2022 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC)
|Dates||6 June 2019 – June 2022|
|Teams||46 (from 1 confederation)|
|Goals scored||606 (3.16 per match)|
|Attendance||1,848,735 (9,629 per match)|
|Top scorer(s)||Ali Mabkhout (13 goals)|
|AFC Asian Qualifiers|
The Asian section of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification acts as qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be held in Qatar for national teams who are members of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). Apart from Qatar (who qualified automatically as hosts), a total of 4.5 slots (4 direct slots and 1 inter-confederation play-off slot) in the final tournament are available for AFC teams.
The qualification process involves four rounds; the first two rounds double as the qualification for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup. Despite qualifying as hosts, Qatar participated in these two rounds to seek Asian Cup qualification. They would have acted as qualifiers for the cancelled 2020 AFC Solidarity Cup.
The qualification structure is as follows:
- First round: Twelve teams (ranked 35–46) played home-and-away over two legs. The six winners advanced to the second round.
- Second round: Forty teams (ranked 1–34 and six first-round winners) were divided into eight groups of five teams to play home-and-away round-robin matches. Originally, the eight group winners and the four best group runners-up were supposed advance to the third round of FIFA World Cup qualification, as well as qualified for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup. However, since Qatar won their group, the fifth-best runners-up took their place in the third round.
- Third round: Twelve teams which advanced from the second round will be divided into two groups of six teams to play home-and-away round-robin matches. The top two teams of each group will qualify for the World Cup, and the third-placed teams will advance to the fourth round.
- Fourth round: The two third-placed teams from the third round will play home and away over two legs. The winners will advance to the inter-confederation play-offs.
All 46 FIFA-affiliated nations from the AFC entered qualification. The FIFA World Rankings of April 2019 were used to determine which nations would compete in the first round. For seeding in the second round and third round draws, the most recent FIFA Rankings prior to those draws will be used.
According to the joint format of the World Cup and Asian Cup qualifiers, both Qatar (as the host nation of the 2022 World Cup) and China PR (as the host nation of the 2023 Asian Cup) also entered the second round of the qualifiers.
Timor-Leste was banned from participating in the Asian Cup qualification after being found to have fielded a total of 12 ineligible players in 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualification matches among other competitions. However, as FIFA did not ban them from the World Cup qualifiers, Timor-Leste was allowed to enter the competition, but ineligible to qualify for the Asian Cup.
|Bye to the second round
(Ranked 1st to 34th)
|Competing in first round|
(Ranked 35th to 46th)
On 9 March 2020, FIFA and AFC announced that the second round matches on matchdays 7–10 due to take place in March and June 2020 were postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the new dates to be confirmed. However, subject to approval by FIFA and AFC, and agreement of both member associations, the matches may be played as scheduled provided that the safety of all individuals involved meets the required standards. On 5 June, AFC confirmed that matchdays 7 and 8 were scheduled to take place on 8 and 13 October respectively while matchdays 9 and 10 were also scheduled to kick off on 12 and 17 November. On 12 August, FIFA announced that the matches scheduled for October and November 2020 would be rescheduled to 2021.
On 11 November 2020, the AFC Competitions Committee announced that all the Asian qualifiers second round matches should be completed by 15 June 2021 with matchdays 7 and 8 in March 2021 and matchdays 9 and 10 in June 2021 with the final round of the Asian qualifiers beginning in September 2021. Also all 10 matchdays of the Asian qualifiers final round should be finished by the end of March 2022 with the Asian and inter-continental play-offs proposed for the FIFA window of May/June 2022. The Asian play-off for the World Cup in Qatar was proposed as a single match. On the same day, however, FIFA, along with the Bangladeshi and Qatari associations, gave approval to the only second round match originally scheduled for 2020, Qatar v. Bangladesh, which was played on 4 December.
On 19 February 2021, FIFA and AFC postponed the majority of the upcoming matches to June.
|Second round||Matchday 7||26 March 2020, later 8 October|
|Matchday 8||31 March 2020, later 13 October|
|Matchday 9||4 June 2020, later 12 November, then 7 June 2021|
|Matchday 10||9 June 2020, later 17 November|
|Third round||Matchday 1||3 September 2020|
|Matchday 2||8 September 2020|
|Matchday 3||13 October 2020|
|Matchday 4||12 November 2020|
|Matchday 5||17 November 2020|
|Matchday 6||25 March 2021|
|Matchday 7||30 March 2021|
|Matchday 8||8 June 2021|
|Matchday 9||7 September 2021|
|Matchday 10||12 October 2021|
|Fourth round||First leg||11 November 2021|
|Second leg||16 November 2021|
|Team 1||Agg.||Team 2||1st leg||2nd leg|
|Macau||1–3[note 1]||Sri Lanka||1–0||0–3 (awd.)|
|1||Syria||8||7||0||1||22||7||+15||21||Third round and Asian Cup||—||2–1||1–0||2–1||4–0|
|2||China PR||8||6||1||1||30||3||+27||19||Third round[a]||3–1||—||2–0||5–0||7–0|
|3||Philippines||8||3||2||3||12||11||+1||11||Asian Cup qualifying third round||2–5||0–0||—||1–1||3–0|
|5||Guam||8||0||0||8||2||32||−30||0||Asian Cup qualifying play-off round||0–3||0–7||1–4||0–1||—|
- China PR qualified for the Asian Cup as host nation.
