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World Cup 2022: Teams and Groups

Qualification is complete and the groups have been confirmed; it’s time for Qatar 2022 to commence. But which nations are likely to progress from their groups? And where can you find the best odds for World Cup group qualification? Our World Cup 2022 teams guide contains everything you need to know.

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Group A

Group A promises to be a pleasing one for the purists given it contains four representatives from four different continents. But it’s tough to see beyond the Netherlands reigning supreme here.

The latest World Cup betting odds suggest that it will likely to be a fight between Senegal and Ecuador for the second qualifying spot, with Africa Cup of Nations winners Senegal considered favourites to edge into the knockouts.

Qatar

Qatar

Never write off the home nation. Qatar are far from favourites in this tournament and will be unlikely winners, but this is a nation which has spent an estimated £138 billion to host a one-month tournament. They’re taking the World Cup seriously.

To date, the only host nation not to progress from the group phase was South Africa in 2010. This alone makes the 5/1 to qualify with bet365 an interesting prospect.

Despite some big losses in 2021, Qatar won the Asian Cup back in 2019. Could they surprise us?

Ecuador

Ecuador

Ecuador will require a series of upsets to escape Group A. They’re up against tough opposition: the host nation, the African Cup of Nations champions, and an in-form Netherlands.

Their recent results haven’t been great, either. While other World Cup teams qualified comfortably, Ecuador lost six of their 18 games en route to the Finals. That’s one loss in every three matches.

Those who enjoy betting on the English Premier League may recognise a few names in the Ecuador squad such as ex-Hammer Enner Valencia and Brighton’s Moisés Caicedo. Whether they’re enough to help the country progress remains to be seen.

Senegal

Senegal

A narrow win on penalties saw Senegal emerge as the 2022 African Cup of Nations champions ahead of Egypt, and the Lions of Teranga once again put the sword to Egypt as only one of the two World Cup teams qualified following their next big match.

It takes quite a team to silence Mo Salah on multiple occasions, and that’s why many will be tipping Senegal to emerge from Group A as runners-up. However, they’ll have to do it without star player Sadio Mané who has been ruled out of the tournament after suffering an injury playing for Bayern Munich.

Netherlands

Netherlands

There will be some who say Louis can Gaal was a success as Manchester United manager, having won the FA Cup, but the majority will feel that he failed to end their slump in the way it was hoped he could. But that’s not the case with the Netherlands. They’ve gradually improved under the fiery Dutchman and are now one of the tournament’s in-form teams.

Undefeated in their Nations League group – which included world number two-ranked Belgium – and supported by a cast including Virgil van Dijk, Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong and Memphis Depay, the Netherlands will be confident of advancing to the knockout stages.

Group B

England have been drawn in what some might claim to be an ‘easy’ group, but their own stuttering form in recent months will be cause for concern, and nothing should be taken for granted.

England’s depth of talent means they should sail through regardless, though who joins them is a tough call.

England

England

After reaching the World Cup semi-final in 2018 and the final of Euro 2020, England should be one of the World Cup 2022 teams that have a lot of optimism. And the odds reflect that, as they’re among the favourites to win the competition outright.

But a recent drop in form which saw them relegated from the Nation’s League A coincides with increasing pressure on manager Gareth Southgate from the English media, as well as key players like Harry Maguire not even playing regular football for their clubs.

Can England finally bring it home, or will this be another major tournament shrouded in negativity for the Three Lions?

Iran

Iran

Of all the World Cup teams that qualified for this tournament, Iran are among the rank outsiders. Posting up at odds of 750/1 suggests this may be a short-lived event for Team Melli.

But there’s been a twist in the tale. Former Real Madrid manager (and Manchester United assistant coach under Sir Alex Ferguson) Carlos Queiroz has stepped into the managerial role, announcing his arrival with an impressive 1-0 victory over former World Cup winners Uruguay. Following an eight-year stint with Iran, Queiroz joined Colombia and then Egypt before his surprise reinstatement.

With 61 wins out of 101 matches as manager of Iran, the stats suggest they’re not to be ignored. But the group they face will surely prove too much of an uphill struggle.

