France inherits from Ukraine and Finland in qualifying

The Blues celebrate their title at the 2018 World Cup, during a special ceremony at the Stade de France, on September 9, 2018.

Reigning world champions, French footballers have been relatively spared by inheriting Ukraine and Finland in their 2022 World Cup qualifying group, according to the draw made on Monday (December 7) in Zurich, Switzerland. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kazakhstan complete this group D.

The Blues must conclude this eliminatory campaign in first place in their group to qualify directly for the World Cup, which is held in Qatar from November 21 to December 18, 2022.

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The France team will play its eight qualifying matches in March, September and November 2021, before and after the Euro, shifted by one year to next summer. The semi-final of the League of Nations against Belgium, or even the final in case of victory, will take place in October.

Among the other groups, the most prominent will be the G with the Netherlands, Turkey, Norway and Montenegro. Absent from the 2018 World Cup, the Italians have inherited Switzerland, Northern Ireland and Bulgaria in particular. Semi-finalist of the last World Cup and first in the FIFA rankings, Belgium will face Wales, winner of the Red Devils in the quarter-finals of the last Euro in 2016, and the Czech Republic among others. In Group A, the Portuguese European champions will face Serbia and the Republic of Ireland. Spain, in Group B, will face Sweden and Greece.

All Worlds since 1998

To be sure to defend their title in Qatar, the Blues must finish at the top of their group otherwise they will have to go through the dams in 2022. With the hope of snatching one of the last three repechage tickets for Doha reserved for European teams . The French are already assured of access to the latter in the event of a mishap, by virtue of their first group place acquired in the League of Nations.

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Even world champions, the Blues are not automatically qualified, unlike their predecessors in 1998, the last title holders to automatically receive a ticket for the next edition. Since this first coronation, the France team has played in all the World Cups but very often as a last minute guest. And even twice thanks to the play-offs: in 2013 against Ukraine therefore, and four years earlier against the Republic of Ireland, in the return match which remained famous for the hand of Thierry Henry.

The path to the 2018 World Cup had been less winding: Didier Deschamps’ men still had to wait until the last day and a 2-1 success against Belarus to stamp their ticket to Russia.

The World with AFP


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