Qatar to host OFC nations for centralised 2022 World Cup qualifying

November 30 – Qatar will host the 2022 Oceania World Cup qualifiers featuring eight participants following the withdrawal of both Samoa and American Samoa, FIFA have announced.

The World Cup hosts will stage the OFC qualifiers in an eight-team mini-tournament that will played as a round-robin group stage, semi-finals and the final. The winner of a playoff between the two lowest-ranked OFC member associations will complete the field.

The competition will take place in the second half of March and will offer a welcome and compact fortnight of OFC national team football after international competition in the region came to a standstill during the global health crisis. March also represents the final time slot for the qualifiers to be completed.

Oceania has half a slot for the World Cup in Qatar.  The winner of the tournament will play in an intercontinental playoff match in June 2022 against the fourth-placed qualifier from the Concacaf region.  Doha will also stage those matches, the first time the often deeply intense and dramatic home-and-away playoffs will be played at a centralized hub and neutral venue as a single match.

The intercontinental playoffs, on June 13 and 14 respectively, will determine the last two participants in the 32-team field.  Denmark, Germany and Brazil were among the first nations to ensure their presence in Qatar.

In 2010, New Zealand were the last OFC representatives at the global finals when they defeated Bahrain in the playoffs.  At the World Cup in South Africa, the All Whites featured in Group F with Paraguay, Slovakia and Italy. They went unbeaten, drawing three times, but still exited in the first round, a point behind second-placed Slovakia.

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