UEFA World Cup qualifying scores: Live stream, TV schedule, time, standings, format for European qualifiers

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Summer’s European Championships may still be front of mind, but this month the continent’s focus shifts to Qatar 2022 as qualifying has begun for next year’s World Cup.

Nations were due to play two of their qualifiers this month but the pressure on the international schedule brought on by COVID-19, which forced Euro 2020 to be postponed to this summer, means that instead there will be three matchdays to fit in as Europe rushes to conclude its qualifying before the end of the calendar year.

How qualifying works

Team in each of the 10 groups play one home and one away match against the other four or five teams in their group, which are seeded in six separate pots to keep the continents’ top teams separate. The winner of each group will be guaranteed a spot at next winter’s World Cup. 

Where matters become rather more complicated is in the awarding of the remaining three spots. In previous years these would have been decided by play offs among the group stages second place teams. Instead those 10 nations will be joined by the best two Nations League winners that finished outside the top two in the groups. So, for instance, in the unlikely event that France were to finish behind Ukraine and Finland in Group D they would be one of the 12 teams in the second round of qualifying.

Those 12 will be split into three groups of four who would play one-legged semi-finals and a final for a qualifying spot. Those matches are due to take place in March 2022.

TV and Live stream

UEFA European qualifiers will be streamed on ESPN+ (English) and TUDN (Spanish) in the United States. Matches on TUDN can be streamed via fuboTV (Try for free).

Storylines

Though World Cup qualifying groups have in the past been known to throw up the odd group of death — take 2018 when Italy were drawn alongside Spain and found themselves knocked out by Sweden in the playoffs — this year there is no obvious clash between two footballing juggernauts. However, several big names may find their tasks rather trickier than they look on paper. 

A Switzerland side that drew with Spain and Germany twice in the Nations League are unlikely to be an easy out for Italy and a Poland side who topped their Euros qualifying group have quality in goal and the best striker on the continent in Robert Lewandowski. Could that be enough to sneak past England in Group I?

Group F looks to be the most intriguingly balanced with Denmark its top seed. Below them are Austria, who since international football’s resumption in September 2020 have a 6-1-1 record, a Scotland side on a high after qualifying for the Euros, their first men’s international tournament since 1998 and Israel, rarely an easy out in these competitions.

Then there is Group J, where Germany will begin their qualifying journey with Joachim Low. The 2014 World Cup winner will not see Die Mannschaft to the end of the process however, having announced that he will step down after Euro 2020. Bayern Munich boss Hansi Flick is among those in the mix to be appointed after this summer’s tournament and there will be as much focus on who succeeds Low as how his side fare in games against Iceland, Romania and North Macedonia.

Finally there is another record in sight for Cristiano Ronaldo. With 102 goals for Portugal to his name he needs eight to break the record set by Ali Daei for Iran. A Selecao face Azerbaijan, Serbia and Luxembourg in March and though the latter are not the pushovers they once were, Ronaldo will surely believe he can take a significant stride over the coming weeks towards what would one of his most significant landmarks.

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Fixture dates

Matchdays 1-3 take place between March 24 and 31 with a further three fixtures in early September. The remaining qualifiers will be completed in two blocks of two games in October and November.

  • Matchday 1: March 24-25
  • Matchday 2: March 27-28
  • Matchday 3: March 30-31
  • Matchday 4: September 1-2
  • Matchday 5: September 4-5
  • Matchday 6: September 7-8
  • Matchday 7: October 8-9
  • Matchday 8: October 11-12
  • Matchday 9: November 11-13
  • Matchday 10: November 14-16
  • Play-offs (2022): March 24, 25, 28, 29

Teams from Group A will also face Qatar in a series of friendlies to help the on-pitch preparation of the 2022 World Cup host nation, who automatically qualified for the competition.

