The 55 nationwide soccer groups in Europe will begin World Cup qualifying this week for the 2022 event in Qatar whilst South America and Asia pause amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The 10 European qualifying teams kick off Wednesday and can play 75 video games in eight days. Some groups will play triple-headers in a schedule squeezed by the lack of dates in June due to the postponed European Championship.
No World Cup qualifying recreation in Europe has been misplaced to journey and quarantine restrictions. Fears that gamers primarily based in Germany can be denied journey didn’t materialize, so Robert Lewandowski can play for Poland in England and David Alaba will be part of Austria in Scotland.
The pandemic was felt in three groups dropping what residence benefit exists when most video games are nonetheless performed with out followers.
Cristiano Ronaldo is not going to play for Portugal at residence, although he will likely be on acquainted floor in Turin, Italy. Portugal selected the stadium of Juventus because the impartial host for its opening qualifier in opposition to Azerbaijan on Wednesday.
Erling Haaland may even play on impartial floor. Norway selected the Spanish metropolis of Malaga for its “residence” recreation in opposition to Turkey on Saturday.
Estonia will host the Czech Republic within the Polish metropolis Lublin on Wednesday.
Defending World Cup champion France begins its qualifying marketing campaign with the staff’s breakout star from the 2018 event, Kylian Mbapp, hitting his finest type of the season.
The Paris Saint-Germain striker reached 100 profession objectives within the French league at solely 22 years outdated by scoring twice in opposition to Lyon on Sunday. A burst of 10 objectives in seven video games began with a hat trick in a Champions League win at Barcelona.
Whereas Olivier Giroud struggles for enjoying time at Chelsea, he’s a favourite of coach Didier Deschamps to associate with Mbapp in assault. France begins in opposition to Ukraine on Wednesday. The five-team group features a third Euro 2020 qualifier in Finland.
Sweden’s match in opposition to Georgia on Thursday appeared to be a low-key recreation earlier than Zlatan Ibrahimovic got here out of worldwide retirement.
The charismatic 39-year-old striker ought to make his first look for Sweden since Euro 2016, wanting so as to add to his national-record 62 objectives.
“I do not need to be thought of and referred to as up for what I did earlier than however for what I can provide now,” stated Ibrahimovic, who will flip 41 one month earlier than subsequent yr’s World Cup in Qatar.
With Spain in the identical group, Sweden will probably be taking part in for a spot within the playoffs.
England’s competitors for locations in assault has not often been so fierce.
Harry Kane is a particular starter at heart ahead however coach Gareth Southgate has loads of choices to help his captain.
Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden, rising teenager Bukayo Saka and Jesse Lingard one of many type gamers within the Premier League are choices for video games in opposition to San Marino, Albania and Poland. Jack Grealish and Jadon Sancho are out injured this time.
The six-team group additionally contains Hungary.
Germany begins its qualifying program underneath Joachim Lw and can proceed in September with a brand new coach.
Lw’s 15-year tenure, which incorporates the 2014 World Cup title, will finish after Euro 2020.
For residence video games in opposition to Iceland and North Macedonia, with a visit to Romania in between, Lw has referred to as up youngsters Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz.
A recall for Bayern Munich veteran Thomas Mller, who will likely be solely 33 at what can be his fourth World Cup, is a query for the following coach.
HOW TO QUALIFY
The 10 group winners will qualify straight for the ultimate event in Qatar.
The 10 runners-up will advance to the playoffs subsequent March, joined by two groups from the Nations League.
A 12-team knockout bracket of single-leg video games will resolve the ultimate three European groups going to Qatar.
(Solely the headline and film of this report could have been reworked by the Enterprise Normal workers; the remainder of the content material is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)