World Cup 2022 qualifying odds: Who will the Home Nations face in today’s draw?

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FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar

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*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while in-copy odds are accurate at time of publication but subject to change

The European Qualifiers draw for the 2022 World Cup will take place in Zurich this evening, at 5pm.

This year’s event is being held virtually and will hopefully provide a refreshing change from the usual endless procession of montages and inane speeches that add to what is essentially blokes pulling balls out of a bag.

Home Nations fans will be watching eagerly to see who their sides are drawn against in their quest to reach Qatar 2022, with some supporters maybe even optimistically planning for a few away days around Europe in the hope coronavirus restrictions lift (we can dream, right?!).

The draw itself is a pretty complicated affair, with the 55 European teams divided into six pots based on their FIFA World Ranking which was announced on November 26.

The top 10 ranked teams are in Pot 1, the next 10 in Pot 2 and so on while the bottom-ranked five teams are in the smaller Pot 6.

Teams will be split into 10 qualifying groups consisting of five or six sides, with the four teams who reached the 2021 UEFA Nations League Finals – Belgium, France, Italy and Spain – being placed in the smaller groups.

With us so far? Good.

Teams drawn will be allocated to a group in alphabetical order (simple enough, eh?) but there are a number of draw constraints that make things tricky.

UEFA have made the decision that several teams cannot be placed in the same group due to various safety and political reasons (Armenia and Azerbaijan, Gibraltar and Spain, Ukraine and Russia, Kosovo and Bosnia & Herzegovina, Russia and Serbia) while 10 countries have been identified as being at risk of severe winter conditions.

That means that a maximum of two of these snow-threatened sides can be placed in the same group, minimising the chances of games being cancelled.

And we’re not done yet, because 20 country pairings have been identified as involving excessive travel so only one of these pairs can be drawn in the same group – check out all the boring details here.

Once the FIFA and UEFA boffins have sorted that out, all you really need to know is that the qualifying matches will begin in March and take place throughout the year with the 10 group winners booking their spots at the World Cup, due to be held in Qatar from November 21 to December 22, 2022.

The 10 group runners-up will go into the play-offs in March 2022, where they will be joined by the two best group winners of the Nations League – if they haven’t already qualified or made the play-offs. Three out of these 12 teams will make it to the World Cup proper.

FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar

England are in Pot 1 and have the opportunity to be drawn in the same group as both Wales (Pot 2) and Northern Ireland or Scotland (Pot 3).

We’ve priced up the likelihood of that happening, while Paddy Power are also offering odds on the Three Lions meeting Russia in the qualifying stage.

Meanwhile, the mighty, free-scoring Ireland are in Pot 3 so will be set to meet some heavyweight opposition on their campaign to Qatar, including Germany and old foes France.

The mathematical chances of that happening, as well as meetings with England, Wales, Switzerland and Denmark, come out at 9/1.

However, we can just see yet another match-up against pesky Georgia on the horizon for our Boys in Green so you can also bet on that at 15/2.

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while in-copy odds are accurate at time of publication but subject to change

World Cup 2022 European qualifying draw specials

Republic of Ireland to be drawn in the same group as Georgia – 15/2
Republic of Ireland to be drawn in the same group as Denmark – 9/1
Republic of Ireland to be drawn in the same group as France – 9/1
Republic of Ireland to be drawn in the same group as Germany
Republic of Ireland to be drawn in the same group as Switzerland – 9/1
Republic of Ireland to be drawn in the same group as Wales – 9/1
Republic of Ireland to be drawn in the same group as England – 9/1
England to be drawn in the same group as Northern Ireland – 9/1
England to be drawn in the same group as Wales – 9/1
England to be drawn in the same group as Russia – 9/1
England to be drawn in the same group as Wales and Northern Ireland – 80/1
England to be drawn in the same group as Wales and Scotland – 80/1

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