With the final qualifying window now closed it’s time to take a look at the AFC 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. For football fans all around the world, they almost certainly have to be a feeling of withdrawal running through your veins at the moment. We are in a World Cup year and we are in the middle of June and there is no World Cup to speak of yet.
Unfortunately for all of us, we have to wait at least another five months until we get to watch the world’s most beautiful game played on the world’s most beautiful stage. After several pushbacks due to a global pandemic and other factors, we finally know all 32 teams that will be heading to Qatar in November for their chance at World Cup glory.
It has certainly been a wild ride over the last year and a half during World Cup qualifying regardless of the region your favorite country happens to be playing in. Each and every region has its own unique challenges and difficulties that you face throughout the long grueling process that is World Cup qualifying. Today we will be taking a look at The five nations from the Asian region that qualified for the 2022 World Cup. Those nations are the host country of Qatar, Iran, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and intercontinental playoff winner Australia.
FIFA World Cup Qualifiers
Starting with the host, Qatar, this will be their first-ever appearance in the FIFA World Cup and they are hoping it is surely going to be a memorable one for more reasons than just negative press. As of the 31st of March, they are ranked 51st in the world, in the most recent competition they finished in third place in the CONCACAF Gold Cup as an invited guest. They are also the winners of the most recent Asian Cup as well, as they brought home their first major confederation trophy back in 2019. They have started out 2022 with a record of 1 win and 1 draw as they didn’t have to go through World Cup qualifying.
Up next is another Middle Eastern country, Iran. They topped group A of the Asian Football Confederation qualifying with 25 points in 10 games. As they ended up being the overall points leader as well, averaging 2.5 points per result. They currently find themselves ranked 21sf in the world in the latest rankings as well, as their group B assignment is the highest-ranked group on average at this year’s FIFA World Cup. It is a group that also features the United States, Wales, and England. Their lone loss in qualifying was a 0-2 defeat to fellow World Cup team South Korea in Seoul.
S Korea v Gabon line up, Olympics men’s football, Wembley by David Hawgood is licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0
South Korea finished in second place in group A and will be heading to Qatar in 2022. They are a serious dark horse contender to be the last Asian team remaining at the FIFA World Cup. Their best finish was in 2002 when they hosted the competition and that year they ended up in fourth place. This will be their tenth straight appearance in the FIFA World Cup. They will play in Group H alongside Portugal, Ghana, and Uruguay.
Next up is Saudi Arabia, they finished in first place in group B in Asian qualifying. They only fell once in World Cup Qualifying as they lost to Japan on the road. This will be their sixth appearance in the FIFA World Cup and their best finish was in 1994 and 2018 where they made it to the round of 16. They will play in Group B alongside Mexico, Poland, and Argentina. In my opinion, they have the hardest draw out of all the other qualified teams in the Asian confederation.
Australia is the last team to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and they did it via the Intercontinental Playoff as they defeated Peru. They finished in third place in Group B during qualifying and defeated the United Arab Emirates in the Asian Playoff to advance to the game against Peru. They will play in Group D alongside France, Denmark, and Tunisia. This will be their fifth straight FIFA World Cup appearance and sixth overall. In my opinion they have a real chance to make it out of the group stage.