World Cup 2022 draw: Everything you need to know

The draw for an unprecedented FIFA World Cup takes place Friday as teams discover their fates for the first winter edition of football’s flagship event, in Qatar this December. With several spots still yet to be decided, only 29 of the 32 participants will be confirmed when the draw gets underway at the Doha Exhibition Center at 7 p.m. local time (12 p.m. ET). Here’s everything you need to know about Friday’s ceremony. Who has qualified? Having won the bid in 2010 and with hosts rewarded with automatic qualification, Qatar has had a decade to prepare for its World Cup debut. The Gulf nation will be joined by the 10 European winners of UEFA’s qualifying groups, fronted by four-time winner Germany and two-time champion France, as well as Spain and England, who both have one World Cup triumph to their names. Serbia, Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Croatia and the Netherlands round up the rest of the European group winners. Ad Feedback Portugal and Poland stamped their tickets after progressing through the UEFA playoffs, with wins over North Macedonia and Sweden respectively ensuring that legendary forwards Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski will both feature in Qatar. Cristiano Ronaldo warms up prior to Portugal's 2-0 victory over North Macedonia. Cristiano Ronaldo warms up prior to Portugal's 2-0 victory over North Macedonia. Octavio Passos/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images Brazil, the most successful country in World Cup history with five titles, played to form by qualifying as group winner of the CONMEBOL – the South American Football Confederation – round robin. The Seleçao was followed through by old rival Argentina, as well as Uruguay and Ecuador. Police fire tear gas to chase pitch invaders at the end of Ghana and Nigeria 2022 Qatar World Cup qualifying playoff second leg soccer match, at Moshood Abiola Stadium, in Abuja, Nigeria, Tuesday, March. 29, 2022. Ghana became the first team from Africa to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar after a 1-1 draw with Nigeria in the second leg of their playoff on Tuesday to advance on away goals. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba) Fans storm onto the pitch as Ghana earns World Cup berth over Nigeria A thrilling week of CAF – the Confederation of African Football – third round qualifiers concluded with Senegal proving to be the bane of Egypt once again, securing its passage to Qatar via penalties on Tuesday. Cameroon edged past Algeria courtesy of a winner deep into extra-time, with Ghana, Tunisia and Morocco rounding up the rest of the African contingent set for Friday’s draw. In the AFC – the Asian Football Confederation – section of qualifying, Iran, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Japan went through to ensure back-to-back World Cup appearances. Canada secured its first World Cup qualification in 36 years after topping the CONCACAF – the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football – round-robin. Tajon Buchanan celebrates after Canada defeated Jamaica 4-0 in its World Cup qualifier to secure a place in Qatar. Tajon Buchanan celebrates after Canada defeated Jamaica 4-0 in its World Cup qualifier to secure a place in Qatar. GEOFF ROBINS/AFP/AFP via Getty Images On Wednesday, the United States ended an eight-year World Cup hiatus, qualifying despite losing 2-0 to Costa Rica in San Jose. They will be joined by neighbours Mexico, who finished second to take the other CONCACAF qualification spot. Who is still to qualify? Two intercontinental playoffs in June will decide the next two spots. Peru will face the winner of the United Arab Emirates versus Australia, while Costa Rica will face New Zealand in the other playoff. The final spot will be the victor of a match between Wales and one of Scotland or Ukraine, a game initially scheduled to take place on March 24 but postponed by FIFA to June following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. A date for the rescheduled qualifier is yet to be announced by FIFA. Who missed out? Reigning European champion Italy was undoubtedly the most shocking casualty of qualifying, the four-time World Cup winner missing out for the second tournament in a row after being stunned by North Macedonia. Italy's Giorgio Chiellini looks dejected after defeat against North Macedonia. Italy's Giorgio Chiellini looks dejected after defeat against North Macedonia. Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images Mohamed Salah and Riyad Mahrez will both miss out after Egypt and Algeria failed to qualify. Salah’s Liverpool teammate Luis Diaz will also not feature after Colombia endured a disappointing qualifying run. Young superstar striker Erling Haaland also misses out, as Norway finished third in its qualifying group. Who’s in which pot? The draw is seeded into eight groups from four pots, organized according to FIFA’s men’s world rankings as of March 31. Teams from the same confederation cannot be grouped together, barring Europe, given they will have 13 teams present in Qatar. Pot 1 - Host and the seven highest-ranked countries Qatar Belgium Brazil France Argentina England Spain Portugal Pot 2 - 8th-15th highest-ranked countries Denmark Netherlands Germany Mexico United States Switzerland Croatia Uruguay Pot 3 - 16th-23rd ranked Senegal Iran Japan Morocco Serbia Poland South Korea Tunisia Pot 4 - 24-28th ranked, plus intercontinental playoff winners and final UEFA playoff winner Saudi Arabia Ecuador Ghana Cameroon Canada Costa Rica or New Zealand Peru or UAE or Australia Wales or Ukraine or Scotland Key dates Qatar is set to host the curtain raiser on November 21, with the final round of group games concluding on December 2. The knockout stages begin the following day, running until December 18 when the Lusail Stadium will play host to the World Cup final....

