The South American and Asia Confederations – Here are the current standings of the World Cup Qualifiers of these branches
The AFC Confederation Qualifiers are split into four rounds. There are a total of 46 FIFA-Affiliated teams competing for 4 guaranteed FIFA World Cup 2022 qualification slots. Additionally, there will be one team that will advance to the inter-confederation play-off spot to play against the inter-confederation play-off team from the CONMEBOL confederation.
The structure of AFC confederation qualifiers is as follows, the graphic of the results are shown above:
- First Round: The 35th to 46th ranked team based on the 2019 FIFA Ranking in AFC plays home-and-away over two legs and the winner advances to the second round.
- Second Round: Forty teams are divided into 8 groups to play home-and-away round-robin matches. The winner from each group will advance to the third round. Additionally, four runner-ups amongst the eight groups will also advance to the next round based on their records.
- Third Round: Twelve total teams that advance from the previous round are split into two groups 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 remaining two teams will play a single match where the winner will advance to the inter-confederation playoffs
As of the time of this post, the third round is yet to conclude and the remainder of the matches will be played between 24th to 29th March.
Currently, Iran and South Korea has mathematically qualified for the World Cup regardless of their later performance. Following the same point structure, Syria from Group A as well as Oman, China PR, and Vietnam from Group B are no longer able to qualify for the World Cup.
Saudi Arabia, Japan, and Australia has 19, 18, 15 points respectively and it is still a toss-up between the three teams. Saudia Arabia will be playing Japan on the 29th of March in what will be a quite decisive match to spar for a potentially guaranteed World Cup spot.
Unlike the other confederations, the CONMEBOL confederation will not be split into separate rounds. Despite only featuring 10 teams in the confederation, the South American football state is considered one of the strongest with extremely formidable players and teams.
All ten teams in the confederation are set to play in a league of home-and-away round-robin matches. The top four teams at the end will directly qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2022 while the 5th place will secure an inter-confederation spot to compete against the inter-confederation team from the AFC confederation qualifiers.
At the current stage, despite there still being matches to play, Brazil and Argentina each with 39 and 35 point respectively has gained guaranteed spots to the World Cup. Ecuador with 25 points have assured of at least an inter-confederation play-offs spot.
Meanwhile, Paraguay ad Venezuela has been eliminated from contention while Bolivia may only secure an inter-confederation play-offs spot at most. The remainder of the matches will be played between the 24th to 29th of March.