The draw for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has been made, and England’s path to glory has been mapped out – but who stands between Gareth Southgate’s side and the greatest prize of all?
After reaching the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia and losing on penalties to Italy in the final of Euro 2020, England are bidding to reach successive tournament finals in Qatar – and go one, huge step further by winning a first trophy since 1966.
England must navigate three group-stage matches and then three knockout games to have any chance of getting their hands on the World Cup in the final in Doha on December 18, 2022. Here’s the Three Lions’ route to the final …
- Wales / Scotland / Ukraine
England potentially face a first-ever ‘Battle of Britain’ at a World Cup finals.
The Three Lions will be up against either Scotland, Wales, or Ukraine in the group stage in Qatar, with that play-off path still to be settled in June due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Gareth Southgate’s men will kick off Group B on the tournament’s opening day against Iran, a side they have never faced in a senior competitive international.
They will also face the United States, who they have met twice in the World Cup finals – in 1950 and 2010 – failing to win on either occasion.
England have never faced Scotland or Wales at a World Cup finals but do have recent European Championship experience against the fellow Home Nations, drawing 0-0 with Scotland in the group stages of Euro 2020, and beating Wales 2-1 in the group stages of Euro 2016.
Round of 16
If England were to win Group B, their round-of-16 tie would take place at Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, on December 4 and see the Three Lions paired against runners up in Group A – Qatar, Ecuador, Senegalor Netherlands.
Were England to progress but fail to win the group then Group A winners – likely the Netherlands or African champions Senegal – would be England’s first opposition in the knockout phase, with that round-of-16 tie taking place at the Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan on December 3.
Group winners England would then face world champions France in the quarter-finals, providing the 2018 World Cup winners topped their group and overcame potentially Argentina, Mexico or Poland in the last 16.
The Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor would play host to England for the second successive round, with the last-eight tie taking place on December 10.
As Group B runners-up and last-16 winners, England would continue their journey on the other side of the draw and could be paired with Argentina or Denmark at the quarter-final stage. The Three Lions would switch venues to the Lusail Iconic Stadium for the last-eight tie on December 9.
If England were to navigate their way to the semi-finals as group winners, the likely winners of Groups F and H – Belgium or Portugal – could stand between the Three Lions and a place in the World Cup final on December 14 at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor.
England’s journey to the World Cup semi-finals after finishing second in the group stages would potentially set up a last-four tie against Spain / Germany or Brazil.
After reaching the World Cup final as group winners, 2010 winners Spain2014 champions Germany or four-time winners Brazil could be the final hurdle for England to overcome.
France, Belgium or Portugal would be England’s potential opponents were they to reach the final at the Lusail Iconic Stadium on December 18 after finishing runners-up in Group B.
2022 World Cup draw
- Group A: Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands
- Group B: England, Iran, USA, European play-off *
- Group C: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland
- Group D: France, Intercontinental play-off 1 *, Denmark, Tunisia
- Group E: Spain, Intercontinental play-off 2 *, Germany, Japan
- Group F: Belgium, Ghana, Morocco, Croatia
- Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon
- Group H: Portugal, Canada, Uruguay, South Korea
* European play-off – Wales / Scotland / Ukraine
** Intercontinental play-off 1 – United Arab Emirates / Australia / Peru
*** Intercontinental play-off 2 – Costa Rica / New Zealand
What is the World Cup format and schedule?
The 2022 World Cup will feature 32 teams in eight groups of four.
Four matches will be played each day during the group stage, which will run over a 12-day period and see winners and runners-up progress to the round of 16.
Matches will only be assigned to particular venues after the finals draw, so organizers can choose optimal kick-off times to suit television audiences in different countries, as well as supporters out in Qatar.
Unlike at Euro 2020, there will be a third-place play-off game on December 17.
