The second round of World Cup 2022 qualifiers in AFC and CONCACAF have been completed with twelve teams to contest at the final stage in Asia, whereas three teams sealed the last spots for Central America final round this week. Unlike UEFA and South America, the qualifiers in those region are set in stages, considering the big number of members in the condeferation.
In Asia, AFC designs the format in three rounds. The first round is for staging the playoff with 12 teams at the lowest rank in the region facing off to secure the 6 places available in the second round. They are drawn in knock out system with home and away games. The winners go to the second round and are seeded in eight groups along with the other 32 teams with the group leader plus five best runner-up going to the final stage. In addition, this AFC second round qualifiers is also used as the Asian Cup qualifiers. This is to explain why Qatar still joins the group despite already qualified as the World Cup host.
This year, the 12 teams which will be contesting at the AFC World Cup final stage next September are United Arab Emirates (UEA), Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, Lebanon, Oman, Australia, Saudi Arabia, China, Syria, Iran and Iraq. They will be seeded in two groups consisting of six teams. The ones finish on the first and second place in the final standings from each group will directly go to the World Cup finals while the third place will be squaring off to fight for one last ticket to Qatar 2022 via international play off. The groups at this stage will be drawn later on July, 1.
Meanwhile, in CONCACAF, the second round is basically the playoff among the six group leaders at the first round. They will be drawn in a three games with home and away knock-out stage format. The winners at this stage are included alongside the other five teams with the highest FIFA ranks in the region and battling for three automatic places to the World Cup finals. Such only belongs to the teams sitting on the top three, while the fourth place will be up against one team from the other confederation to fight for one ticket from intercontinental play off. Three teams which have to go through from the early stage are Canada, Panama and El Salvador, whereas the top five teams in North and Central America already waiting at the final round of the qualifiers are Mexico, USA, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Honduras. They will start their campaign on the 2nd of September.