Groups

Group A

Pos Nation Pld W D L GD Pts

1

Portugal

3

2

1

0

+3

7

2

Serbia

3

2

1

0

+2

7

3

Luxembourg

2

1

0

1

-1

3

4

Ireland

2

0

0

2

-2

0

5

Azerbaijan

2

0

0

2

-2

0

Group B

Pos Nation Pld W D L GD Pts

1

Spain

3

2

1

0

+3

7

2

Sweden

2

2

0

0

+4

6

3

Greece

2

0

2

0

0

2

4

Georgia

3

0

1

2

-2

1

5

Kosovo

2

0

0

2

-5

0

Group C

Pos Nation Pld W D L GD Pts
1 Italy 3 3 0 0 +6 9

2

Switzerland

2

2

0

0

+3

6

3

Northern Ireland

2

0

1

1

-2

1

4

Bulgaria

3

0

1

2

-4

1

5 Lithuania 2 0 0 2 -3 0

Group D

Pos Nation Pld W D L GD Pts

1

France

3

2

1

0

+3

7

2

Ukraine

3

0

3

0

0

3

3

Finland

2

0

2

0

0

2

4

Bosnia and Herzegovina

2

0

1

1

-1

1

5

Kazakhstan

2

0

1

1

-2

1

Group E

Pos Nation Pld W D L GD Pts

1

Belgium

3

2

1

0

+10

7

2

Czech Republic

3

1

1

1

+3

4

3

Wales

2

1

0

1

-1

3

4

Belarus

2

1

0

1

-6

3

5

Estonia

2

0

0

2

-6

0

Group F

Pos Nation Pld W D L GD Pts

1

Denmark

3

3

0

0

+14

9

2

Scotland

3

1

2

0

+4

5

3

Israel

3

1

1

1

+1

4

4

Austria

3

1

1

1

-2

4

5

Faroe Islands

3

0

1

2

-6

1

6 Moldova 3 0 1 2 -11 1

Group G

Pos Nation Pld W D L GD Pts

1

Turkey

3

2

1

0

+5

7

2

Netherlands

3

2

0

1

+7

6

3

Montenegro

3

2

0

1

+3

6

4

Norway

3

2

0

1

+1

6

5

Latvia

3

0

1

2

-3

1

6

Gibraltar

2

0

0

3

-13

0

Group H

Pos Nation Pld W D L GD Pts

1

Croatia

3

2

0

1

+3

6

2

Russia

3

2

0

1

+2

6

3

Slovakia

3

1

2

0

+1

5

4

Cyprus

3

1

1

1

0

4

5

Slovenia

3

1

0

2

-1

3

6

Malta

3

0

1

2

-5

1

Group I

Pos Nation Pld W D L GD Pts

1

England

3

3

0

0

+8

9

2

Hungary

3

2

1

0

+6

7

3

Albania

3

2

0

1

+1

6

4

Poland

3

1

1

1

+2

4

5

Andorra

3

0

0

3

-7

0

6

San Marino

3

0

0

3

-10

0

Group J

Pos Nation Pld W D L GD Pts

1

Armenia

3

3

0

0

+4

9

2

North Macedonia

3

2

0

1

+5

6

3

Germany

3

2

0

1

+3

6

4

Romania

3

1

0

2

-1

3

5

Iceland

3

1

0

2

-2

3

6

Liechtenstein

3

0

0

3

-9

0

Schedule: Matchday 1

(All times U.S./Eastern)

Wednesday, March 24

  • Turkey 4, Netherlands 2
  • Serbia 3, Ireland 2 
  • Portugal 1, Azerbaijan 0
  • Finland 2, Bosnia and Herzegovina 2
  • France 1, Ukraine 1
  • Estonia 2, Czech Republic 6
  • Belgium 3, Wales 1
  • Gibraltar 0, Norway 3
  • Latvia 1, Montenegro 2
  • Malta 1, Russia 3
  • Cyprus 0, Slovakia 0
  • Slovenia 1, Croatia 0

Thursday, March 25

  • Switzerland 3, Bulgaria 1
  • Denmark 2, Israel 0
  • Sweden 1, Georgia 0 
  • Spain 1, Greece 1
  • Italy 2, Northern Ireland 0 
  • Moldova 1, Faroe Islands 1 
  • Scotland 2, Austria 2 
  • Albania 1, Andorra 0 
  • Hungary 3, Poland 3 
  • England 5, San Marino 0 
  • Armenia 1 Liechtenstein 0 
  • Romania 3, North Macedonia 2 
  • Germany 3, Iceland 0

Matchday 2

Saturday, March 27

  • Montenegro 4, Gibraltar 1
  • Russia 2, Slovenia 1
  • Belarus 4, Estonia 2
  • Netherlands 2, Latvia 0
  • Norway 0, Turkey 3
  • Croatia 1, Cyprus 0
  • Serbia 2, Portugal 2
  • Ireland 0, Luxembourg 1
  • Czech Republic 1, Belgium 1
  • Slovakia 2, Malta 2

Sunday, March 28

  • France 2, Kazakhstan 0 
  • Denmark 8, Moldova 0 
  • England 2, Albania 0 
  • Spain 2, Georgia 1 
  • Armenia 2, Iceland 0 
  • Germany 1, Romania 0 
  • Austria 3, Faroe Islands 1 
  • Switzerland 1, Lithuania 0 
  • Italy 2, Bulgaria 0 
  • Hungary 3, San Marino 0 
  • Ukraine 1, Finland 1 
  • North Macedonia 5, Liechtenstein 0 
  • Israel 1, Scotland 1 
  • Sweden 3, Kosovo 0 
  • Poland 3, Andorra 0

Matchday 3

Tuesday, March 30

  • Serbia 2, Azerbaijan 1 
  • Cyprus 1, Slovenia 0 
  • Croatia 3, Malta 0 
  • Netherlands 7, Gibraltar 0 
  • Portugal 3, Luxembourg 1 
  • Wales 1, Czech Republic 0 
  • Norway 1, Montenegro 0 
  • Slovakia 2, Russia 1 
  •  Belgium 8, Belarus 0 
  • Turkey 3, Latvia 3

Wednesday, March 31

  • Armenia 3, Romania 2
  • Greece 1, Georgia 1
  • Spain 3, Kosovo 1
  • Lithuania 0, Italy 2
  • Northern Ireland 0, Bulgaria 0
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina 0, France 1
  • Ukraine 1, Kazakhstan 1
  • Moldova 1, Israel 4
  • Scotland 4, Faroe Islands 0
  • Austria 0, Denmark 4
  • San Marino 0, Albania 2
  • Andorra 1, Hungary 4
  • England 2, Poland 1
  • Liechtenstein 1, Iceland 4
  • Germany 1, North Macedonia 2