USA

USA

When assessing the teams at the World Cup, Gareth Southgate will have been quietly relieved to see the USA emerge from the second-seed pot in Group B. While fans in the US may be expecting big things, their team is not the strongest. Even the star players they do have, such as Christian Pulisic, have recently been struggling to make an impact at club level.

With that said, England have not beaten the USA in either of their two meetings in World Cup matches before; the USA won 1-0 in 1950, then England were held to a 1-1 draw in 2010.

Wales

Wales

Wales have had their share of problems over the past few years, not least their manager being released due to some serious legal allegations. But they always have an ace up their sleeve – and that ace goes by the name Gareth Bale.

The proud Welshman’s adoration for his country is so well-recognised that he himself has joined in on jokes about his preference for Wales (and golf) above former club Real Madrid. Some argued that he carried this Wales team to World Cup qualification, including his match-winning free kick against Ukraine.

Wales could hardly have asked for a more favourable draw, and will be hopeful of squeezing through into the knockout stages – and perhaps even getting one over neighbours England in the process.

To Qualify From Group B: 5/4 with Spreadex
To Win Group B: 11/2 at 888sport
To Win World Cup: 150/1 at 888sport

2022 FIFA World Cup Countdown Clock on Doha's corniche

Group C

Messi will be looking to trump his de facto nemesis Cristiano Ronaldo by finally winning a World Cup as they enter the twilight of their careers, and he has the perfect stage for it in Group C.

The Poland vs Mexico result could decide who goes through in second, though Saudi Arabia’s defensive record means they’re capable of an upset.

Argentina

Argentina

For a long time, Argentina have had high expectations placed on them at major competitions and fallen short. But perhaps their recent victory at the Copa América could change that.

Lionel Messi is no longer in his prime and would cherish the opportunity to win the biggest trophy in all of football. It would help cement his legacy as perhaps the greatest footballer of all time, and would provide further ammo to the eternal Messi versus Ronaldo debate.

Messi aside, this Argentina side is more dogged than dazzling, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Can Lionel Scaloni go all the way and fend off every other World Cup 2022 team?

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

It’s difficult to picture any scenario where Saudi Arabia go all the way, but it’s not beyond the realms of possibility for them to escape the group if they hit a patch of good fortune. This is a team who have shut out almost everyone that has come their way. You may be surprised to learn that, before they joined the list of teams qualified for the World Cup, they kept nine clean sheets in ten as part of their third-phase group games.

Salem Al-Dawsari will be one of the key players to watch, a spritely winger who currently plies his trade in La Liga for Villareal.

Mexico

Mexico

The Mexico national team has a fairly strong reputation and history of high-quality players, but they struggled to become a team who qualified for the World Cup 2022. In two games against the US and two more against Canada, they racked up a measly two points. That doesn’t breed confidence heading into a World Cup.

Nonetheless, this squad has experience from back to front – literally. You’ll likely see much of 36-year-old shot stopper Guillermo Ochoa between the sticks, with 27-year-old Napoli striker Hirving Lozano heading up the attack.

The odds suggest Mexico could qualify. Will there be an upset?

Poland

Poland

Tough times off the field in Poland’s region of the world may serve as an important distraction, but the national team will be doing their best to give the fans back home something to cheer about.

When you think about how many teams are in the World Cup, it’s surprising that the likes of Mo Salah and Zlatan Ibrahimović couldn’t qualify – and the latter is down to Poland. With Robert Lewandoski as the focal point, there’s always a chance your team can do some damage.

That’s precisely what Poland will be hoping for in Qatar.

Group D

France should crush Group D with ease and progress to the Round of 16, where they’ll be looking to bounce back from their EURO 2020 exit to Switzerland.

Denmark should be joining them if all things go to plan, and the rest of Group D poses little serious threat. In theory, at least.

France

France

Of all the teams that required a favourable group, France would be possibly last on the list. Yet they got one anyway.

It’s very tough to imagine any scenario other than France roaring to the top of Group D. The current World Cup champions may have had a forgettable Euro 2020 campaign, having been eliminated by Switzerland in the Round of 16 stage, but they’re still brimming with incredible talent. Kylian Mbappé (one of the favourites in the World Cup top goalscorer betting odds), Antoine Griezmann, Hugo Loris – the list goes on and on.

France are certainly one of the teams at the World Cup who will be expected to win the tournament.

