The World Cup 2022 draw will be held in Qatar on Friday evening, marking an acceleration in build-up to the tournament which has been mired in controversy since the country was awarded the event in 2010.
We know the make up of the pots, but the draw line-up is not complete due to a number of issues, while there are also a few surprise absentees. The World Cup begins on November 21, with the final held on December 18.
Eurosport answers all your questions ahead of the draw, which starts at 1700 BST on Friday.
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Why is the 2022 World Cup in the winter, not this summer? Why has there been so much controversy?
The Qatar World Cup has been shrouded in controversy from the moment it was awarded the event in 2010. There have been allegations of vote buying, corruption and bribery linked to the bidding process. The United States Department of Justice last year said money had been paid to five top officials at the time and after 12 years, cases rumble on.
Disgraced former FIFA president Sepp Blatter has since admitted it was a “mistake” to award Qatar the World Cup, which threw up a number of logistical problems. Firstly, Qatar is hot - but it is at its worst in the summer. Therefore, it was finally agreed in 2015 that the tournament would be held in the winter for the first time, throwing domestic league organisation into chaos.
On top of this, there has also been controversy over the country’s human rights record, and the conditions migrant workers have dealt with building stadiums and infrastructure for the event.
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Why is the 2022 World Cup draw line-up not complete?
Of the 32 nations that will compete at the 2022 World Cup, we know 29 of them, with the rest to be confirmed in June.
Inter-continental play-offs traditionally finish late, and we know that New Zealand and Costa Rica will go head-to-head for one spot with either Australia or the United Arab Emirates taking on Peru.
Europe would usually be finished by now, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threw up complications, as both nations were involved in the UEFA play-offs.
Russia were kicked out of competition, giving Poland a free pass to the final - which they took advantage of by beating Sweden. But given the high emotions of the conflict, Ukraine were given permission to postpone their semi-final with Scotland.
That will be played at Hampden, probably in June, with Wales awaiting the winners of that tie for a place at the World Cup.
How many teams will there be at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar?
This will be the last time, for now at least, that there will be 32 teams at the World Cup. FIFA believe bigger is better, so from 2026, the tournament will be expanded to 48.
What are the draw pots for the 2022 World Cup?
UEFA has more places than any other confederation, so at least five of the eight groups will have two European nations - but none of the other confederations can have more than one representative in each group.
- South Korea
- Saudi Arabia
- UEFA Playoff Winner (Scotland, Ukraine or Wales)
- Peru-AFC Third Place Playoff winner (Australia or United Arab Emirates)
- Costa Rica-New Zealand Playoff winner
Why are Italy not in the draw for the 2022 World Cup?
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European champions Italy were going to be one of the favourites to win the World Cup following their victory over England at Euro 2020 - but too many draws in their qualification group proved to be their downfall.
It meant they had to settle for a play-off spot and after struggling to make a breakthrough against North Macedonia, they suffered a massive shock by conceding late to be dumped out at the semi-final stage.
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Who are the favourites to win the 2022 World Cup?
The usual nations are favourites with bookmakers to win the World Cup, with Brazil just edging reigning champions France.
England are ranked as third favourites, which may increase the nerves slightly for fans of Gareth Southgate’s side, followed by Spain, Germany, Argentina, Belgium and Portugal - in that order.
Are there any new teams at the 2022 World Cup?
Only one country will be making their World Cup debut in 2022 - the hosts, Qatar. As is standard, the Gulf nation has not had to come through qualifying, as they will stage the event.
It is probably wise not to expect too much of them, though - they have suffered heavy defeats this season to Serbia (twice), Portugal and the Republic of Ireland in friendlies, but in the recent international break, they did beat Bulgaria and draw with Slovenia.
Though not a debutant, Canada will be making just their second appearance and their first since 1986, after winning the North/Central America qualification group, while Africa Cup of Nations champions Senegal will be at the tournament for the third time.
What will the Premier League do while the 2022 World Cup is being held?
The Premier League will take a mid-season break to accommodate the World Cup - but preparation and recovery time will be extremely limited.
The final weekend of fixtures will take place over 12/13 November, just five days before the first game. England are guaranteed not to be involved in that match, as Qatar will open the tournament and they are in the same pot meaning they cannot be in the same, but it could still affect players from other nations - with one other Group A match also taking place on November 18.
There will be no top flight domestic action in England again until Boxing Day - eight days after the tournament comes to a close.
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