U.S. Men’s National Team Learns Schedule for Final Round of Qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

USA Begins WCQ Away Against Undetermined Second Round Playoff Winner in June 2021; Will Face Mexico at Home in October 2021 and Away in January 2022; Get More World Cup Qualifying News and Info in Latest Version of U.S. Soccer Mobile App

CHICAGO (Aug. 19, 2020) – The U.S. Men’s National Team learned its schedule for the Final Round of 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying following the official draw at FIFA House in Zurich, Switzerland, on Wednesday. The USMNT will open its 14-game Final Round World Cup Qualifying slate in June 2021 away to an undetermined opponent.


"We have been developing this group for more than a year to get ready for World Cup Qualifying, and now we know the path ahead,” USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter said. “This campaign presents some unique challenges, so the message is to be prepared for the unexpected and control what we can control. One thing is certain: this group of players is hungry for the challenge.”


With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing a change to the original World Cup Qualifying format, the Final Round will now feature eight teams playing a 14-game home-and-away round-robin format. Based on being the top five Concacaf teams in July’s FIFA World Ranking, the USA, Costa Rica, Honduras, Jamaica and Mexico automatically qualified for the Final Round, while the three remaining participants will be determined through two preliminary rounds of qualifying which will run from October 2020 to March 2021.


The U.S. could potentially play Trinidad and Tobago away in their opening match of the Final Round of 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, depending on the results in the earlier rounds. Trinidad and Tobago defeated the USMNT in their final match of qualifying in October of 2017 to keep the U.S. from missing the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Trinidad and Tobago, the top seed in Group F, would need to win their group and then win the playoff against the winner of Group A.

Final match dates, times and venues will be confirmed at a later date.

FOLLOW THE USMNT’S WCQ JOURNEY WITH OFFICIAL U.S. SOCCER APP V 2.0

Version 2.0 of The Official U.S. Soccer App launched in conjunction with Wednesday’s draw. The easiest way to follow the USMNT and USWNT, The Official U.S. Soccer App gives users immediate notification of match announcements, rosters and lineups at your fingertips and easy access to TV information. The updated platform brings all U.S. Soccer content into one easy-to access hub so fans never miss behind-the scene video, match highlights and interviews. Once games begin again, The Official U.S. Soccer App will give users the exclusive ability to vote for the Insiders Man or Woman of the Match. Download the App today in the App Store or Google Play. 

ENTER THE OCTAGON

The Final Round of Concacaf World Cup Qualifying was originally set to begin this September with the familiar hexagonal or “Hex” format made up of the top six ranked teams according to the June FIFA Rankings. Because the FIFA international windows in March and June were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it left a few teams still vying for the region’s sixth spot unable to improve their standing, resulting in Concacaf’s decision to alter the format.

The new eight-team, 14-game final round will run from June 2021 through March 2022. Along with a format change came some adjustments to the FIFA international calendar for the next two years. The opening slate in June 2021 will feature a double-window of four matches, making a strong start to the “Octagon” important, while an additional two-match window was added in January 2022, allowing for all countries to make up for the canceled windows earlier this year.  


The top three finishers in the eight-team Final Round group will automatically qualify for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, while the fourth-place finisher will enter a home-and-away intercontinental playoff with a country from another region in June 2022. 

MAKING UP THE FINAL ROUND NUMBERS

While the USA, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Honduras and Mexico are already locked in for the Final Round, the remaining 30 Concacaf nations will compete through two rounds to determine the remaining three teams who will take part in the “Octagonal”. The draw to determine groups for the First Round took place prior to the Final Round draw today in Zurich.

Scheduled for this year’s October and November FIFA Windows, the First Round will feature six groups (Groups A-F) of five teams each playing four matches (two home, two away).


2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying – Concacaf First Round Groups

Group A

Group B

Group C

Group D

Group E

Group F

El Salvador

Canada

Curaçao

Panama

Haiti

Trinidad and Tobago

Antigua and Barbuda

Suriname

Guatemala

Dominican Republic

Nicaragua

St. Kitts and Nevis

Grenada

Bermuda

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Barbados

Belize

Guyana

Montserrat

Cayman Islands

Cuba

Dominica

St. Lucia

Puerto Rico

U.S. Virgin Islands

Aruba

British Virgin Islands

Anguilla

Turks and Caicos

Bahamas


The winners of each group will then advance to the Second Round where they will compete in a home-and-away playoff during the March 2021 FIFA window to complete the eight-team Final Round. The matchups for the playoffs were pre-determined and the winner of each was also assigned a corresponding number for the Final Round schedule: Group A winner vs. Group F winner (Team 3); Group B winner vs. Group E winner (Team 1); Group C winner vs. Group D winner (Team 5).  

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