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World Cup 2022: Who has already qualified, play-off matches explained




ith just a few days to go until the 2022 World Cup draw, qualifying around the world is coming to an exciting conclusion.

Of the 32 places in Qatar on offer, 20 have already been decided and that will soon be added to as play-off matches are completed and the tournament starts to take shape.

While many of the usual suspects will be playing on the biggest stage at the end of the year, there will be some notable absences. Italy saw their bid to reach the World Cup ended by North Macedonia, while Mohamed Salah and Egypt will not be there after losing on penalties to Senegal.

Here are all the teams that have qualified so far, and who could be joining them in the near future.



As ever, the World Cup hosts do not have to worry about qualifying and automatically earn a spot at the tournament. Qatar won the Asia Cup for the first time in 2019, and this will be their first appearance at a World Cup.


Germany, Denmark, France, Belgium, Croatia, Spain, Serbia, England, Switzerland, Netherlands, Portugal, Poland

Of the 13 places at the World Cup available to European sides, ten have already been decided.

Those went to the group winners in qualifying. Germany and Denmark were the first sides to book their place in Qatar, with 27 points out of a possible 30 in qualifying, while Serbia, Switzerland, France, Belgium and England were all unbeaten in their campaigns.

The remaining three places are decided by the play-offs. Portugal beat North Macedonia to book their place in Qatar, while Poland got the better of Sweden in another play-off final. Scotland and Ukraine’s semi-final has been postponed and scheduled for June, due to the Russian invasion. Wales await the winner in the final.

Italy were beaten by North Macedonia in their play-off semi final, and so the current European Championship holders will not be at the World Cup.



Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Uruguay

Qualifying in South American is notoriously tricky, but the top four have been decided even though all the fixtures have not yet been played.

Brazil and Argentina still have to play each other again, though it is already certain they will finish as the top two. Neither side have lost a game so far in qualifying.

Ecuador and Uruguay are currently tied on points in third and fourth respectively, but they cannot be caught and so have qualified for the World Cup at the end of the year.

Peru, Colombia and Chile are all still in the race to finish fifth, with one game remaining. Whoever does so will go through to an inter-confederation play-off against a side from the Asian Confederation.


Ghana, Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco, Cameroon

The five African teams going to the World Cup are being decided on Tuesday night, when the second legs of the play-off matches take place.

Nigeria missed out on their tournament ticket since 2006 after Thomas Partey’s goal knocked them out at the hands of Ghana, who qualified for their fourth World Cup on away goals.

Egypt led Senegal 1-0 after the first leg in Cairo but lost on penalties in Dakar after Sadio Mane’s decisive spot-kick settled the two-legged tie. Tunisia secured their qualification with a goalless draw in the second leg against Mali, which was enough as they led 1-0 following the first match.

Morocco cruised through their play-off against DR Congo, winning 5-2 on aggregate with Achraf Hakimi among the goalscorers.

Algeria’s tie with Cameroon went to extra-time, with it finishing 1-1 on aggregate after 90 minutes. Ahmed Touba looked to have won it in dramatic fashion for Algeria in the 118th minute, but Karl Toko Ekambi struck in the 124th minute in an extraordinary conclusion to give Cameroon victory on away goals and earn them a place in Qatar.

AFP via Getty Images


South Korea, Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia

After the second round of qualifying in Asia, 12 teams made it through to the next stage and were split into two groups. The top-two from each of those earned a a place at the World Cup.

South Korea went unbeaten and topped Group A, a point ahead of Iran, while Japan came out on top in Group B and Saudi Arabia finished second.

The two sides that finished third go through to a play-off match to face each other. That was Australia in Group B, while the third-placed team in Group A will be confirmed on Tuesday night.

The winner of the match between those two sides will then face the team that finished fifth in South America for a place at the World Cup. That match will take place in Qatar.



The top three sides in qualifying go straight through to the World Cup, and with a match to go Canada are already assured of their place in Qatar.

It remains to be seen who joins them though, with the United States and Mexico currently in second and third respectively, though Costa Rica are only three points behind and could still sneak in.

The team that finishes fourth will face a side from Oceania in an inter-confederation play-off in Qatar.

Getty Images


No sides yet qualified

The Oceania Football Confederation is the only one without a guaranteed place at the World Cup.

Qualifying in the region has reached the final stage, with Solomon Islands facing New Zealand on Wednesday. The winner of that goes through to face the team that finishes fourth in CONCACAF qualifying, which would currently be Costa Rica.

