Concacaf seeds preliminary groups for Qatar 2022 qualifying

August 13 – Concacaf will hold the draw for its reformatted 2022 World Cup qualifiers next Wednesday (August 19), and has announced the seeded pots for the first round group stages that will see 30 teams in action.

El Salvador, Canada, Curaçao, Panama, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago are the top seeded teams for the first round group draw that will create six groups of five teams.

These matches are scheduled for the October and November 2020 FIFA match windows with the caveat that the coronavirus pandemic does not mean that playing them creates a potential public health threat. The Asian Football Confederation yesterday announced that the remaining games of its first group stage 2022 World Cup qualifiers had been shifted from the end of this year into 2021 following concern over the spread of Covid-19, different international travel and quarantine requirements and player and public health concerns.

Concacaf’s new format will see teams in each group playing each other once with the six group winners progressing to a knock-out stage. The three knock-out winners will then go through to meet the top five ranked FIFA nations – Mexico, USA, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Honduras – in a final league of eight teams to qualify three nations to Qatar 2022 and one for the inter-continental play-off.

When announcing the new format last month, Concacaf president Victor Montaglini said that under the original calendar there was a danger countries could be idle for two and a half years. “We didn’t want teams not playing. Now it gives everyone a real shot and keeps the integrity of the five (prequalified teams). Out of the 30 nations we have probably got 12 who really fancy their chances. This system gives them that chance.”

In total Concacaf needs 20 international match days to complete Qatar 2022 qualifying by March 2022 and provide a nation for the inter-continental play-off spot.

The pot allocation for next week’s first group qualifying round draw is:
Pot 1: El Salvador, Canada, Curaçao, Panama, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago
Pot 2: Antigua and Barbuda, Guatemala, St Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic
Pot 3: Grenada, Barbados, Guyana, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Bermuda, Belize
Pot 4: St Lucia, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Montserrat, Dominica, Cayman Islands
Pot 5: Bahamas, Aruba, Turks and Caicos Islands, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla

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