Concacaf World Cup Qualifier calendar confirmed
Concacaf has confirmed the schedule for the eagerly anticipated regional qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
World governing body FIFA has announced that certain international match windows will be extended to enable Confederations to schedule triple-match dates. This is due to the challenges faced by global football due to COVID-19, in particular for those regions where several 2020 FIFA international match windows were suspended.
In Concacaf’s case, FIFA’s decision means the Confederation can schedule three matches in each of the September and October 2021 and January and March 2022 FIFA international match windows.
This will enable Concacaf to begin its eight-team Final Round of the Concacaf Qualifiers in September 2021, following a First Round played in March and June 2021 and a Second Round in June 2021 (June 2021 includes two FIFA international match windows).
The draw for the Concacaf Qualifiers for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 took place in August 2020and with the certainty provided by FIFA’s decision regarding the triple-windows, Concacaf can now confirm the schedule.
First Round: March 2021 and June 2021 (four match-dates)
The First Round will be played between the Concacaf Member Associations ranked 6-35 based on the FIFA Men’s Ranking as of July 16, 2020. The 30 men’s national teams were drawn into six groups of five as follows:
El Salvador (SLV)
Antigua and Barbuda (ATG)
US Virgin Islands (VIR)
Cayman Islands (CAY)
St. Vincent and the Grenadines (VIN)
British Virgin Islands (VGB)
Dominican Republic (DOM)
Saint Lucia (LCA)
Turks and Caicos Islands (TCA)
Trinidad and Tobago (TRI)
Saint Kitts and Nevis (SKN)
Puerto Rico (PUR)
Each team will play every other team in their group once, playing a total of four matches; two home and two away. These games will be played in the FIFA match windows of March 2021 and the first FIFA match Window of June 2021. At the end of the First Round, the six group winners will progress to the Second Round.
Second Round: June 2021 (two match-dates)
The Second Round will be played between the six group winners from the First Round, with the pre-determined matchups as follows:
Group A winner vs Group F winner
Group B winner vs Group E winner
Group C winner vs Group D winner
The teams will play home and away, in a direct elimination format, during the second FIFA match window of June 2021. The three winners will progress to the Final Round.
Final Round: September, October, November 2021; January and March 2022 (14 match-dates)
The Final Round of the Concacaf Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will see the three winners from the Second Round join the Concacaf Member Associations ranked 1-5, who had already gained enough FIFA ranking points to guarantee their place in the Final Round prior to the development of a new format.
The eight teams will play each other home and away, with each team playing 14 matches.
The Final Round will be played in the following five international FIFA match windows:
September 2021 (triple match window)
October 2021 (triple match window)
January 2022 (triple match window)
March 2022 (triple match window)
The Final Round was also drawn in August 2020. The match schedule is included in the graphic below.
At the end of the Final Round, the top three finishing teams will qualify directly to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. The fourth-placed team will qualify for the FIFA Intercontinental Playoff, scheduled to be played in June 2022. (Concacaf)