|1||Australia||8||8||0||0||28||2||+26||24||Third round and Asian Cup||—||3–0||1–0||5–0||5–1|
|2||Kuwait||8||4||2||2||19||7||+12||14||Asian Cup qualifying third round||0–3||—||0–0||7–0||9–0|
|5||Chinese Taipei||8||0||0||8||4||34||−30||0||Asian Cup qualifying play-off round||1–7||1–2||1–2||0–2||—|
|1||Iran||8||6||0||2||34||4||+30||18||Third round and Asian Cup||—||1–0||3–0||3–1||14–0|
|3||Bahrain||8||4||3||1||15||4||+11||15||Asian Cup qualifying third round||1–0||1–1||—||4–0||8–0|
|5||Cambodia||8||0||1||7||2||44||−42||1||Asian Cup qualifying play-off round||0–10||0–4||0–1||1–1||—|
|1||Saudi Arabia||8||6||2||0||22||4||+18||20||Third round and Asian Cup||—||3–0||5–0||3–0||3–0|
|2||Uzbekistan||8||5||0||3||18||9||+9||15||Asian Cup qualifying third round||2–3||—||2–0||5–0||5–0|
|2||Oman||8||6||0||2||16||6||+10||18||Third round and Asian Cup||0–1||—||1–0||3–0||4–1|
|3||India||8||1||4||3||6||7||−1||7||Asian Cup qualifying third round||0–1||1–2||—||1–1||1–1|
- Qatar already qualified for the World Cup as host nation.
|1||Japan||8||8||0||0||46||2||+44||24||Third round and Asian Cup||—||4–1||5–1||6–0||10–0|
|2||Tajikistan||8||4||1||3||14||12||+2||13||Asian Cup qualifying third round||0–3||—||1–0||3–0||4–0|
|1||United Arab Emirates||8||6||0||2||23||7||+16||18||Third round and Asian Cup||—||3–2||4–0||3–1||5–0|
|3||Malaysia||8||4||0||4||10||12||−2||12||Asian Cup qualifying third round||1–2||1–2||—||2–1||2–0|
|5||Indonesia||8||0||1||7||5||27||−22||1||Asian Cup qualifying play-off round||0–5||1–3||2–3||0–3||—|
|1||South Korea||6||5||1||0||22||1||+21||16||Third round and Asian Cup||—||2–1||5–0||8–0|
|3||Turkmenistan||6||3||0||3||8||11||−3||9||Asian Cup qualifying third round||0–2||3–2||—||2–0|
Ranking of runner-up teams
Because North Korea withdrew from Group H, results against the fifth-placed teams of each group were not counted in determining the ranking of the runner-up teams.
|1||A||China PR||6||4||1||1||16||3||+13||13||World Cup qualifying third round[a]|
|2||E||Oman||6||4||0||2||9||5||+4||12||World Cup qualifying third round and Asian Cup|
|6||F||Tajikistan||6||3||1||2||7||8||−1||10||Asian Cup qualifying third round|
Rules for classification: Tiebreakers
- China PR already qualified for the Asian Cup as host nation.
The third round consists of two groups of six teams. The first two teams in each group will qualify for the World Cup. The two third-placed teams proceed to the fourth round. The draw was held on 1 July 2021 in Malaysia.
