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World Cup draw: Line-up for Qatar football tournament revealed

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By Euronews
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Coaches pose for a group photo following the 2022 soccer World Cup draw at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center in Doha, Qatar, Friday, April 1, 2022.
Coaches pose for a group photo following the 2022 soccer World Cup draw at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center in Doha, Qatar, Friday, April 1, 2022.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Hussein Sayed

The draw has been carried out for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which will take place from 21 November to 18 December.

As in previous tournaments, countries are split into eight groups of four, who will play each other. The top two in each group will advance to the knock-out phase of the contest.

Among the highlights, Spain and Germany are drawn in the same group (E), while England have been drawn against Iran for the first time in Group B, which also features the USA.

Qatar will open its first World Cup against Ecuador on November 21 after qualifying for the first time as host.

The holders, France, are drawn against Denmark, Tunisia, and either Peru, Australia or the United Arab Emirates.

Although 32 countries will compete in the World Cup finals, there are 37 in the draw because there are still qualifying matches undecided, in particular involving Ukraine.

Who will take the final three slots?

Ukraine was originally scheduled to play Scotland in a European playoff, but the match was postponed until June because of Russia's invasion.

The winner plays Wales for Europe's final spot.

Costa Rica finished fourth in the North and Central America and the Caribbean qualifying group and goes into an intercontinental playoff against New Zealand.

Peru defeated Paraguay 2-0 on Tuesday to finish fifth in South America's qualifying group and will compete for a berth against the winner of Asia's fifth-place playoff between Australia and the United Arab Emirates on 7 June.

Credit: AP
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe, right, celebrate at the end of the World Cup 2022 playoff soccer match between Portugal and North MacedoniaCredit: AP

What happened in World Cup qualifying matches this week?

Football star Cristiano Ronaldo got another shot at lifting the World Cup after helping Portugal to qualify for the tournament.

His Manchester United teammate Bruno Fernandes scored twice as they beat North Macedonia, who had knocked outItaly last week.

“Goal achieved, we are at the Qatar World Cup, we are in our rightful place! Thank you to all the Portuguese for the tireless support! Portugal strong!” Ronaldo posted to social media in Portuguese.

The World Cup trophy is the one prize that has eluded Ronaldo, a five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

While the 37-year old is set to be a key part of Portugal's team in Qatar later this year, his fellow Premier League star Mohamed Salah will miss out. Salah missed from the penalty spot as Senegal advanced at the expense of Egypt.

Senegal advanced on a penalty shootout for one of Africa's five berths after fans shone lasers in Salah's face while he stepped up to take Egypt's first penalty kick. He blasted his attempt over the crossbar while he had green-coloured lasers pointed at his face and body.

AP Photo/Stefan Kleinowitz
The light from green laser pointers can be seen on the pitch as Mohamed Salah took his penalty.AP Photo/Stefan Kleinowitz

Salah's Liverpool teammate Sadio Mané struck the winning penalty after the teams drew 1-1 on aggregate, sending Senegal to its third World Cup. Mané also had the shootout winner against Egypt in the African Cup of Nations final on 6 February.

Elsewhere, Robert Lewandowski converted a penalty in the 50th minute and Poland secured its second straight World Cup berth with a 2-1 victory over Sweden in another European playoff. It was Lewandowski's 75th international goal in 129 appearances.

Ghana qualified after a 1-1 draw with Nigeria behind Thomas Partey's 10th-minute goal to advance on away goals. The Black Stars, who eliminated the US in 2006 and 2010, will be making their fourth World Cup appearance.

Algeria won its first leg, vying to qualify after missing out on the 2018 World Cup, but Cameroon came back with a 2-1 victory on Tuesday on Karl Toko Ekambi's goal in the fourth minute of the second extra-time period to advance on away goals.

Credit: AP
Cameroon soccer federation president Samuel Eto'o, right, and Cameroon coach Rigobert Song celebrate after the World Cup 2022 qualifying soccer match against AlgeriaCredit: AP

Morocco downed the Democratic Republic of the Congo 4-1 to secure its spot 5-2 on aggregate. Tunisia played to a scoreless draw with Mali and qualified with a 1-0 aggregate victory.

Canada has already clinched a spot in North and Central America and the Caribbean, its first World Cup appearance in 36 years.

The United States and Mexico also secured their berths at the World Cup this week.

The draw took place at the Doha Exhibition & Convention Center in Qatar.

The day began though with a protest outside FIFA headquarters in Zurich. German artist Volker-Johannes Trieb used balls filled with sand to protest against the suffering of migrant workers in Qatar who have worked on the infrastructure related to the World Cup.

Due to sweltering summer temperatures in Qatar, the Middle East's tournament has been moved to later in the year from its usual slot in the northern hemisphere summer. It will take place in the middle of Europe's domestic football season, from 21 November to 18 December 2022.