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Thursday, May 26, 2022

World Cup 2022 qualification simulations (May 2022)

In this June window the qualification for the World Cup 2022 in Qatar (to start in November this year) should finally come to a conclusion. The COVID-19 pandemic plus the Russian war in Ukraine disrupted much on a global scale. It also caused havoc in the original qualification schedules of the confederations for this tournament. It caused severe delays and a final tournament draw taking place in April, even before the qualification process was properly completed. 

I'm still unsure as to why FIFA decided to this schedule of events. There must be some totally football unrelated, probably commercial and for FIFA very profitable reasons behind this. At least, a fair draw was not their top priority, because also the decision to seed the three at the time of the draw unknown participants (one UEFA play-off path A winner and two interconfederational play-off winners) in pot 4, regardless of the ranking of the participating teams in each play-off was -to some degree- unfair and even contradictory to their own regulations.

But, it's all water under the bridge now. The groups for Qatar are drawn.

Unless... there is one uncertainty yet, besides the decisions on the final 3 berths for Qatar. Chile has launched an appeal against a presumably ineligible player of Ecuador who played in 7 qualifiers for the Ecuadorian NT. FIFA has only confirmed that they will investigate this appeal. It could open a can of worms if the appeal is honored: forfeited match-results, an adapted final CONMEBOL qualification group ranking with, how surprising, Chile instead of Ecuador as qualified for Qatar (Peru still number 5 though). 

What will this bring ? Maybe even a complete redraw of the groups after the June window with all participants now known and seeded according to the June ranking ? I wouldn't expect anything like this but it would be a fitting conclusion to this badly improvised and muddled qualification process :)

Here are the probabilities (in %) -generated over 10.000 simulations- with all match-results based on NT prediction formula's for goals scored in a match depending on elo win expectancy.

UEFA path A

semi-final (June 1st, Glasgow)





final (June 5th, Cardiff)







AFC po for nr 5 (June 7th, Doha)



United Arab Emirates


IPO AFC-CONMEBOL (June 13th, Doha)





United Arab Emirates


IPO OFC-CONCACAF (June 14th, Doha)

Costa Rica


New Zealand


About me:

Software engineer, happily unmarried and non-religious. You won't find me on Twitter or other so called social media. Dutchman, joined the blog in March 2018.

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