Countries such as Canada, North Macedonia, Ecuador, Algeria or Iran have been standing out on their respective paths to Qatar 2022.
There are many teams that continue to dispute a quota in their respective confederations to be able to be in the next World Cup event. Photo: IG-canadasoccer
LatinAmerican Post | Nicolás Donoso
Listen to this article
With just over a year to go until the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, many teams continue to compete in their respective confederations for a place to be in the next event. Thirteen national teams have certified their presence so far: Qatar (Host status), Germany, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, Denmark, Spain, France, England, the Netherlands, Serbia and Switzerland.
However, there are still a total of 19 spots available spread across the five Fifa-affiliated confederations. In Europe, a total of three places are still in dispute, to be determined by the play-offs phase, which will be played by a total of 12 teams, among which Portugal, Italy and Sweden stand out. While in South America, there are eight teams that still have options to qualify and join Brazil and Argentina.
In the other confederations, Concacaf, for example, currently has Canada, the United States and Mexico in the direct qualification zone, with Panama eventually contesting the playoffs. In Asia, Iran, South Korea, Japan and Saudi Arabia seem to repeat the direct classification they achieved towards Russia 2018, while Australia and the United Arab Emirates would be contesting the spot with another team from CONMEBOL, CONCACAF or the OFC. Africa already has the 10 teams that will compete for the 5 quotas to be able to be in Qatari lands.
Many are the favorites, but these are the five teams that have been a surprise in their respective qualifiers and become revelations that will be able to participate in the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
It's been 35 years since Canada played their only world cup and now they seem close to qualifying again. The team coached by the British John Herdman (with a successful past for the women's team) currently leads the classification in Concacaf with 4 wins and 4 draws above heavyweights such as the United States and Mexico.
The northern white team mixes experience with youth, who plan matches in a very intelligent and effective way and that has players such as Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David, Cyle Larin, Stephen Eustáquio and Milan Borjan. The Canadians show that when investing in inferiors, there are good talent recruiters and a serious work plan, the results are sooner or later achieved.
"The desert foxes" became one of the main disappointments a couple of years ago when they missed the World Cup in Russia. Luckily for them, that blow did not stop them and two years ago they managed to win the 2019 Africa Cup. Currently they accessed the last qualifying round in Africa to reach the World Cup after overcoming a second phase where they finished as leaders and undefeated after 4 wins and 2 draws, scoring 25 goals and granting 4 against.
Those led by Djamel Belmadi can boast of having one of the best teams in African soccer by far, and therefore the possibility of seeing players like Mahrez, Feghouli, Slimani again or witnessing Bennacer's talent for the first time in a World Cup is likely.
Ecuador is having an amazing path, placing third in the Conmebol qualifiers with 23 points and being quite close to confirming its presence in Qatar. Gustavo Alfaro's men have made Quito their strength (as expected), but they have also obtained very good results as a visitor, beating Bolivia in La Paz, tying Colombia in Barranquilla and defeating Chile in Santiago for the first time in qualifying rounds. Being a very young generation with a great future, with names such as Gonzalo Plata, Moisés Caicedo, Piero Hincapié and Pervis Estupiñán promise to bring more than one joy to the South American country.
The Balkan team made history and qualified for the UEFA playoffs for the first time , quite a feat for a country with just over two million inhabitants. Their achievement was quite positive, coming in second place behind Germany and above teams that are better on paper such as Romania, Iceland and Armenia. An epic victory against Germany away, a victory and draw against Iceland and a 0-5 win when visiting Armenia, were the most important points that the Macedonians achieved and that have them on the verge of playing their first world cup as an independent country.
The Persian team qualified for the first time to two consecutive World Cups in Brazil 2014 and Russia 2018 respectively under the direction of former Colombian coach Carlos Queiroz. After that successful stage, it seemed that the team would fall, but Croatian Dragan Skočić took command of the national team at the end of last year and from that moment the Iranians have resumed the course, achieving 12 wins and a draw in all the parties.
Now Iran leads their group in the current third qualifying round with a lot of authority, having 16 points from 5 wins and a draw and with 4 games to play. Players like Sardar Azmoun, Mehdi Taremi and Alireza Jahanbakhsh lead a golden generation that seems to have no roof.