Monday November 21
Group A: Qatar vs Ecuador (Al-Bayt Stadium, Al Khor; kick off 10am)
Group A: Senegal vs Netherlands
Group B: England vs Iran
Group B: USA vs Scotland / Wales / Ukraine
Tuesday November 22
Group C: Argentina vs Saudi Arabia
Group C: Mexico vs Poland
Group D: France vs UAE / Australia / Peru
Group D: Denmark vs Tunisia
Wednesday November 23
Group E: Spain vs Costa Rica / New Zealand
Group E: Germany vs Japan
Group F: Belgium vs Canada
Group F: Morocco vs Croatia
Thursday November 24
Group G: Brazil vs Serbia
Group G: Switzerland vs Cameroon
Group H: Portugal vs Ghana
Group H: Uruguay vs South Korea
Friday November 25
Group A: Qatar vs Senegal
Group A: Netherlands vs Ecuador
Group B: England vs USA
Group B: Scotland / Wales / Ukraine vs Iran
Saturday November 26
Group C: Argentina vs Mexico
Group C: Poland vs Saudi Arabia
Group D: France vs Denmark
Group D: Tunisia vs UAE / Australia / Peru
Sunday November 27
Group E: Spain vs Germany
Group E: Japan vs Costa Rica / New Zealand
Group F: Belgium vs Morocco
Group F: Croatia vs Canada
Monday November 28
Group G: Brazil vs Switzerland
Group G: Cameroon vs Serbia
Group H: Portugal vs Uruguay
Group H: South Korea vs Ghana
Tuesday November 29
Group A: Netherlands vs Qatar
Group A: Ecuador vs Senegal
Group B: Scotland / Wales / Ukraine vs England
Group B: Iran vs USA
Wednesday November 30
Group C: Poland vs Argentina
Group C: Saudi Arabia vs Mexico
Group D: Tunisia vs France
Group D: UAE / Australia / Peru vs Denmark
Thursday December 1
Group E: Japan vs Spain
Group E: Costa Rica / New Zealand vs Germany
Group F: Croatia vs Belgium
Group F: Canada vs Morocco
Friday, December 2
Group G: Cameroon vs Brazil
Group G: Serbia vs Switzerland
Group H: South Korea vs Portugal
Group H: Ghana vs Uruguay
Round of 16
Saturday December 3
49 – Winners of Group A vs. Runners-up of Group B (Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan; kick-off 3pm)
50 – Winners of Group C vs. Runners-up of Group D (Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan; kick-off 7pm)
Sunday December 4
52 – Winners of Group D vs. Runners-up of Group C (Al Thumama Stadium, Doha; kick-off 3pm)
51 – Winners of Group B vs. Runners-up of Group A (Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor; kick-off 7pm)
Monday December 5
53 – Winners of Group E vs. Runners-up of Group F (Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah; kick-off 3pm)
54 – Winners of Group G vs. Runners-up of Group H (Stadium 974, Doha; kick-off 7pm)
Tuesday December 6
55 – Winners of Group F vs. Runners-up of Group E (Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan; kick-off 3pm)
56 – Winners of Group H vs. Runners-up of Group G (Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail; kick-off 7pm)
Friday December 9
58 – Winners of 53 vs. Winners of 54 (Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan; kick-off 3pm)
57 – Winners of 49 vs. Winners of 50 (Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail; 3pm)
Saturday December 10
60 – Winners of 55 vs. Winners of 56 (Al Thumama Stadium, Doha; kick-off 3pm)
59 – Winners of 51 vs. Winners of 52 (Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor; kick-off 7pm)
Tuesday December 13
61 – Winners of 57 vs. Winners of 58 (Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail; kick-off 7pm)
Wednesday December 14
62 – Winners of 59 vs. Winners of 60 (Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor; kick-off 7pm)
Saturday December 17
63 – Losers of 61 vs. Losers of 62 (Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan; kick-off 3pm)
Sunday December 18
64 – Winners of 61 vs. Winners of 62 (Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail; kick-off 7pm)
What will happen with the Premier League?
The Premier League has confirmed key dates for the 2022/23 campaign, with the season adjusted to accommodate a World Cup that takes place in the middle of the domestic calendar.
The season will start a week earlier than normal on August 6 2022, with 16 matchdays taking place up to the weekend of November 12/13, before the tournament kicks off on November 21.
The Premier League will resume on Boxing Day following the World Cup final, which takes place on December 18.
The final match round of the 2022/23 season will be played on May 28 2023.