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World Cup 2022 draw explainer: How soccer’s biggest international event gets set

Here’s everything you need to know about the World Cup draw for the 2022 edition.

Soccer: World Cup-Croatia vs France Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports

The stage for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is ready to be set, as the majority of confederation qualifiers were wrapped up this week. There are still a few spots to be decided by playoff matches, but those winners and the rest of the qualified teams will be drawn into their respective groups on Friday.

What is the draw?

The World Cup draw is the event that decides who will be grouped together to kick off the tournament in November. 32 teams will be separated out into eight different groups of four teams each. The group stage at the beginning of the tournament consists of each team inside their respective groups playing each other once, with the top two teams advancing to the knockout rounds after all group stage matches have been played.

How does the draw work?

Teams will be placed into four different pots, with Qatar being the first team in Pot 1 since they’re this year’s hosts. Pots 1-4 are then filled out with the rest of the teams in order of FIFA rankings, with eight teams placed into each pot.

To start the draw, Qatar is drawn first, identified by their different colored ball, and placed into Group A as the hosts. The rest of Pot 1 will follow, with each subsequent team being placed into a different group alphabetically, all the way to Group H. The idea here is that no teams from the same pot will face each other in the group stage.

After Pot 1 is finished, the same process will be repeated for Pots 2, 3, and 4, until all teams have been placed in groups. This handy draw simulator makes it easy to visualize how the teams will be placed in their respective groups.

What teams are involved?

With three teams still left to qualify via playoffs, we already know 29 of the 32 countries who will be involved. Here’s a list of each country, divided into their respective pots.

Pot 1: Qatar, Brazil, Belgium, France, Argentina, England, Spain, Portugal

Pot 2: Mexico, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Uruguay, Switzerland, United States, Croatia

Pot 3: Senegal, Iran, Japan, Morocco, Serbia, Poland, South Korea, Tunisia

Pot 4: Cameroon, Canada, Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, UEFA playoff winner (Wales or Scotland/Ukraine), CONCACAF/OCF playoff winner (Costa Rica or New Zealand), AFC/CONMEBOL playoff winner (Peru or Australia/United Arab Emirates)

How can I watch the draw?

The draw will take place in Doha, Qatar on Friday, April 1. It gets underway at 12 p.m. ET and will be available to watch on FS1 and Telemundo on TV. The Fox Sports app, FoxSports.com, and fuboTV will offer livestream options as well.

Which team is the reigning champion?

France won the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, topping opponents Croatia with a 4-2 final score. An own goal from Croatia’s Mario Mandžukić gave France an early lead, while goals from Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba, and young breakout phenom Kylian Mbappé rounded out the scoring for the French side.

Who is expected to win the title this year?

Five-time champions Brazil are currently favored to win the 2022 World Cup with odds at +500 at DraftKings Sportsbook. France follows closely at +650, with England and Spain at +700 and +750, respectively.

How can I watch World Cup 2022 matches in the US?

Fox Sports has the broadcasting rights in the US to the World Cup in 2022, as every match will be available on one of the Fox networks on television, or via livestream on the Fox Sports app or FoxSports.com.

The World Cup gets underway on November 21 and will run until December 18. This year marks the first time the World Cup hasn’t been played in the summer, as temperatures in Qatar are much too high to run during the usual summer window safely.