Australia

Australia

Some bookies have Australia at longer odds than Tunisia to qualify from Group D, which is a damning reality for the Socceroos.

Given how many teams are in the World Cup, there will always be a handful who have very little chance of progressing. This is the fifth World Cup in a row in which Australia have qualified but, in order to get past the group stage, they’ll likely need a big result against either Denmark or France, while also fending off Tunisia.

If that’s ever to happen, number one-choice goalkeeper Mathew Ryan will need to be in absolute top form.

Denmark

Denmark

Denmark displayed some fine form in their run to join the World Cup teams qualified for the tournament in Qatar, winning nine of their 10 qualifiers. That’s bordering on showboating.

One of the most recognisable names in the squad is of course Christian Eriksen, who completes a fairy-tale return after his cardiac arrest on the pitch at EURO 2020. After getting match-fit at Brentford, the eagle-eyed Dane upgraded to 20-time league champions Manchester United – but his aim here will be squarely on getting Denmark through to the knockout stages.

They’re second-favourites to win the group outright, but beat France 2-0 when they faced off in September. Could they surprise everyone by topping the table?

Tunisia

Tunisia

Wahbi Khazri is a name that English fans may or may not recognise after the Tunisian spent a short and forgettable spell at Sunderland. Apart from that, he’s always played his football in France, as have many of the Tunisia squad. And they’ll be hoping that knowledge helps them pull off a massive shock against Deschamps’s men.

Keep your eyes peeled for Hannibal Mejbri, too. The Manchester United youngster is a bundle of energy whose passion is matched by top technical ability.

Poland v England World Cup qualifier

Group E

Group E easily boasts one of the most exciting fixtures of the group stages: Germany vs Spain. And both will be expected to qualify.

So often with this type of group where it seems so predictable, a rogue team manages to qualify. Could Costa Rica or Japan cause an upset?

Spain

Spain

As soon as you hear ‘Spain’, you expect a challenge on the pitch. But it has to be acknowledged that this current crop have endured two very poor World Cup performances in back-to-back tournaments.

And they struggled in qualifying. Luis Enrique’s men only beat Georgia and Sweden thanks to last-minute winners. They also only managed a draw against Greece.

Nonetheless, this is a nation which has four major trophies to its name, including back-to-back-to-back wins at Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012. It would be a massive disappointment if they didn’t qualify from this group.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica

If you’re doing a bit of research on how many teams are at the World Cup 2022 and looking to unearth a few key players for smaller nations, there’s one name which is perpetually attached to Costa Rica: Keylor Navas.

The 35-year-old PSG goalkeeper and former Golden Glove nominee could be playing his final World Cup, which is exactly the kind of motivation he’ll need when he faces the likes of Germany and Spain. Navas isn’t a favourite in the World Cup Golden Glove betting odds, but he’ll certainly be kept busy.

Though Costa Rica will be written off by most, they did defend well in the final round of World Cup qualifiers. In 14 matches, they kept seven clean sheets. They have a big task ahead, but don’t expect Costa Rica to go out without a fight.

Germany

Germany

Four-time World Cup champions, three-time European Football Championship winners, and one of the favourites to win the competition: this is a team which will have a huge impact on the World Cup 2022.

Many will remember the embarrassing fashion in which Germany crashed out of the World Cup 2018, being dealt the finishing blow by South Korea in the round of 16. And their Euro 2020 campaign wasn’t much better.

But you never write off Germany. Although recent form has been shaky, current manager Hansi Flick has helped restore a sense of pride to the nation. Now’s their chance to show the world they’re back.

Japan

Japan

With two former World Cup winners in the group, Japan would be forgiven for cursing their luck at a tough draw. Of the World Cup teams who qualified, the Japanese were one of the surprises. Their direct passing game was effective, and they beat fellow World Cup qualifiers Australia 2-0.

Another decent scalp in recent months was their powerful 4-1 win over Ghana in the Kirin Cup, before Japan eventually lost in the final. Much of this attacking prowess is thanks to Daichi Kamada, an attacking midfielder who plays for Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga.

Group F

This exciting group is one to watch. Both Belgium and Croatia have the potential to go far in this tournament, and their early tangle will be an indicator of which nation wants it more.

