The road to Qatar 2022 begins for European teams on Monday as the World Cup qualifying draw takes place.
Here the PA news agency gives the lowdown on what to expect.
📰 CONFIRMED: The @UEFA Preliminary Draw for the FIFA #WorldCup Qatar 2022 will take place on 7 December— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) October 22, 2020
📺 Ceremony will be live-streamed on https://t.co/zJTWWlvUsi
ℹ️ More info 👉 https://t.co/IKkR0AaasO pic.twitter.com/vkFIti5igq
As with most events in 2020, the draw ceremony will be a virtual event staged in Zurich, the home city of world governing body and World Cup organisers FIFA.
It is due to start at 5pm GMT.
The 55 nations will be split between 10 groups, five containing five teams and five containing six teams. The teams will be placed in six seeding pots, with pot one containing the highest-ranked sides and pot six the lowest.
England are amongst the top seeds, with Wales in the second pot. Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland are all in the third pot, opening up the possibility of some old rivalries being renewed.
🏆 The #NationsLeague semi-finals will be:— UEFA (@UEFA) December 3, 2020
🇮🇹 Italy vs Spain 🇪🇸
🇫🇷 France vs Belgium 🇧🇪
❓ Who will lift the trophy on 10 October 2021?
Groups A to E will feature five teams, with F to J containing six. England have only got a one in six chance of being in one of the five-team groups. This is because fellow top seeds Belgium, France, Italy and Spain, as Nations League finalists, will be awarded places in five-team groups in order for them to also fit in the UEFA tournament in October next year.
The five teams in pot six will be only be drawn into one of the six-team groups.
The games will take place between March and November next year. Qualification play-offs will be played in March 2022.
In total, 13 European countries will feature at Qatar 2022. These will be the 10 group winners, plus three further countries via the play-offs. The play-offs will feature the 10 group runners-up, alongside the two sides ranked highest in the 2020-21 Nations League who have not already qualified as a group winner or secured a runner-up spot. Those 12 teams will be split into three separate paths, with the winner of each booking a ticket to Qatar.
For the first time ever the World Cup will be played in November and December of 2022 to avoid the intense summer heat in the Middle East.