Sunday, May 29, 2022

USA World Cup draw pot: Where USMNT will be selected for Qatar 2022 FIFA group stage

The United States became the final team in the March international window, alongside CONCACAF rivals Mexico, to qualify directly for the 2022 World Cup.

With just three spots left to fill, the World Cup draw is moving forward full steam ahead on Friday, April 1 with 29 teams and three placeholders allotted for the three berths that remain to be decided in June.

So with the group stage draw just hours away, how is the USA seeded compared to other teams? That is determined by the FIFA World Rankings issued on March 31. Since the formula for determining the FIFA World Rankings is public knowledge, the final pot designations can be figured out in advance of the official release by FIFA.

Below is a full rundown of the pots that will include the United States, Canada and Mexico, according to a number of early reports:

MORE: Which teams are in the 2022 World Cup draw?

How does the World Cup draw work?

The FIFA World Cup draw will take place April 1 at 12 pm ET from Doha, Qatar.

All participating teams will be placed into four pots based on relative strength according to the FIFA rankings. During the draw, one team will be selected from each of the pots to make up each of the eight groups. The idea is that all the groups are constructed to be as competitively balanced as possible.

Still, every tournament comes with new wrinkles.

For the 2022 World Cup, COVID-19 delays throughout the two-year World Cup qualifying cycle have caused a logjam in the soccer calendar, seeing games pushed back. That resulted in qualifying delays, leading to the intercontinental playoffs to be pushed back to June 2022. In addition, the war in Ukraine saw Russia disqualified from contention, while Ukraine’s playoff match was postponed until the summer as well.

As a result, for the purposes of the draw, FIFA has designated placeholders for the three outstanding berths and placed them by default in Pot 4. That designation may not ultimately turn out to be an actual reflection of the strength and ranking of the teams that will emerge in June.

Teams like Ukraine, Wales, or Peru would have earned a different pot status had the playoffs been decided before the draw. As it stands, there are sure to be one or two groups that will prove a tad more difficult depending on whether these teams ultimately qualify. But there were few options at FIFA’s disposal outside of postponing the draw.

USA pot for FIFA World Cup draw

The United States had an outside chance to find itself in Pot 1 of the World Cup draw, but that would have required a number of results that did not come to pass.

As a result, the United States will be drawn from Pot 2 at the 2022 FIFA World Cup draw.

Ranked 13th in the FIFA World Rankings in February, the results from the March qualifying window — a draw in Mexico, a win against Panama and a loss to Costa Rica — won’t impact the USA’s world ranking enough to see it move up into Pot 1 or down to pot 3.

MORE: USA qualifies for 2022 World Cup despite loss to Costa Rica

Canada and Mexico pots for World Cup draw

Mexico, which ranked 12th in the February FIFA World Rankings and finished second in the CONCACAF qualifying table, will also join the USA in Pot 2,

El Tri wasn’t able to make the leap into Pot 1, while a cavernous drop to Pot 3 was never on the table.

Canada, meanwhile, will be selected from Pot 4which is the group of lowest-ranked teams at the World Cup.

Despite Les Rouges topping the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying table and securing a place at its first World Cup in 36 years, two losses in three March matches (to Costa Rica and Panama) saw the team drop into Pot 4 at the last second, with a Chance to move into Pot 3 evaporated.

A win against Panama in the final regional qualifier would have seen it jump into Pot 3.

MORE: Canada falls to Panama to close out World Cup qualifying

World Cup draw pots

Below is the full breakdown of all eight teams in each 2022 World Cup draw pot.

As the host nation, Qatar is automatically placed in Pot 1 regardless of its actual World Ranking, and it will be drawn automatically into Group A. This is done in order that the host nation can be scheduled to play the opening match of the tournament, though there is also a competitive benefit that derives from that: namely, the host can avoids a group including the top-seeded teams.

Behind Qatar in Group A, the other seven groups will be filled out with a Pot 1 participant from Group B through Group H. The same process will repeat itself with teams from Pots 2-4.

No group can have two nations from the same region, except when it comes to Europe. Since there are 13 European nations in the draw, there can be a maximum of two teams from Europe in each group. If a team is drawn, but cannot be accommodated in a group due to geographic restrictions, it is shuffled along to the next group.

MORE: Intercontinental playoff schedule and teams

Pot 1 – 2022 FIFA World Cup draw

Nation February
FIFA Ranking
World Cup apps (last)
Qatar* 52 ,
Belgium 1 14 (2018)
Brazil 2 22 (2018)
France 3 16 (2018)
Argentina 4 18 (2018)
England 5 16 (2018)
Spain 7 16 (2018)
Portugal 8 8 (2018)

*host nation

Pot 2 – 2022 FIFA World Cup draw

Nation February
FIFA Ranking
World Cup apps (last)
Denmark 9 6 (2018)
Netherlands 10 11 (2014)
Germany 11 20 (2018)
Mexico 12 17 (2018)
USA 13 11 (2014)
Switzerland 14 12 (2018)
Croatia 15 6 (2018)
Uruguay 16 14 (2018)

Pot 3 – 2022 FIFA World Cup draw

Nation February
FIFA Ranking
World Cup apps (last)
Senegal 18 3 (2018)
Iran 21 6 (2018)
Japan 23 7 (2018)
Morocco 24 6 (2018)
Serbia 25 13 (2018)
Poland 28 9 (2018)
South Korea 29 11 (2018)
Tunisia 36 6 (2018)

Pot 4 – 2022 FIFA World Cup draw

Nation February
FIFA Ranking
World Cup apps (last)
Canada 33 2 (1986)
cameroon 38 8 (2014)
Ecuador 44 4 (2014)
Saudi Arabia 53 6 (2018)
Ghana 61 4 (2014)
European Playoff
(Scotland, Ukraine, Wales)
, ,
Intercont’l Playoff
(Australia, UAE, Peru)
, ,
Intercont’l Playoff
(New Zealand, Costa Rica)
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