The 2022 FIFA World Cup is a little more than a year away. It is one of the world’s largest sporting events, and it promises to be nothing short of spectacular. We’re nearing the end of the group stage of World Cup Qualifiers around the world, and several top teams are showing signs of trouble.
Different formats for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in various continents
The World Cup will feature 13 European teams, five African teams, five Asian teams (four-plus host nation Qatar), four South American teams, and three North American teams. The winners of the intercontinental playoffs will fill the remaining two berths.
As things currently stand, several top teams are in danger of missing out on the quadrennial tournament. Without further ado, here are the five major teams in danger of failing to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Number 5: Sweden
Sweden’s chances of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup have been hampered by a shock defeat to Georgia this week. Both Aleksander Isak and Zlatan Ibrahimovic were guilty of squandering golden opportunities as the Swedes lost the opportunity to maintain their lead over Spain.
Sweden currently sits second in Group B with 15 points and is poised to advance to the playoffs. Their only remaining match in the group, however, is against group leaders in Spain. With 16 points, La Roja currently leads Group B. As a result, the match between Sweden and Spain on Sunday will be a high-stakes affair.
Sweden has many talented players, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Aleksander Isak, Emil Forsberg, and Victor Lindelof, and it would be a shame if they did not qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Number 4: Japan
At the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Japan was one of the most impressive teams. They advanced to the knockout stages after finishing second in a group that included Colombia, Poland, and Senegal.
Japan also jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the Round of 16 against European behemoths Belgium. They put on an inspired performance, but an onslaught from the Belgian Red Devils in the final 20 minutes destroyed them. Japan was defeated 3-2, with Belgium’s Nacer Chadli scoring the game-winning goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
There are several well-known faces on the current Japanese national team. Takumi Minamino, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Maya Yoshida, and Junya Ito are all superb players. However, they are currently third in Group B of the Asian World Cup Qualifiers. As a result, they are now vying for the final playoff spot.
They can still turn things around because they have three games left. Japan’s final 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches will be against Saudi Arabia, Australia, and Vietnam.
Number 3: Wales
Wales currently sits third in Group E of the European World Cup Qualifiers, having collected 11 points from six games. They are tied for second place with the Czech Republic in terms of points but have a lower goal difference. However, Ryan Giggs’ men have a game in hand over the Czech Republic.
But here’s where things get complicated. The Czech Republic will play Estonia in their final group game of the Qualifiers. Wales will play Belarus on Saturday, but their final game will be against Belgium.
As things stand, Wales will have to play their hearts out just to make the playoffs. This could be Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale’s last chance to play in a World Cup. However, the Welshmen appear to repeat the same old story of being utterly poor in World Cup qualifying.
Number 2: Switzerland and Italy
Italy’s chances of qualifying for the World Cup were dealt a major blow on Friday when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Switzerland. Jorginho missed a penalty as the Azzurri blew an opportunity to put some distance between themselves and second-placed Switzerland.
Italy and Switzerland are currently tied for first place in terms of points. Both teams have 15 points after seven games, but Italy has a goal difference of +11 while Switzerland has a goal difference of +9. In their final game, Roberto Mancini’s men will face the Republic of Ireland, while Switzerland will face Bulgaria.
Switzerland had a strong showing at Euro 2020. They defeated tournament favorites France in the Round of 16 before losing in a penalty shootout to Spain in the quarter-finals.
Number 1: Uruguay
Uruguay is a South American footballing powerhouse. South America will send four teams to the FIFA World Cup in 2022. Brazil and Argentina are both in excellent form, and their qualifying campaigns are on track. Ecuador and Chile currently hold the remaining two spots.
Uruguay is sixth in the table after losing their last three games and going winless in their last four World Cup qualifiers. They have the same number of points as fourth-placed Chile but a slightly lower goal difference. Chile has a GD of +1, while Uruguay has a GD of -4.
Colombia is currently fifth in the standings, with a goal difference of -1. On the other hand, Uruguay has a relatively easy set of fixtures coming up, as they have completed both games against Argentina and Brazil.
Chile will play Argentina and Brazil. Colombia’s games against the Selecao have concluded, but they will face La Albiceleste again. Uruguay still has a chance, but they cannot afford to make any mistakes.
It would be a shame if Uruguay were to miss out on a spot, as this could be the final World Cup for Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani.