August 12, 2022

More than two months after the draw, the groups for the 2022 World Cup are now officially complete. In what will be the last group of 32 teams before the World Cup expands to 48 teams in 2026, the stage is now set for November in Qatar.

After Wales edged out Ukraine to claim the last place in Europe last week to complete the postponed UEFA qualifiers, the last two places have been clinched in a pair of intercontinental playoffs this week in the host country of the World Cup.

In a memorable penalty shoot-out win over Peru, Australia booked their ticket back to Qatar in Monday’s first-leg qualifier. Meanwhile, Costa Rica edged 10-man New Zealand, 1-0, in the second and final qualifier a day later to complete the field. Like the United States men’s national team, which will face Wales in their opening game, France and Spain were eagerly awaiting the results of the playoffs to find out the identity of their first opponents, and they can now start planning their opening matches in the competition.