Liverpool and Manchester City run-in predictions: Projecting all the fixtures in Premier League title race

Do Manchester City have the Premier League title-race edge over Liverpool, or did they blow a chance to break free of their rivals? Should Liverpool regret not taking the opportunity to overhaul Pep Guardiola’s side at the top or do they remain in prime position to pounce on any slip-up? In some respects, after the corruscating 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium on April 10, nothing is any clearer. Here are the facts: City lead Liverpool by 74 to 73 points and each side has seven games remaining. We’ve taken a look at all of those fixtures and what possible pitfalls might remain for Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, whose teams are also gunning for Champions League glory and meet again on April 16 in the semifinals of the FA Cup....

How will Erling Haaland fit in at Man City? Will he be Pep Guardiola's top earner?

Pep Guardiola was keen not to comment at his Tuesday news conference but the main online chatter around Manchester City had nothing to do with their key midweek Premier League showdown against Brighton. According to The Daily Mail, City have agreed initial personal terms with Erling Haaland’s representatives on a £500,000 per week wage package, putting them in pole position to trigger the Borussia Dortmund superstar’s €75 million (£63m) release clause. Haaland’s brace in Dortmund’s 6-1 weekend win over Wolfsburg took the Norway striker to 33 goals in just 31 games for club and country this season. Such form makes him one of the hottest properties in world football, but what will it mean if the 21-year-old links up with Guardiola and City? Do Man City need a striker? During Sergio Aguero’s injury-ruined final season at the club in 2020/21 and throughout the current campaign, following a failed attempt to lure Harry Kane from Tottenham, City have largely operated without a specialist striker. Sometimes that has meant the likes of Raheem Sterling or, before his January exit to Barcelona, Ferran Torres filling in as a conventional forward but, for the most part, Guardiola has used his signature false-nine strategy, with an array of attacking midfield schemers serving as the roving point of his attack. Given City won the Premier League and Carabao Cup last season, while reaching the Champions League final, and are in contention for the top prizes at home and abroad this term, it feels fair to ask whether they need to splash out on Haaland. The short answer is that they do and don’t, take our word for it. “We need a striker, I think the club is going to try, it hasn’t happened but in the end we adapt,” Guardiola said last month. The adaptation, as detailed above, has been pretty impressive and a team full of attacking creatives feels in step with Guardiola’s footballing vision, especially considering his record working with big-name strikers seems mixed at first glance. Would Erling Haaland be Pep Guardiola’s next Zlatan Ibrahimovic? Samuel Eto’o and Thierry Henry both featured in Guardiola’s treble-winning 2008/09 Barcelona side but then left in consecutive summers. By the time of Henry’s 2010 departure, another star frontman had arrived, whose travails in Catalonia still shape much of the perception around Guardiola and how he operates with traditional strikers. Zlatan Ibrahimoivic joined from Inter in 2009 but was loaned to AC Milan the following year after falling out of favour with Guardiola, who he has rarely missed an opportunity to express his disdain towards since. Given Haaland’s larger-than-life presence on the field, not to mention indications of a not inconsiderable ego, it is easy to see signs of him becoming Zlatan Mk II at City. On closer inspection, that’s unlikely. Firstly, Guardiola is no rookie coach anymore. The idiosyncrasies that Ibrahimovic found so distasteful are now responsible for a decade of virtually unbroken success at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and City. Haaland and any other star arrival has plenty of reasons to tolerate Guardiola’s quirks because of the seemingly guaranteed medals that await. Erling Haaland Secondly, Lionel Messi was a huge factor in Ibrahimovic’s discomfort, having played and thrived as a false nine towards the end of 2008/09. Messi wanted to play centrally, which meant he and Ibrahimovic could not co-exist and something had to give. By contrast, the false nine position at City has become something of a self-sacrificing role for Phil Foden, Jack Grealish or whoever else has filled it. They would probably be glad of someone else coming to take the burden. Finally, despite initial teething problems, Robert Lewandowski and Sergio Aguero each thrived under Guardiola. Haaland is far more likely to follow their examples than repeat Ibrahomovic’s Camp Nou torment....

