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World Cup 2022 Qualifiers Betting Tips

The format

This is how a typical qualification campaign goes: each of FIFA’s six regional confederations is allotted a certain number of spots, based on the regions and countries that come under them. The confederations hold their qualifying campaigns and the top most sides gain direct entry into the World Cup, whereas those on the edge get to play inter-confederations playoffs to decide who advances.

Currently, the Asian Football Federation (AFC) has four to five qualification spots (depending on results); the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has five; the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) has three or four (depending on results); the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) has four or five (depending on results); the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) has zero or one (depending on results), whereas the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has 13 spots.

Meanwhile, the hosts Qatar, who have never played a world cup finals match before, have gained an automatic entry.

2020 qualifying campaigns as they stand right now

Currently, the AFC is conducting the second round of its qualification campaign. Syria, Australia, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Japan, Vietnam and Turkmenistan are the current group leaders, although that could change as half the matches are yet to be played.

CAF, too, is in the midst of the second round. Its group leaders are Algeria, Tunisia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, Egypt, Ghana, Senegal, Morocco and DR Congo.

CONCACAF’s qualification campaign, however, is still only in its first round, with Antigua and Barbuda, Canada, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Saint Kitts and Nevis being the holders of top spots in their respective groups.

CONMEBOL has a different format. Its 10 countries are all lumped in a single group. As of right now, Brazil sit at the top, Argentina are second, while Ecuador, Paraguay and Uruguay round up the top five.

OFC is the only body that has so far failed to start their qualification campaign. They’ve cited Covid-19 as the reason of the delay. They now intend to hold the matches in early 2022.

Lastly, there is UEFA – the continental body with the biggest stake. The European qualifiers are currently in their first round, with Portugal leading in Group A, Spain in Group B, Italy in Group C, France in Group D, Belgium in Group E, Denmark in Group F, Turkey in Group G, Croatia in Group H, England in Group I, and Armenia in Group J. Again, these rankings could look a lot different by the end of first round when all teams have played other members of their respective groups twice.

Whoever tops the group, will go straight to World Cup 2022. The second-placed sides will advance to the second round where they will be paired with the best two Nations League group winners that did not finish among the top two of their qualifying group.

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Game to watch out for

The 2022 World Cup qualifiers are scheduled to resume on June 4 when CONMEBOL holds its match day 7. The match days 5 and 6 were to be held in March but had to be postponed due to travel restrictions and several European clubs refusing to let go of their players.

That said, the highlight of match day 7 fixtures will, of course, be Argentina versus Chile in the former’s backyard. The two teams, over the course of 110 years of their history, have faced each other 92 times, of which Argentine have won 61, drawn 23 and lost just eight times. Of those eight wins was the one that came in the 2016 Copa America final. But penalties aside, Chile have not beaten Argentina over 90 minutes since 2008, and that match, too, was on Chile’s turf.

Chile have never beaten Argentina in Argentina, which is why the 1.68 return available on the home side is so tempting.

Brazil vs Ecuador also represents a lop-sided encounter but odds-wise, the return on Brazil is a paltry 1.31 – more than half of what you can get with Argentina, so pick wisely.

League Betting Odds

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Frequently asked questions

Are betting markets for qualifying rounds available easily?
The more high profile teams’ campaigns are widely covered by bookmakers. Asian, Oceanic, CONCACAF and CAF matches are not available with every book.
Do countries play full-strength squads in qualifying campaigns?
At times, clubs are reluctant to let their contracted players leave for national duty but the laws put in place by FIFA make it mandatory for clubs to not stand in the way of a player, if called up for national duty. However, those restrictions apply during the designated international fixtures windows fixed by FIFA. That said, the conflict between clubs and countries have diminished a great deal in recent years, and the latter do end up getting the best of their sons when needed. Thus, qualifying campaigns are pretty serious business and countries do get to play to their full strength.
Do World Cup qualifiers have any other purpose other than World Cup qualification?
Yes, some confederations also use the World Cup qualifiers as qualifying campaigns for their regional tournaments. For instance, the Asian qualifiers’ opening two rounds double as qualification for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.