Who will England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland face in World Cup qualifying? The draw takes place on Monday December 7 and you can follow it all with Sky Sports.
The seedings for the European section of qualification for Qatar 2022 have been confirmed, based on the FIFA World Ranking announced on November 26, and old rivalries could be renewed.
England are among the top seeds – along with top-ranked Belgium and reigning world champions France – which means they could be drawn in a group with Wales and one of Scotland, Northern Ireland or the Republic.
Check back from 5pm to watch a live stream of the World Cup qualifying draw. You can also follow the draw with our live blog on the Sky Sports website and app.
Who’s in which pot?
Pot 1: Belgium, France, England, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands.
Pot 2: Switzerland, Wales, Poland, Sweden, Austria, Ukraine, Serbia, Turkey, Slovakia, Romania.
Pot 3: Russia, Hungary, Republic of Ireland, Czech Republic, Norway, Northern Ireland, Iceland, Scotland, Greece, Finland.
Pot 4: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, Israel, Belarus, Georgia, Luxembourg.
Pot 5: Armenia, Cyprus, Faroe Islands, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Kosovo, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Latvia, Andorra.
Pot 6: Malta, Moldova, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar, San Marino.
How will the draw work?
In total, 55 teams will be split into five groups of five and five groups of six
The winners of the 10 groups will qualify automatically for the finals, which for the first time will be played in November and December of 2022 to avoid the punishing summer heat in the Middle East.
A further three places will be fought out between the 10 group runners-up and the two highest-ranked teams from the Nations League who have not already qualified or finished in a runners-up spot.
These 12 teams will be divided into three play-off paths, each featuring four countries, to determine the final three European berths.
UEFA’s Executive Committee has deemed the following pairs of teams cannot be drawn together: Armenia and Azerbaijan, Gibraltar and Spain, Ukraine and Russia, and Kosovo and Bosnia & Herzegovina/Russia/Serbia.
Iceland and the Faroe Islands have been identified as venues with the “highest risk of severe winter conditions” and to limit disruption to the group-match scheduling, cannot be drawn into the same group.
UEFA has also identified 20 pairings – including Kazakhstan with England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic – as involving “excessive travel” and says that “in order to minimise teams’ travel burdens a maximum of one such pair can be drawn in the same group”.
When will the qualifiers be played?
The qualifiers will be played between March and November 2021, with play-offs scheduled for March 2022.
Matchday 1: March 24-25 2021
Matchday 2: March 27-28 2021
Matchday 3: March 30-31 2021
Matchday 4: September 1-2 2021
Matchday 5: September 4-5 2021
Matchday 6: September 7-8 2021
Matchday 7: October 8-9 2021
Matchday 8: October 11-12 2021
Matchday 9: November 11-13 2021
Matchday 10: November 14-16 2021
Play-offs: March 24, 25, 28, 29 2022
England first faced Wales all the way back in 1879, with their most recent competitive meeting coming at the finals of Euro 2016 where England won 2-1.
They have not faced Northern Ireland since a shock defeat to them at Windsor Park in qualification for the 2006 World Cup.
England and the Republic faced each other in a friendly earlier this month, but have not been in competitive action since 1991, in qualification for the following year’s European Championship.
England and Scotland last met in a World Cup qualifier in 2017 for the last finals in Russia two years ago. They will also meet at the group stage of Euro 2020 next summer after Scotland qualified via a play-off earlier this month.
— to www.skysports.com