Champions League top goal scorers 2021-2022: Updated golden boot rankings

Robert Lewandowski has competition for the 2021-22 Champions League scoring crown. While Bayern Munich's potent Polish forward went without a goal in the quarterfinal first leg at Villarreal, Real Madrid's Karim Benzema registered a second consecutive hat trick to come within a single goal. Lewandowski leads with 12 goals compared to Benzema's 11. Benzema, who silenced Chelsea's home crowd with his three goals, is tied with Ajax forward Sebastien Haller who wrapped up his tournament with 11 goals, including scoring in each of his first seven matches. But Haller's Ajax squad were eliminated in the Round of 16 after he could not score in an eighth straight game. Ajax lost that match at home to Benfica 1-0, dropping out of the tournament 3-2 on aggregate. Lewandowski and Benzema have already surpassed last season's top scorer, Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, and they still have at least Tuesday's quarterfinal second leg left to play. They're both chasing Cristiano Ronaldo's Champions League single-season record of 17 goals (2013-14). In the chart below, the players are ranked by their goal totals beginning with the group stage. Assists are used as the first tiebreaker, and the second tiebreaker is fewest minutes played. Both are in line with the top scorer tiebreakers that European governing body UEFA implemented for the European Championships....

FA Cup prize money breakdown: How much do the winners get in 2022?

The FA Cup, in its 141st edition since its inception in 1871, is one of the major competitions on the English football calendar and the oldest domestic knockout competition in the world. The tournament is open to all clubs in the top 10 tiers of the sport in England, with 124 teams participating in the first round, including all 92 from the top four tiers of the professional game. We're now into the Fifth Round of the 2021-22 FA Cup which will wrap up on Monday, March 7. Given the long tradition of the competition, merely hoisting the FA Cup trophy represents a career achievement for most players. The automatic berth into the following season's Europa League group stage is an added bonus. But there is also significant prize money up for grabs for the tournament winner. Here's the breakdown of the cash at stake for the clubs in the competition. MORE: FA Cup quarterfinal draw details FA Cup prize money in 2022 A Premier League team that enters in the third round and goes on to win the FA Cup would net that club a total of $4,625,000. Quite the boon. The big money comes from just making the final, with teams paid out first for winning their semifinal and then again whether they win or lose the final. So a semifinal victory guarantees a double payday no matter the result of the title match....

