The road to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar kicks off today (Wednesday) with the opening of the World Cup qualifiers to be held in about a year and a half. 55 teams compete for only 13 places in the biggest tournament in the world.
So how is this going to work? The 10 teams that finish in first place in each house will advance automatically. Their 10 runners-up will advance to the playoffs from which only three more tickets will be dealt. Two teams will receive a ticket to the playoffs of the League of Nations, where they will compete with the 10 runners-up. The same two playoff tickets will be awarded to the two best home winners in the League of Nations, who did not advance to the World Cup or playoffs through the classic qualifying tournament.
The 12 teams that will participate in the playoffs will be divided into three. All four teams will compete among themselves in two knockout stages (semi-finals and final) for one of the three tickets given by the playoffs. Confused? There will be plenty of time for calculations.
Ronaldo wants the title he is missing, Ambape goes on back-to-back
The biggest stars in the world will try to secure the place of their team as early as possible. Cristiano Ronaldo, who will approach the age of 38 during the World Cup, aims to add the World Cup to his never-ending list of titles. Rejuvenating Spain disappointed in 2018 and are still building on Sergio Ramos’ defensive power. Italy is always a big question mark and today it is not a team that relies on a single star. Maybe that’s the secret of her magic.
The world champion France dreams of winning the Euro in the summer, as happened to her in 2000 when she completed a “double” with the World Cup. Killian Ambape is the spearhead of the tricolor and it will be his second World Cup, if there are no fads of course. Belgium reached the semi-finals of the previous World Cup and many believe that this time they will be able to go all the way with Kevin de Bruyne, Romulo Lukaku and the rest of the stars (and even a word about Eden Hazard).
The Netherlands are waiting for the recovery of defensive stronghold Virgil Van Dyke and after a slight decline will try to rise and possibly win the World Cup for the first time. England will always be a favorite in their own eyes and will have to prove to the world that it is worth counting on thanks to Harry Kane (the king of the previous World Cup goals) and maybe also Gideon Sancho. Germany will part with Joachim Lev in about four months and it will be interesting to see what she will look like without the coach who has coached her for 15 years. Among these many stars, the Israeli team will try to astonish and advance to the first tournament since 1970. Do you believe this is possible?
The complete list of houses
House 1: Portugal, Serbia, Ireland, Luxmorg, Azerbaijan.
House 2: Spain, Sweden, Greece, Georgia, Kosovo.
House 3: Italy, Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, Lithuania.
House 4: France, Ukraine, Finland, Bosnia, Kazakhstan.
House 5: Belgium, Wales, Czech Republic, Belarus, Estonia.
House 6: Denmark, Austria, Scotland, Israel, Faroe Islands, Moldova.
House 7: The Netherlands, Turkey, Norway, Montenegro, Latvia, Gibraltar.
House 8: Croatia, Slovakia, Russia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta.
House 9: England, Poland, Hungary, Albania, Andorra, San Marino.
House 10: Germany, Romania, Iceland, Northern Macedonia, Armenia, Liechtenstein.