Wales will be ranked among lowest seeds for World Cup draw – if they beat Austria
FIFA has confirmed that Wales will be grouped with the lowest seeded teams in the World Cup draw next week – if they beat Austria in Cardiff on Thursday evening in their semi-final playoff.
The winner of the clash must then wait to play the winner of the Scotland-Ukraine semi-final, which has been postponed until June due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The playoff final must then be played before the end of the international window in June.
The Final Draw for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will take place on 1 April in Doha
Scotland and Ukraine will also be included in the draw along with the lowest-ranked seeds in Pot 4.
Announcing the procedure for the draw, world football’s governing body revealed the three teams still in with a chance of progressing through the play-offs when the draw takes place, will be treated as one entrant, and placed in pot four with the lowest-ranked nations.
The 28 teams that have already qualified teams will be allocated seedings to pots 1 to 4 based on the FIFA World Ranking, which will released on 31 March following the conclusion of the latest international match window.
As hosts, Qatar will take position A1 from Pot 1, where they will be joined by the seven highest-ranked qualified teams from rankings.
The countries occupying positions 8-15 will be allocated to Pot 2, while the 16th-23rd best-ranked qualifiers will be placed in Pot 3. Finally, Pot 4 will include 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 winner.
The intercontinental play-offs will be contested on 13-14 June in Qatar, with the AFC representative facing the CONMEBOL representative and the Concacaf representative taking on the OFC representative.
Teams from the same confederation will be kept apart in each of the eight groups with the exception of UEFA, which is represented by 13 teams. Five out of the eight groups will therefore have two European teams.
FIFA and UEFA confirmed the suspension of all Russian teams from international football competition following the invasion of Ukraine last month.
The suspension resulted in the postponement of the play-off semi-final between Russia and Poland.
Poland received a bye as a consequence and will now face off against the winner of the semi-final between Sweden and the Czech Republic.
Wales secured their place in the play-offs after finishing second in group Group E and lost only one qualifier – away to the eventual group winners Belgium.
Wales’ only previous appearance at the World Cup finals was in 1958, when they reached the quarter-finals in Sweden.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.