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Pedro Porro speaks about Tottenham for first time as flight and medical booked




ncoming signing Pedro Porro has spoken publicly for the first time about his move to Tottenham ahead of boarding a plane to London.

Standard Sport understands the right-back will complete a £39million move from Sporting later on Tuesday, the final day of the January transfer window.

The move was thrown into doubt on Monday after Sporting reneged on the deal by asking for more money, despite Porro having said his goodbyes and with a medical in London booked.

Further talks have revived the transfer and Porro, who was absent from training and understood to be distraught by the hold ups, will now finalise the move on Deadline Day. He spoke to reporters at Lisbon airport on Monday evening.

He told CMTV: “I’m grateful to Sporting, I love the club.

“I didn’t train as I was only focused on the transfer to Spurs but I will always be thankful to the club.”

Porro is expected at Hotspur Way on Monday evening, where he will stay overnight before becoming a Spurs player on Tuesday.

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Derby 0 – 2 West Ham



West Ham booked a fifth-round FA Cup tie at boss David Moyes’ former club
Manchester United with a comfortable 2-0 win at Derby.

Jarrod Bowen’s third goal in two games gave the Hammers a first-half lead and Michail Antonio headed home their second five minutes after break.

The Londoners made it back-to-back wins after beating Everton 2-0 to climb out of the Premier League’s bottom three nine days go and rarely needed to hit top gear as they halted League One side Derby’s 19-game unbeaten run.

West Ham's Michail Antonio, left, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the English FA Cup 4th round soccer match between Derby County and West Ham at Pride Park stadium in Derby, England, Monday, Jan. 30, 2023. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Michail Antonio also got on the scoresheet for the Hammers

West Ham boss Moyes now faces a reunion with former side Man Utd at Old Trafford in the last 16 after being drawn to face the Red Devils in the draw just before Monday night’s routine win at Pride Park. The match will take place in the week commencing February 27.

How West Ham eased past Derby

Paul Warne’s side are flying high in fourth place in the third tier and there were high hopes of an upset among the home faithful before kick-off in a Pride Park crowd of 25,308.

Derby forward Tom Barkhuizen wasted no time in breaching West Ham’s defence, scampering clear in the opening minute before his cut-back was scrambled clear.

Bowen shot tamely at Derby goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith soon after, but was not so wasteful in the 10th minute.

Antonio’s ball over the top caught Derby flat-footed and Bowen volleyed home Tomas Soucek’s neat headed pass from six yards.

Derby’s best move of the half saw James Collins volley just off target after Barkhuizen had run on to Craig Forsyth’s dinked pass to pick out the Derby striker with a fine cross.

Barkhuizen and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing offered Derby’s best hopes of getting back on level terms before the break, but they had no shots on target in the first period.

The good news for Rams fans at the break was their side were still in the tie against a top-flight side who were not at their best.

But five minutes into the second period the home side fell 2-0 behind. Derby skipper Curtis Davies’ sliced clearance span into Bowen’s path down the right and his cross was headed in at the far post by Antonio after deflecting off Forsyth.

Warne sent on four substitutes – Eiran Cashin, Liam Thompson, Lewis Dobbin and Tony Springett – soon after and their fresh legs gave Derby a lift.

Haydon Roberts was an inch away from connecting fully with Dobbin’s excellent cross, but the Rams were soon back-pedalling again.

Bowen was denied in quick succession by Wildsmith’s point-blank save and Cashin’s last-ditch tackle before Ben Johnson’s angled drive was kept out by the Derby goalkeeper.

The Rams were full of endeavour until the final whistle and Dobbin was close to being rewarded for an impressive cameo display when shooting straight at Alphonse Areola, but on the night County could not bridge the gulf in class.

Bowen: You’ve got to beat the best to win the cup

Jarrod Bowen said “to be the best you’ve got to beat the best” after West Ham were drawn to face United in the fifth round.

“I found out (about the draw) on the bench. We’ve got Man Utd away so listen it’s never easy and if we want to be successful in these competitions we’ve got to beat the best teams,” Bowen told ITV Sport.

“With respect to Man United they’re a top top team but we’ve been there plenty of times before and you’ve got to beat the best to be the best.”

Bowen added: “It was nice to score against Everton and tonight as well. I think the situation that we’re in, any sort of confidence from any player…

“The last two to be involved with was very good for me but I think for us, two wins on the bounce as well, two good results for us and it’s all about momentum in this game and I think we can use this going forward.”

