Scotland and Wales best and worst draws for potential Qatar 2022 qualification


FIFA have just announced their latest international rankings. However, this time, the rankings are not a meaningless PR exercise as football’s governing body have decided the pots for Friday’s World Cup draw.

Scotland and Wales are still technically in the World Cup draw. Scotland has not looked forward to the draw since 1998, and the wait has been even longer for the Welsh, who last qualified in 1958.

Scotland’s scheduled March 24th play-off with Ukraine was postponed due to the Russian invasion. Wales’s match with Austria continued. The Dragons progressed through but have to await the game winners between the beleaguered Black Sea nation and their Celtic friends.

This means that Scotland and Wales will be in the draw on April 1st, although the words used will be ‘winner of European play-off’. That term, in reality, means one of Scotland, Wales or Ukraine.

Their Pot 4 includes five known nations, Cameroon, Canada, Ecuador, Saudi Arabia and Ghana, plus two other play-off winners.

But who might they draw from the other pots? What are Wales and Scotland’s best and worst draws?

Pot 1 includes the highest-ranked sides; Qatar (host nation), Brazil, Belgium, France, Argentina, England, Spain and Portugal.

Of those, Qatar are obviously the weakest and are a side going far beyond any previous meaningful matches. On ability and experience, they must surely be one of the sides the Celtic hopefuls would welcome.

Portugal would appear to be the weakest of the others, with Brazil, Belgium, and Argentina the countries to avoid. The elimination of European Champions Italy has weakened the very top of this draw. Portugal would generally have occupied Pot 2.

Wales, however, may welcome Belgium. They drew with them in Cardiff as recently as November 2021 and famously beat them 3-1 in the last EUROs.

Pot 2 looks, if anything, scarier than Pot 1. Mexico, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Uruguay, Switzerland, USA, and Croatia are there.

Mexico and the USA qualify with regularity through a very lopsided CONCACAF group, and neither has to be an especially good side. In this cycle, the USA may be even weaker than normal.

The Yanks may indeed be the team to draw. It’s fairly evident that Germany are the team to avoid, although the Netherlands and Uruguay look troublesome too. Switzerland and Denmark performed admirably in the EUROs, with the Swiss eliminating France and the Danes reaching the semi-final.

Scotland especially will want to avoid Croatia, who outplayed them at Hampden in the same tournament. Wales might want to avoid Denmark, who thumped them 4-0 last summer in EURO2020. The Danes also beat them twice in the Nations League.

However, they might welcome Mexico, who they beat in a friendly last year.

Pot 3 is a geographical mish-mash with nations from three continents represented, Africa, Asia and Europe. Senegal, IR Iran, Japan, Morocco, Serbia, Poland, Korea Republic and Tunisia have landed here.

Senegal are current African champions and, perhaps along with Serbia, look the sides to avoid. But South Korea have a habit of excelling at World Cup finals and looks like maybe, the toughest competition here. Tunisia and Iran may be considered the best.

Scotland’s last World Cup finals match was against Morocco in 1998, a disastrous 3-0 drubbing in St Etienne ensued. A few members of the Tartan Army have avoided watching the highlight of that game for 24 years and may well have to face the music.


Wales have never played an African side in a competitive fixture which would put them at a huge disadvantage against African champions Senegal. The Lions of Teranga faced France, Denmark and Sweden in 2002 and beat Poland in 2018.

Furthermore, Senegal have a litany of EPL players for whom Wales would be no exotic mystery, from Édouard Mendy to Sadio Mané.

With all that said, here are the best and worst draws for Scotland:

Best and worst draws for Scotland:

Best: Scotland, Qatar, USA, Tunisia

Worst: Scotland, Brazil, Germany, Morocco

Best and worst draws for Wales:

Best: Wales, Qatar, Mexico, Tunisia,

Worst: Wales, Brazil, Denmark, Senegal

Full pots:

  • Pot 1: Qatar (host nation), Brazil, Belgium, France, Argentina, England, Spain, Portugal
  • Pot 2: Mexico, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Uruguay, Switzerland, USA, Croatia
  • Pot 3: Senegal, IR Iran, Japan, Morocco, Serbia, Poland, South Korea, Tunisia
  • Pot 4: Cameroon, Canada, Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, winner of intercontinental play-off 1, winner of intercontinental play-off 2, winner of the European play-off

The other two playoffs to decide Pot 4 will feature New Zealand who travel to Costa Rica on Monday, June 13. Australia will face the United Arab Emirates in Doha, with the winner of that clash meeting Peru.

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