Canada fans will be thrilled at the prospect of a first World Cup since 1986, while Morocco were undefeated in qualification.

Belgium

Belgium

Highlighting Belgium as a team to watch is no longer a hipster shout, but commonplace. However, this talented batch of players which includes Kevin De Bruyne (31), Eden Hazard (31) and Romelu Lukaku (29) is running out of time if they want to make a massive impact at a major tournament.

Belgium were undefeated in their World Cup qualification campaign and are ranked second in the world FIFA rankings, yet are still as big as 17/1 to win the tournament. This could be in part due to their potential route to the final.

If Belgium win their group – and they should – they’ll face the runners-up of Group E in the round of 16. That means they’ll likely play either Spain or Germany, which could spell disaster for the Red Devils.

Canada

Canada

For just the second time ever, Canada joins the list of teams qualified for the World Cup – and they have a score to settle. Last time out, in 1986, The Maple Leafs withered out at the group stages with no wins, no points, and no goals scored. They won’t want to repeat that at the World Cup in 2022.

Bayern Munich left-back Alphonso Davies is their most well-known player and will be essential if Canada are to mount any serious charge of escaping Group F.

Morocco

Morocco

What to make of Morocco? On the one hand, they’re one of few teams who qualified for the World Cup undefeated, frequently hammering in three or more goals.

On the other hand, the controversial coach who achieved all of that – Vahid Halilhodzic – has been relieved of his duties. A noteworthy quarrel with Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech threatened to derail their World Cup and the Bosnian was giving his marching orders. It was the third time the coach, who is known for falling out with his own players, managed to get a team to the World Cup finals but then lost his job before the tournament began.

Former Toulouse player Walid Regragui is the new man in charge, and an opening 2-0 win against Chile has got the fans excited. Will Morocco find a way out of Group F?

Croatia

Croatia

When Croatia defeated England in the World Cup 2018 semi-finals, you’d have thought that would be Luka Modric’s last hurrah at a major tournament. Yet four years later, fresh off the back of a La Liga and Champion’s League double, the 5’8” sting-puller and former Ballon d’Or winner is still commanding the park for both Real Madrid and the national team.

As second favourites to qualify, dark horses Croatia will be looking to get out of Group F and make another charge at this World Cup. They weren’t really tested in World Cup qualification, but it will be a lip-smacking fixture when they take on world number two Belgium.

Attacking football player passing the ball

Group G

Every World Cup, it seems Brazil are either hot favourites or close to it. Could it finally be time for them to reclaim their throne after a 20-year hiatus?

Serbia and Switzerland are likely to battle it out for second spot, with Cameroon completing Group G.

Brazil

Brazil

Brazil are back, baby! We all remember the humiliating low of the Seleção being humiliated 7-1 by Germany in their own back yard, but that was eight years ago. Today, the team is led by Adenor Leonardo Bacchi – better known simply as ‘Tite’ – and look a different prospect altogether.

In 2018 they were eliminated by worthy adversaries Belgium, and the next year they captured the Copa América – even with star player Neymar sidelined through injury. Brazil topped their group in World Cup qualification. No team beat them in 17 games – including Argentina – and they conceded just five goals while smashing in 40.

Most bookies have Brazil down as favourites to win the World Cup 2022, and we’re not arguing with them.

Serbia

Serbia

When you think of Serbia, a gung-ho, all-out-attack mentality may not spring to mind. But that’s not far off the reality, as the Serbs kept just one clean sheet en route to joining the teams qualified for the World Cup.

They have plenty of attacking talent, too. There’s Duscan Tadic, Luka Jovic, and Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrović – a man who notched six goals in as many games at the start of this season’s Premier League campaign.

Switzerland

Switzerland

Switzerland are a solid and consistent side who are capable of causing an upset against one of the top teams at the World Cup. They beat Portugal 1-0 in the Nations league in June, held now-eliminated Italy to a draw twice in the World Cup 2022 qualification phase, and knocked out champions France at EURO 2020.

Of course, it’s often not the best sign when your most famous player is your goalkeeper, but when that man is Yann Sommer it’s understandable. The 33-year-old shot stopper has been a colossus in the Bundesliga, even setting a new league record of 19 saves in August as he helped Borussia Mönchengladbach pin Bayern Munich to a 1-1 draw.