EURO 2020: All you need to know about the tournament

When and where is it, how will it work and how can you be there? All you need to know about UEFA EURO 2020. What are the key dates? The final tournament dates are 11 June to 11 July 2021. How does the group stage look? Portugal v France: Their previous EURO meetings Group A: Turkey, Italy, Wales, Switzerland Group B: Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Russia Group C: Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, North Macedonia Group D: England, Croatia, Scotland, Czech Republic Group E: Spain, Sweden, Poland, Slovakia Group F: Hungary, Portugal, France, Germany Who are the hosts? UEFA EURO 2020 is being held across the continent for the first time in the competition's 60-year history, with 11 host cities in all. Final and semi-finals, two round of 16 games, three group games London, England: Wembley Stadium Six group games, one quarter-final Saint Petersburg, Russia: Saint Petersburg Stadium Three group games, one quarter-final Baku, Azerbaijan: Baku Olympic Stadium Munich, Germany: Football Arena Munich Rome, Italy: Olimpico in Rome Three group games, one round of 16 game Amsterdam, Netherlands: Johan Cruijff ArenA Bucharest, Romania: National Arena Bucharest Budapest, Hungary: Puskás Aréna Copenhagen, Denmark: Parken Stadium Glasgow, Scotland: Hampden Park Seville, Spain: Stadium La Cartuja Sevilla What is the tournament format? The format will be the same as for UEFA EURO 2016. The top two in each of the six final tournament groups will proceed to the round of 16 along with the four best third-placed finishers. Will the hosts play their games at home? Check out the UEFA EURO 2020 host cities Host nations that qualified were automatically placed in the following groups: Group A: Italy (Olimpico in Rome)* Group B: Russia (Saint Petersburg Stadium), Denmark (Parken Stadium, Copenhagen)* Group C: Netherlands (Johan Cruijff ArenA, Amsterdam)* Group D: England (Wembley Stadium, London)*, Scotland (Hampden Park, Glasgow) Group E: Spain (Stadium La Cartuja Sevilla, Seville)* Group F: Germany (Fußball Arena München, Munich)*, Hungary (Ferenc Puskás Stadium, Budapest)...

How Leicester could line up with new signings next season

The 2020/21 season proved just how strong and resilient Leicester City’s squad is. Despite having to deal with a long list of absentees, the Foxes remained in the top four hunt right up until the final day. However, once again they ended up dropping out of the Champions League places at the death. This summer, as has been the case for some years, Leicester will be more focussed on retaining the core of their squad than spending lavishly, but that does not mean they will not add one or two fresh faces. When all of these comings and going are finalised, here is one way that Brendan Rodgers’ versatile squad could line up on the first day of the 2021/22 season....

Guardiola insists Man City not ready to win Champions League

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola thinks his team is still not ready to win the Champions League. It is no secret that two-times defending Premier League champions City want to win Europe's biggest club competition. But they have failed in the early knockout rounds for several seasons in a row. And Guardiola believes their profligacy in front of goal will cost them in Champions League matches. "We miss a lot of chances in the final third [during a 2-0 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday] and we have to do that to be clinical. When the people say about the Champions League being the target, we are still not ready," he told reporters. "We create a lot and we don't concede, but we can still improve. We are a team in the last two seasons who score a lot and create a lot. I don't have doubt about that, but still we have to keep going and work on that."...

Matip, Alisson train for Liverpool ahead of Man Utd clash

Joel Matip and Alisson returned to Liverpool training on Tuesday. Brazil goalkeeper Alisson has not played since injuring his calf in the opening Premier League match of the season. Matip has been excellent all season, but a knock against Sheffield United last month forced him to miss Liverpool's last two games. Both are now in line for a return this weekend in a blockbuster clash with storied rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday....

England Women’s boss Phil Neville hails ‘outstanding’ performances

England boss Phil Neville has described his side’s last two performances as “outstanding” following their 1-0 friendly win in Portugal. The Lionesses clinched a scrappy victory in Lisbon to ease the pressure on Neville, but Beth Mead’s late winner was gifted by a blunder from Portugal goalkeeper Patricia Morais. England lost to the USA in the World Cup finals last summer and since their third-place play-off defeat to Sweden they have drawn in Belgium and been beaten by Norway and Brazil, who won 2-0 at the Riverside on Saturday. “The players were determined to win and we got the luck we haven’t had in the last five games,” Neville was quoted as saying by the BBC. “The performances over the last two games have been outstanding.” The former Manchester United defender added: “I’m pleased with the players, I’m pleased with the spirit, I’m pleased with the direction that we’re going in. “And for me personally, in terms of what I’ve seen at this camp, it’s been my most enjoyable camp since I’ve been a manager with this England team.” England dominated possession against a side 23 places below them in FIFA’s rankings, but failed to play with cohesion or intensity for long periods. Neville, appointed to the role in January 2018, said on Monday that he did not fear for his position. “We said before the game that a lot of people are saying this is a must-win game. For us every game is like that, every game we want to win, that’s the mentality of these players,” he added. “There were some outstanding performances and I think we’ve seen one or two cement their place at Wembley.” Next up for the Lionesses is a friendly against Germany at Wembley on November 9.- ...

