friendlies.

It's not the first time Qatar has been invited to play games outside of its region. It took part in the 2019 Copa America, finishing last in Group B with one point, and received invitations to the 2021 and 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cups.

The 2022 World Cup is scheduled to begin Nov. 22, 2022.

Qatar is currently 59th in the FIFA world rankings.

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Qatar included in European qualifying for 2022 World Cup
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