CONCACAF tweaks 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying format, with eight spots for last round

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The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Organization Football (CONCACAF) announced its new qualifying format and schedule changes for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. This will allow 30 teams to qualify for one of three-and-a-half spots.

There are three rounds in these qualifiers. The first round contains all 30 teams separated into six groups, which will be made up our minds by every team’s seeding on the FIFA rankings as of July 16, 2020. The highest-seeded teams in this a part of the qualifiers are El Salvador, Canada, Curacao, Panama, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago (more on that later). Like usual, every team will play each and every other team once, with two home games and two absent games per side.

The second one round consists of the group winners from the first round with the matchups as follows, per CONCACAF:

Group A winner vs Group F winnerGroup B winner vs Group E winnerGroup C winner vs Group D winner

These games are expected to take place on March 2021 and three winners will move on to the last round. 

Whether you made it this far and are wondering why the USA and Mexico have yet to be mentioned, it is because those teams have already qualified for the last round of the qualifiers — along side Costa Rica, Jamaica and Honduras. Those five teams, along side the three winners of the second one round, will all face every other once at home and once absent. The top three finishing teams all qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The fourth place team will play in a FIFA Intercontinental Playoff for a spot in the tournament in June 2022.

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