Ryan Giggs hails Wales’ character for keeping Euro 2020 hopes alive

Ryan Giggs saluted the character of his Wales team after a 1-1 draw against Croatia kept alive their Euro 2020 qualifying chances. Gareth Bale’s 33rd goal for his country cancelled out Nikola Vlasic’s ninth-minute strike to keep Wales within touching distance of a top-two spot. Wins away to Azerbaijan and at home to Hungary next month would secure qualification, as long as Slovakia do not collect more than four points from their last two games. Slovakia’s next game is in Croatia, where the World Cup finalists will be seeking to book their ticket to next summer’s European Championship. “We showed character coming back, we didn’t panic,” Wales boss Giggs said after the Cardiff draw. “We showed commitment, but quality as well. I don’t get a lot of time with them, but what they showed doesn’t surprise me as I see the quality in training. “We have played two teams, Slovakia and now Croatia, who can hurt you. “But it’s credit to them, we gave them the information and it’s a step forward.” Giggs described Daniel James as “streetwise” after the Manchester United winger was clattered by defender Domagoj Vida in the first half. James received lengthy treatment from medics on the pitch, but he was able to continue and Giggs said the 21-year-old had passed the concussion protocols. “The physio came over but there was no problem. We did all the (concussion) tests at half-time and he was fine,” Giggs said. “He stayed down and was a bit streetwise. He told the doctors ‘I’m not moving, I’m just sitting still’. “Not to get anyone sent off, he was just using his nous.” Wales will head to Azerbaijan next month without the influential Joe Allen. The Stoke midfielder collected his third booking of the competition and will be suspended for the Baku clash. “He knew he was on a booking, but I don’t think he realised there was a player behind him,” Giggs said. “We will miss his composure but we’ve players who can come in. “Joe Morrell was fantastic to come on in that situation against Croatia. “We have to win our last two games but that point could be vital. “We’re relying on Croatia to beat Slovakia, but we need to win our two games. It won’t be easy.” Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic was unhappy with Bale’s equaliser after Mateo Kovacic had been left on the turf by Ben Davies’ challenge in first-half stoppage time. The Chelsea midfielder did not return for the second half but Dalic said: “He seems to be fine. “But he felt his knee in that challenge so we’ll see in the next few days what the diganosis is. “Mateo was injured and had to leave the game, but we can’t allow ourselves to concede a goal in this way. “We are not very happy. It was similar to the games against Hungary. “We started well and scored, but we didn’t continue in same aggressive way.”...

Klopp was always confident Liverpool would come through wobble at Anfield

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he was not overly concerned after squandering a three-goal advantage against Red Bull Salzburg as he had faith in his players’ strength of character to bounce back. The Reds raced into a commanding lead with goals from Sadio Mane, Andy Robertson and Mohamed Salah inside 36 minutes but started to go backwards when Hee-Chan Hwang pulled one back just before half-time. Takumi Minamino set nerves jangling 10 minutes after the break and when substitute Erling Braut Haaland scored his 18th of the season four minutes after coming on, it appeared the European champions’ homecoming would fall flat. However, Salah took his tally to 12 in 13 Anfield Champions League appearances to secure a first victory in Group E. “That we showed character, I would be the last one to be surprised by that,” said Klopp. “That’s why I was not overly concerned at the moment of 3-3 because I knew we would have moments again. “It would be silly if that were not possible because we did so many good things so we should not lose complete faith in ourselves in the moment when it becomes a bit difficult. “It was far away from being a perfect game but it was a typical Liverpool game, very exciting. I thought after the game maybe I am angry but I realised I am not angry, so why should I show up as if I am angry? “I respect the performance of the opponent and saw a lot of good things from us. We can do better. We will do better. That’s it.” ...