2022 World Cup: Qatar to join European qualifying group
Fifa World Cup 2022 hosts Qatar have been invited to participate in European Qualifying Group A by Uefa, to help them prepare for the tournament.
Qatar will play friendly games against Portugal, Serbia, Republic of Ireland, Luxembourg and Azerbaijan.
As hosts they have already qualified for the tournament – meaning results will not count towards qualification.
Their ‘home’ matches will be be played in Europe to allow short travel times for their opponents.
Qatar, who beat Japan to win the 2019 Asia Cup, will play the side that has a free matchday, meaning they will play 10 fixtures in total.
They have previously been invited to play in the Copa America, earning one point from their three group games against Argentina, Colombia and Paraguay in 2019, and are set to play in the 2021 competition.
In 2016 European Championship hosts France were also allowed to play friendlies in a qualifying group for the tournament, but it is the first time a non-European nation has taken part in a Uefa competition.
Qatar are currently ranked 55th in the Fifa world rankings, and the 2022 World Cup will be their first appearance at the tournament.