World Cup 2022 Draw: Possible Groups of Death
World Cup 2022 Draw: Possible Groups of Death

The Complete Draw for World Cup 2022

Group A: Qatar (hosts), Netherlands, Senegal, Ecuador

Group B: England, United States, Iran, Wales/Scotland/Ukraine

Group C: Argentina, Mexico, Poland, Saudi Arabia

Group D: France, Denmark, Tunisia, Peru/Australia/UAE

Group E: Spain, Germany, Japan, Costa Rica/New Zealand

Group F: Belgium, Croatia, Morocco, Canada

Group G: Brazil, Switzerland, Serbia, Cameroon

Group H: Portugal, Uruguay, South Korea, Ghana

The Final Draw for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is almost upon us. And as the eyes of the football world turn towards Qatar, and excitement builds in the nations who’ve sealed their places at the global finals.

The Qatar World Cup, still with 32 teams, will maintain a classic format of eight groups of four teams that will play three round-robin, one-legged matches. The top two finishers from each group will advance to the round of 16 and will face each other in the following format: A vs B, C vs D, E vs F and G vs H.

The Organising Committee for FIFA Competitions outlined that the teams already qualified will be allocated according to sporting principles to Pots 1 to 4 based on the FIFA/Coca-Cola Men’s World Ranking released on April 1.

As hosts, Qatar take position A1 from Pot 1, where they are joined by the FIFA Ranking’s seven highest-ranked qualified teams. The countries occupying positions 8-15 on the ranking of the qualified teams have been allocated to Pot 2, while the 16th-23rd best-ranked qualifiers have been placed in Pot 3. Finally, Pot 4 includes the qualified teams in positions 24 to 28, plus three placeholders representing the two winners of the intercontinental play-offs and the remaining UEFA play-off winners.

The official pots ahead of World Cup 2022 Draw

World Cup 2022 Draw: Possible Groups of Death
World Cup 2022 Qualified Teams

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

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

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

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

Each World Cup group will contain one team from each pot. First each team in Pot 1 will be allocated a group, then each team in Pots 2, 3 and 4 to create eight groups of four. Each pot will be emptied before the next pot is drawn. Qatar will be allocated position A1 but in every other case a ball will be drawn from a team pot, then a ball drawn from a group pot to determine where they will be placed.

Teams from the same confederation will be kept apart in the groups with the exception of European teams, of which there will be 13. Five of the eight groups will have two European teams.

The Ultimate Group of Death

Brazil, Germany, Serbia, Canada

Unless Germany is drawn into Qatar’s group, the Pot 1 team that draws Germany will most likely be the scariest group. The Netherlands could also fill in just as well, but Germany as the 2014 World Cup champion coming off its ’18 group-stage disappointment is simply too scary to admit. But if that Pot 1 nation is Brazil or Argentina, then that sets the table for a potential Serbia draw (since two European teams, but not three, are allowed to be drawn into the same group) out of Pot 3, in which Serbia appears to be the most intimidating matchup along with African Cup of Nations champion Senegal. You could also make the case that Serbia seems to be the key to group of death scenarios, despite making it out of the World Cup group stage only once in four tries since Yugoslavia was dissolved as a nation. After all, Serbia did go undefeated in World Cup qualifying and won its group over Portugal. But at the World Cup, it won’t have the intimidation factor that is home games at Red Star Stadium. Still, no one wants to draw Serbia coming out of Pot 3.

The Alternate Group of Death

France, Germany, Senegal, Canada

It would not be fun to be fans of any of these teams in this group. Let’s remember: We’re talking about the last two World Cup champions, the current African champion and the team that topped the table in 14 games of Concacaf qualifying. That’s a lot of anxiety in the seven-month wait between the draw and the start of the World Cup. France will be afraid of an epic letdown after 2018 and Germany will be counted on to avenge its ’18 shame, while Senegal and Canada have the look of teams who won’t back down against anyone after their regional success in ’22. While the ultimate group of death appears to be a nightmare situation, this one feels to have more potential for chaos given the teams and what they have to prove.

