CONCACAF to revamp qualifiers for 2022
[THU 11 JUL 2019 – 04:45:30 UTC]
CONCACAF have revealed a new qualifying format for the 2022 Men’s World Cup. The familiar hexagonal round is retained, but at the same time, all other teams will take part in a parallel competition to earn a potential place in the playoffs.
In the first round, teams are divided into two tiers. The top six CONCACAF teams in the FIFA rankings of JUN 2020 will be placed into the first tier. These teams will play one another twice, much like the final round of CONCACAF qualifiers for recent Men’s World Cups. The top three teams qualify for Qatar 2022.
The other 29 teams will be placed into the second tier, to be played in two phases. The group phase sees the teams divided into eight groups, each containing three or four teams. Teams in each group play one another twice.
The first placed teams in each group advance to the elimination phase, where they will be drawn into pairs. Three elimination rounds will be played, each over two legs, and the surviving team proceeds to a playoff against the fourth placed team in the first tier. The winner of this playoff will play an opponent from CONMEBOL, the AFC, or the OFC, and the winner of that series qualifies for the 2022 Men’s World Cup.
Both tiers begin play in SEP 2020. The second tier group phase will conclude in NOV 2020, with the elimination phase to be played MAR-SEP 2021. The CONCACAF playoff is due to be played in OCT 2021.
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