Cameroon

Cameroon

Cameroon don’t appear to be a major threat to the chances of Brazil, Serbia or Switzerland – especially based on their scrappy form in joining the teams qualified for the World Cup. It took an extra time winner and the away-goals rule against Algeria for the national team to cement their place in Qatar, and the level of opposition they’ll face leads to the conclusion that their tournament will likely be short-lived.

Again, we’re going for the goalie as our one to watch. Andre Onana, now at Inter Milan after switching from Ajax (following a controversial drugs ban), was voted Best African Goalkeeper in 2018 and, in 2020, he made the IFFHS CAF Men Team of the Year.

Group H

This could very well be Cristiano Ronaldo’s final World Cup, and he won’t disappear quietly. But Portugal are not shoe-ins to win this group.

A reuniting of Ghana and Uruguay on the World Cup stage should make for a fiery affair after their 2010 controversy. And don’t forget about Son Heung-min and the Korean Republic, who could also have an impact.

Portugal

Portugal

It took a playoff victory for the Portugal team to qualify for the World Cup, although one wonders if that was part of Ronaldo’s masterplan to try and add a few more international notches to his record-breaking goal scoring tally. The lethally clinical Manchester United winger-turned-forward has 117 goals for Portugal, which is more than anybody has scored for any country, ever.

This is a team that won EURO 2016, yet belief in the Portuguese camp has diluted a little since that magical day at the Stade de France. More recently, question marks have been raised about manager Fernando Santos’s setup; too defensive is one of the common complaints. However, that will all be quickly forgotten if they make a strong run towards their first-ever World Cup final.

Ghana

Ghana

Just a few years ago, Ghana were a force to be reckoned with on the international stage. Many will remember the injustice as former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez blatantly handballed it off the line in extra time to deny Ghana a deserved semi-final slot at World Cup 2010. Now, the two teams are set to meet again.

Sadly for the Black Stars, the team is not what it once was. Qualifying for this World Cup was a struggle which required a very debatable penalty versus South Africa, plus the away-goal rule to see off Nigeria. Inaki Williams could be a bright spark, but the African nation has a mountain to climb.

Uruguay

Uruguay

When you lose a coach who has been with you as long as Óscar Tabárez had Uruguay, you generally expect a rocky period. Think Sir Alex Ferguson leaving Manchester United, or Arsène Wenger departing from Arsenal.

But Diego Alonso seems to be under no pressure after taking the reins from his predecessor of 15 years. Uruguay’s four wins in four games was the perfect start for the former journeyman who played in Uruguay, Argentina, Spain, Mexico and China. Now, he’ll be looking to the likes of Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez and Real Madrid starlet Federico Valverde to set the South Americans on a memorable World Cup run.

Korea Republic

Korea Republic

It’s an obvious shout, but there’s only one man who can help the Korean Republic have any chance of qualifying. After all, how many teams in World Cup 2022 have a player of Son Heung-min’s quality in their roster?

One defeat in 10 qualifiers will have instilled a decent level of confidence in Paulo Bento’s men ahead of the tournament in Qatar, but this is where the real hard work begins.

FAQs

How many teams are in the World Cup 2022?

A total of 32 teams have qualified for FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. These 32 teams are divided into eight groups of four, with half progressing to the first knockout stage.

Has England qualified for the World Cup?

Yes! England were undefeated in their qualification for World Cup 2022, winning eight and drawing two of their 10 group games against Poland, Albania, Hungary, Andorra and San Marino.

How are groups chosen for World Cup?

World Cup teams qualify through regional tournaments and are then seeded into four pots, with one team from each pot being chosen at random to join each group. This helps ensure an even balance of quality.

How many teams qualify from the World Cup groups?

Of the 32 World Cup teams who’ve qualified, 16 will progress to the first knockout stage, also known as the Round of 16. To qualify, a team must finish either first or second in their group.

About the author

Eric Roberts
Eric Roberts

Sports Journalist

Eric has been a sports journalist for over 20 years and has travelled the world covering top sporting events for a number of publications. He also has a passion for betting and uses his in-depth knowledge of the sports world to pinpoint outstanding odds and value betting opportunities.