Warne: We can’t knock the lads

Derby manager Paul Warne told ITV Sport: “In fairness West Ham played a professional performance, at times I thought we went toe-to-toe but I don’t think we did enough to score unfortunately.

“We can’t knock the lads tonight, we asked them to be the best versions of themselves against a Premier League team so not bad.

“But we probably didn’t have enough graft in the final third but I can’t really knock them and we know West Ham haven’t got an easy draw next but I wish them a sincere good luck.

“I thought the lads gave a good account of themselves at times and at times they were punching.”

What’s next?

Derby return to League One action on Saturday at home to Morecambe – kick-off 3pm – before travelling to Wycombe on Saturday February 11; kick-off 3pm.

West Ham’s next game is away to Newcastle in the Premier League on Saturday, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 5.30pm.

Saturday 4th February 5:00pm

Kick off 5:30pm

The Hammers then host London rivals Chelsea on Saturday February 11; kick-off 12.30pm.

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NFL’s ratio of Black QBs to Black head coaches is all wrong



Jalen Hurts

Jalen Hurts
Photo: AP

Marlin Briscoe is smiling in heaven. Doug Williams probably has a huge grin on his face. The first Black starting quarterback in NFL history — Briscoe — and the first Black quarterback to start and win Super Bowl MVP — Williams — are the giants whose shoulders Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts are standing on. And between Rihanna’s halftime performance and the fact that we’re about to watch history made as two Black quarterbacks take center stage in sports’ biggest game — you could make the case that it’s destiny, given that it will all take place during Black History Month.

But, don’t let this moment distract you from the fact that Black coaches are still getting a raw deal at a time in which Black quarterbacks are being elevated like never before. Two things can be true at once, this is why this moment is such a joyous, yet infuriating one.

Sixteen years after we watched Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy make history as the first two Black head coaches to appear in the Super Bowl, we’re watching Mahomes and Hurts do it for Black quarterbacks. But since that February day in 2007, things for Black coaches have seemed to fall apart as they’ve improved for Black quarterbacks.

Eleven Black quarterbacks started Week 1. Now compare that to the three Black coaches who had jobs when the season began — Mike McDaniel doesn’t count, as he chooses to identify as a human being with a Black dad.

When Lovie Smith got fired in Houston, three became two. And as we wait for the remaining hires to be made, there isn’t a track record or feeling that anything will be done in the next few weeks to greatly improve these dismal numbers. We’re at a point in which the league, the owners, and fans are fine with having a Black man be their quarterback — but not their coach.

Over the years, the trajectory for Black quarterbacks has steadily risen in a way that hasn’t happened for Black coaches. By the time we reach kickoff, it will mean that eight Black quarterbacks have started in the Super Bowl. It’s a direct result of evolution over the years. What was started by Fritz Pollard, Briscoe, and Williams led the way for Michael Vick to be the first Black quarterback drafted No. 1 and for Steve McNair to be the first Black quarterback to win MVP — which was followed by Mahomes and Lamar Jackson.

Progress on the field, not on the sidelines

This type of progress isn’t something we’ve seen with Black coaches, though. At roughly this point last year, there were only two Black head coaches in the league — Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh and David Culley in Houston. As we know, Culley would get fired after one season by the Texans and would get replaced by Smith, another Black coach that would be fired after a lone year on the job. Brian Flores’ class-action lawsuit (which was joined by Ray Horton and Steve Wilks) is still hovering over the league. But, you wouldn’t know it the way that Wilks wasn’t able to keep his interim tag — which is a death sentence for Black coaches — with the Carolina Panthers despite doing a wonderful job.

In 2000, Dennis Green (Minnesota) and Dungy (Tampa) were the only two Black full-time head coaches in the NFL. Twenty-three years later, we’re in the same place, but worse. The XFL is just weeks away from rebooting and their eight-team league already has four Black head coaches. It’s a jarring stat that embodies just how big this problem is, despite what Todd Bowles thinks.

“I think the minute you guys stop making a big deal about it, everybody else will as well,” one of the two Black coaches in the league had the audacity to say earlier in the season.

In less than two weeks, a league that’s majority Black will make history when two Black quarterbacks play in a game that will feature entertainment before the game and during halftime from Black performers in a month that’s dedicated to recognizing the contributions to what Black people have made to this country. It will be a joyous occasion.

However, while you’re enjoying the game, I beg of you to ask one question to the company you’ll keep on that day. “If the NFL, America and the world can accept all this Blackness, then why won’t they accept Black coaches?” And while you’re waiting for people to answer that question, realize that “End Racism” was etched on the field all season. 

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