The Slightly Less Scary But Still Deathly Group

Belgium, USA/Mexico, Senegal, Wales

We’ve seen worse (remember Germany, Portugal, USA, Ghana in 2014?), but this group still has the potential to be frightening. Really, you can sub in any Pot 1 nation besides Qatar, as long as the U.S., Mexico, Germany or Netherlands fills that second spot. With those four teams from Pot 2, and anyone but Qatar in Pot 1, any setup with Senegal could still form a formidable group that has the potential to be just as difficult as 2018’s toughest group on paper (Sweden, Mexico, South Korea, Germany). We can only hope that it replicates the chaos of that group as well, and adding Wales (if it wins the European playoff in June) gives it an edge filled by Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

The Top-Ranked Group

Brazil, Mexico, Senegal, Saudi Arabia

This group takes the highest-ranked nations, according to the FIFA world ranking, in each pot and places them together. Brazil jumped Belgium to become the top-ranked team in the world in the latest rankings, while Mexico just missed out on a Pot 1 spot by finishing in ninth, one behind Portugal. Senegal is the top-ranked team in Pot 3 after its exhilarating penalty-kick shootout win over Egypt on Tuesday. And when it comes to Pot 4, the top-ranked team in Cameroon would not be allowed into the group due to the presence of another African nation. The same would go for Canada (since Mexico comes from Pot 2) and as well as Ecuador (since Brazil already represents South America). That leaves us with No. 49 Saudi Arabia filling out the group. Regardless, the fight for the two spots in the knockout spots out of this group would be fascinating to watch.

The Group of Potential Chaos

England, USA, Poland, Ghana

The tradition of the group of potential chaos takes its purest form in 2014, when Italy and England failed to advance to the knockout stages while Costa Rica and Uruguay advanced. It wouldn’t necessarily be a stunner if any combination of these two teams advanced to the knockout stages. And while it would be most surprising to see England potentially miss out on the knockout stages in this scenario, it wouldn’t be out of the question considering England’s track record under pressure at the World Cup. This group would also follow through on the seemingly inevitable pairing that is the United States and Ghana, which would add more fuel to the hilarious, social-media-driven prophecy linking the two teams in World Cup eternity.

Best-Case Scenario

Qatar, USA, Tunisia, Ecuador

Everyone’s best-case scenario starts out with being drawn into Qatar’s group. That would already be the dream draw for the United States. Meanwhile, Tunisia appears to be the weakest team in Pot 3, and not just by FIFA ranking. The North African side was unimpressive in World Cup qualifying, sneaking past Mali by an aggregate score of 1–0 in the qualifying playoff last week, and has never made it past the World Cup group stage. However, being drawn into Qatar’s group also narrows the field in Pot 4. The U.S. already can’t be drawn with Canada, and it cannot be drawn with Saudi Arabia in this case due to a shared confederation with Qatar. With the yet-to-be-determined playoffs throwing so much uncertainty into the draw, the only other team that can be placed in this scenario is Ecuador or the European playoff winner, in which case we’ll always take Ecuador.

Worst-Case Scenarios

France/Brazil, USA, Senegal, Wales

France/Brazil, USA, Serbia, Ghana

We can keep going on and on with the worst-case scenarios for the USMNT, but that would be cruel. Outside of being placed in Qatar’s group, nothing looks peachy in terms of a Pot 1 opponent. But the U.S.’s chances of reaching the knockout stages will really come down to that Pot 3 team. Luckily for them, the Americans cannot draw Canada, but drawing Ghana wouldn’t be too lucky, either. Meanwhile, the European playoff winner could very well be Gareth Bale’s Wales. The team is ranked 18th in the FIFA world rankings, which would have seen it placed in Pot 2 or 3 if it qualified this week, yet it sits in Pot 4 because the European playoff was delayed until June due to the war in Ukraine. We’ll just leave the USMNT potential group of death scenarios at two, but feel free to have fun with it before it becomes a reality (just kidding … maybe).

The Groups of Yawn

Qatar, Switzerland, Tunisia, Costa Rica/New Zealand

Qatar, Croatia, Morocco, Ecuador

It’s obvious that the most boring group on paper (or envied, depending on if you’re a casual fan or a national team) should have Qatar as the Pot 1 representative. It’s also obvious that every single nation in Pots 2–4 will be wishing upon shooting stars Thursday night, hoping to be placed in Qatar’s group come Friday. However, it’s often these groups that provide for the most chaos. Regardless of who the Pot 2 team is in Qatar’s group, it will almost definitely be the favorite to win the group. Meanwhile, just about any team from Pot 4 (outside of other Asian confederation teams that cannot share a group with Qatar) can be placed in this group without changing the melatonin factor.

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