The FIFA 2022 World Cup draw is set for Friday in Doha, Qatar, at which point the 32-team field will learn what awaits in November and December as the world’s biggest soccer tournament descends on the Middle East.

Here’s a breakdown of key information ahead of time, before eight groups of four teams each are determined.

How to watch the draw

How does the draw work?

All 32 teams are split into four pots as determined by the FIFA Men's World Rankings released March 31 (Thursday), which accounts for the latest set of qualifiers.

Host nation Qatar joins Pot 1 alongside the top seven seeds and will be assigned to Group A. From there, eight groups of four teams each will be determined with one team drawn from Pots 1 through 4.

All the groups – A through H – can have no more than one team from each region, except for UEFA. Each group will have at least one European team and no more than two.

Who has qualified?

Host nation Qatar automatically qualifies, then 29 other teams gain qualification via their federation’s respective path.

UEFA
Conmebol
CAF
AFC
Concacaf
(Europe)
(South America)
(Africa)
(Asia)
(North America/Caribbean)
Belgium
Argentina
Cameroon
Iran
Canada
Croatia
Brazil
Ghana
Japan
Mexico
Denmark
Ecuador
Morocco
Qatar
USA
England
Uruguay
Senegal
Saudi Arabia
France
Tunisia
South Korea
Germany
Netherlands
Poland
Portugal
Serbia
Spain
Switzerland

Three spots remain undecided.

This June, the final UEFA spot will be determined when Wales faces either Scotland or Ukraine. That Path A route was delayed after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The final two teams are to be decided this June in Qatar via playoff paths. They are as follows:

  • AFC Fourth Round winner (Australia or United Arab Emirates) vs. Conmebol fifth-place (Peru)
  • Concacaf Third Round fourth place (Costa Rica) vs. Oceania winner (New Zealand)

Who is in which pot?

The four pots have been decided following the March 2022 update to the FIFA Men's World Ranking.

Pot 1
Pot 2
Pot 3
Pot 4
Qatar
Mexico
Senegal
Cameroon
Brazil
Netherlands
Iran
Canada
Belgium
Denmark
Japan
Ecuador
France
Germany
Morocco
Saudi Arabia
Argentina
Uruguay
Serbia
Ghana
England
Switzerland
Poland
IC playoff 1
Spain
USA
South Korea
IC playoff 2
Portugal
Croatia
Tunisia
Euro playoff

When is the World Cup?

Rather than being held in the summer, the quadrennial event is being held during November and December. Qatar 2022 will be contested at eight stadiums across five cities.

The schedule breakdown is below:

  • Group stage: Nov. 21 to Dec. 2
  • Round of 16: Dec. 3-6
  • Quarterfinals: Dec. 9-10
  • Semifinals: Dec. 13-14
  • Third place: Dec. 17
  • Final: Dec. 18

How does it impact the MLS schedule?

To best align with the 2022 international soccer calendar, the MLS regular season began earlier than ever before, kicking off on Feb. 26. It will run through Decision Day, the regular-season finale, on Oct. 9.

Following three consecutive weeks of Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs action, MLS Cup will be played on Nov. 5, more than two weeks prior to the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar on Nov. 21 and more than a week prior to the player release date on Nov. 14.

While the wintertime World Cup is causing many leagues abroad to go on pause, the MLS schedule’s cadence fits rather seamlessly into the tournament’s structure.