|1||Iran||4||3||1||0||6||1||+5||10||Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup||—||1–1||29 Mar||1 Feb||27 Jan||1–0|
|2||South Korea||4||2||2||0||4||2||+2||8||24 Mar||—||1–0||11 Nov||0–0||2–1|
|3||Lebanon||4||1||2||1||3||3||0||5||Advance to fourth round||11 Nov||27 Jan||—||16 Nov||1 Feb||24 Mar|
|4||United Arab Emirates||4||0||3||1||3||4||−1||3||0–1||29 Mar||0–0||—||2–2||27 Jan|
|5||Iraq||4||0||3||1||2||5||−3||3||0–3||16 Nov||0–0||24 Mar||—||11 Nov|
|6||Syria||4||0||1||3||4||7||−3||1||16 Nov||1 Feb||2–3||1–1||29 Mar||—|
|1||Saudi Arabia||4||4||0||0||8||3||+5||12||Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup||—||29 Mar||27 Jan||1–0||3–2||3–1|
|2||Australia||4||3||0||1||8||3||+5||9||11 Nov||—||3–1||24 Mar||3–0||27 Jan|
|3||Oman||4||2||0||2||5||5||0||6||Advance to fourth round||0–1||1 Feb||—||16 Nov||29 Mar||3–1|
|4||Japan||4||2||0||2||3||3||0||6||1 Feb||2–1||0–1||—||27 Jan||29 Mar|
|5||China PR||4||1||0||3||5||9||−4||3||24 Mar||16 Nov||11 Nov||0–1||—||3–2|
|6||Vietnam||4||0||0||4||4||10||−6||0||16 Nov||0–1||24 Mar||11 Nov||1 Feb||—|
The two third-placed teams in each group from the third round will play against each other in a single match to determine which team advances to the inter-confederation play-offs.
The order of this single leg will be announced during the draw for the third round.
The inter-confederation play-offs will be determined by another draw to be held at a later date. They are scheduled to be played in June 2022.
The following teams from AFC qualified for the final tournament.
|Team||Qualified as||Qualified on||Previous appearances in FIFA World Cup1|
|Qatar||Hosts||2 December 2010||0 (debut)|
- 1 Bold indicates champions for that year. Italic indicates hosts for that year.
There have been 606 goals scored in 192 matches, for an average of 3.16 goals per match (as of 12 October 2021). Players highlighted in bold are still active in the competition.
Below is full goalscorers lists for all rounds:
- Macau did not send their team for the second leg due to safety reasons following the 2019 Sri Lanka Easter bombings. The AFC referred the matter to FIFA, which announced on 27 June 2019 that the match was declared a 3–0 forfeit victory to Sri Lanka, and consequently qualifying Sri Lanka to the second round.
- "Current allocation of FIFA World Cup confederation slots maintained". FIFA.com. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. 30 May 2015. Archived from the original on 30 May 2015.
- "AFC Executive Committee announces updates to 2020 competitions calendar". the-afc.com. Asian Football Confederation. 10 September 2020.
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- "Groups finalised for Qatar 2022 & China 2023 race". Asian Football Confederation. 17 July 2019.
- Palmer, Dan (31 July 2017). "Hosts Qatar to compete in qualifying for 2022 World Cup". inside the games.
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- "Road to Qatar 2022: Asian teams discover Round 1 opponents". Asian Football Confederation. 17 April 2019. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
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- "AFC Competitions Calendar 2019" (PDF). the-afc.com. Asian Football Confederation. 21 March 2019.
- "AFC Competitions Calendar 2020" (PDF). the-afc.com. Asian Football Confederation. 15 May 2019.
- "AFC Competitions Calendar 2021" (PDF). the-afc.com. Asian Football Confederation. 24 February 2021.
- "AFC Competitions Calendar 2022" (PDF). the-afc.com. Asian Football Confederation. 24 February 2021.
- "INTERNATIONAL MATCH CALENDAR 2020-2024" (PDF). FIFA.com. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. February 2021.
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- "AFC announces proposed dates for upcoming Asian Qualifiers". Asian Football Confederation. 5 June 2020. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
- "Update on upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers in Asia". FIFA.com. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. 12 August 2020. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
- "FIFA Council unanimously approves COVID-19 Relief Plan". FIFA.com. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. 25 June 2020.
- "New competition dates approved by AFC Competitions Committee". the-afc.com. Asian Football Confederation. 11 November 2020.
- "Qatar, Bangladesh to resume Asian Qualifiers in December". the-afc.com. Asian Football Confederation. 11 November 2020.
- "Update on upcoming Asian Qualifiers in March and June". the-afc.com. Asian Football Confederation. 19 February 2021. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
- "Draw sets out path for Asian aspirants". FIFA.com. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. 17 April 2019.
- "Football - Macau not sending team to Sri Lanka due to security concerns". Reuters. 8 June 2019.
- "AFC Statement". the-afc.com. Asian Football Confederation. 10 June 2019.
- "FIFA Disciplinary Committee sanctions Macau Football Association". FIFA.com. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. 27 June 2019.
- "Asian Qualifiers draw to provide pathway to Qatar and China". the-afc.com. Asian Football Confederation. 17 June 2019.
- "Latest update on Asian Qualifiers". Asian Football Confederation. 16 May 2021.
- "Latest decision on Asian Qualifiers". Asian Football Confederation. 27 May 2021.