The first step towards the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar happens today as the First and Final Round draws for the Concacaf qualifying process takes place in Zurich. The draw begins at 1:00 p.m. ET and can be streamed on FIFA.com.
For the United States men’s national team, the draw will be relatively stress-free as they’ll only be learning when they’ll play each of their seven fellow Final Stage opponents.
The U.S. is one of five nations guaranteed a spot in the deciding eight-team stage. The Americans are joined by Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Honduras as guaranteed participants, determined by FIFA rankings.
The three final teams joining to make up “The Octagon” or “The Ocho” — we should really decide what we’re branding this thing — will be decided in two rounds of qualifying. The first round will consist the remaining 30 teams divided evenly into six groups.
Pot 2: Antigua and Barbuda, Guatemala, St Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic
Pot 3: Grenada, Barbados, Guyana, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Bermuda, Belize
Pot 4: St Lucia, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Montserrat, Dominica, Cayman Islands
Pot 5: Bahamas, Aruba, Turks and Caicos Islands, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla
The first objective of the draw is to group all 30 teams together along with the six seeded teams to whittle the field down to six. Those six group winners will play a home-and-away playoff to determine who advances to the decisive Final Round.
The final part of the draw is what USMNT fans will have their eye on as it will determine the schedule for the Final Round. The eight qualified teams will be compiled into one pot while positions 1-8 will occupy the other.
Each team will be assigned a designated position via the draw that will correlate to a pre-determined numerical schedule.
The dates of the FIFA Windows are as follows:
Window 1 – June 2021
Window 2 – June 2021
Window 3 – September 2021
Window 4 – October 2021
Window 5 – November 2021
Window 6 – January 2022
Window 7 – March 2022
After 14 qualifying matches, the top three teams from the final group will qualify for the 2022 World Cup with the fourth-place finisher advancing to an intercontinental playoff with a region yet to be determined.
How to Watch the Concacaf 2022 World Cup Qualifying Draw
Date: Wednesday, August 19
Time: 1:00 p.m ET, 10:00 a.m. PT
Place: Zurich, Switzerland
Live Stream: FIFA.com
Update: In the United States, you can stream on Telemundo en vivo, per U.S. Soccer’s release this morning: