For the first time in 36 years, the Canadian men’s national team will be involved in the World Cup draw.
It will trigger a lot of emotion to see the Canadian name pulled out of the pot and placed among some of the elite football nations.
For many, this will be their first experience of the lottery, how it is run and the consequences.
Fear not, because here’s everything you need to know about the 2022 World Cup draw.
When is the draw?
The draw will take place this Friday in Doha, Qatar, the venue for the 2022 World Cup opener on November 21. Starting at 12 noon ET / 9 a.m. PT.
How does the sweepstakes work?
The 32 teams are divided into four pots with eight teams each.
Teams are placed into pots based on their FIFA world rankings as of March 31. As the host, Qatar automatically seeded. The seven best-ranked teams – Brazil, Belgium, France, Argentina, England, Spain and Portugal – occupy the remainder of Pot 1 with Qatar.
From there, the next eight best-ranked teams are in Pot 2. They are the Netherlands, Denmark, Mexico, Germany, USA, Switzerland, Uruguay and Croatia. Then the next eight best-ranked countries are in Pot 3, and so on.
However, the remainder of Pot 4 includes the winners of the inter-confederation playoffs. Peru face winners Australia and United Arab Emirates in one game. Oceania qualifiers will face Costa Rica in another playoff. The winners will advance to the World Cup and be in Pot 4.
The winner of the Wales/Scotland/Ukraine playoff path from the UEFA qualifiers is also in Pot 4.
Teams will be drawn in the order of pots. All Pot 1 teams will be randomly placed into Groups B to H (Qatar is automatically in Group A as hosts), then Pot 2 teams go next and so on.
Can teams from the same confederation be in the same group?
Not. Teams from the same confederation cannot be drawn into the same group except for UEFA countries, where there is at least one and no more than two per group.
Countries from the same pot cannot be drawn together either.
Where is Canada underdog?
Following its loss to Panama on Wednesday night, Canada is in Pot 4.
Canada could have increased its seeding. Nigeria’s exit and Tunisia’s draw with Mali on Tuesday means that Canada’s win over Panama will be at odds Communists 30th in the world rankings, and as a result got into Pot 3.
However, the defeat saw Canada slip to 38th in the latest ranking and will remain in Pot 4, meaning unable to face any Concacaf nation, or any team in its pot.
What is the best-case scenario for Canada?
In the end, the World Cup is the pinnacle. There is no “easy” group, just a more balanced group that allows Canada to get an extra point or two.
With that in mind, Qatar will be the only team everyone wants in Group A. If that’s the case, no other team from the AFC could be placed in that group. One of the Pot 2 teams is a formidable opponent, so it’s a picky situation there.
As Canada will avoid a Pot 4 team and a second AFC team with Qatar already included, it will leave African Cup winners Senegal, Morocco, Serbia, Poland and Tunisia.
Avoiding Senegal would be a coup with the quality the team has and how much it has improved in tournament setting over the last few years. Maybe Canada should miss Poland’s Robert Lewandowski and a potential dark horse in Serbia as well.
Morocco have right-wingers Achraf Hakimi and Munir El Haddadi, Sevilla’s top goalkeeper Bono and club-mate Youssef En-Nesyri up front. This is the solid side.
The Tunisian attack is not among the elite in the African qualifiers, so it could be a better draw for Canada, especially with the attacking talent at his disposal. The Tunisian defense is excellent at pressing quality shots, though, conceding 8.23 shots per 90 minutes in all competitions over the last calendar year with expected goal (xG) is allowed at 0.88 per 90.
What is the worst-case scenario for Canada?
If Canada did not have Qatar then it would be behind the 8 ball. Whichever European or South American giant from the first two pots would be seeded to advance to the knockout stages.
The saving grace could be the Pot 3 team and the schedule. The Canadians will see the match as a winnable one and then from there, the pressure is on their other two opponents to emerge victorious.
The good news is Canada has nothing to lose at this stage and is a mentally tough team. They may not progress to the last 16, regardless of the group they belong to, but fans can rest assured that it will deliver a great result.
What is meant by ‘Death Group?’
Every World Cup has a ‘Group of Death’ so you can be sure we’ll see another one for 2022.
If you’re a neutral, it would be awesome to see one of the European powerhouses of the top two pots drawn with African Cup winners Senegal and Ecuador or Peru.
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