08 December 2020 04:30
England have been drawn against familiar foes Poland after the European fixtures for 2022 World Cup qualifying were announced. Poland, led by the star striker Robert Lewandowski, have faced England in qualifying for the 1974, 1990, 1994, 2006 and 2014 World Cups, as well as taking on England in the finals in Mexico in 1986. England and Poland also met in qualifying for the 1992 and 2000 European Championship tournaments. Gareth Southgate's men have also been drawn against Hungary, Albania, Andorra and San Marino in matches which will be played between March and November next year. There were also familiar ties for the other British and Irish teams.
Wales face the world's No 1-ranked team, Belgium, in Group E alongside the Czech Republic, Belarus and Estonia. Wales achieved one of their most famous victories against the Belgians when they beat them in the quarter-finals of Euro 2016. Scotland are up against Denmark, Austria, Israel, the Faroe Islands and Moldova in Group F as they seek a first World Cup qualification since 1998. The Scots lost against Israel in a Nations League match last month after they had beaten Serbia on penalties in their European Championship play-off. Quick Guide 2022 World Cup qualifying draw for Uefa nations Show Group A: Portugal, Serbia, Rep of Ireland, Luxembourg, Azerbaijan Group B: Spain, Sweden, Greece, Georgia, Kosovo Group C: Italy, Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, Lithuania Group D: France, Ukraine, Finland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan Group E: Belgium, Wales, Czech Republic, Belarus, Estonia Group F: Denmark, Austria, Scotland, Israel, Faroe Islands, Moldova Group G: Netherlands, Turkey, Norway, Montenegro, Latvia, Gibraltar Group H: Croatia, Slovakia, Russia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta Group I: England, Poland, Hungary, Albania, Andorra, San Marino Group J: Germany, Romania, Iceland, North Macedonia, Armenia, Liechtenstein Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have been placed in five-team groups.
The Republic face the reigning European champions, Portugal, as well as Serbia, Luxembourg and Azerbaijan in Group A, while Northern Ireland face a tough group against Italy, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Lithuania. The Republic faced Portugal in qualifying for the 2002 World Cup, but their most recent match against them was a 5-1 friendly defeat just before the 2014 finals. The dates for the first set of qualification will take place before next year's European Championship: Matchday 3: 30–31 March 2021 The European qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is now set after Monday's draw for all 10 groups was completed. Top seeds Portugal, Spain, Italy, France and Belgium all landed reasonably favourable groups with the Netherlands, Croatia, England and Germany dealt potentially trickier routes. Didier Deschamps' defending world champions are in Group D and have Ukraine, Finland--who recently won at Stade de France in a friendly--Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Kazakhstan for company. The biggest threats for the Portuguese in Group A are Serbia and Republic of Ireland while the Spanish have been drawn against Sweden and Greece in Group B. The Italians have been dealt border rivals Switzerland with Northern Ireland and Bulgaria also in Group C while Belgium are joined by the likes of Wales, Czech Republic and Belarus in Group E. The groups grew from five teams to six at this stage, so Group F boasts Denmark, Austria, Scotland and Israel as well as Faroe Islands and Moldova while Netherlands found themselves with Turkey, Norway, Montenegro, Latvia and Gibraltar. The runners-up from 2018, Croatia, are in Group H with Slovakia, Russia and Slovenia while England have Poland, Hungary and Albania in Group I and Germany got Romania and Iceland in Group J. Europe's qualification period will get underway in March of 2021 before the rearranged Euro 2020 in the summer.