World governing body FIFA have revealed the key dates that will set up the pathway required for New Zealand to reach next year’s World Cup finals in Qatar.
Providing the All Whites qualify as the Oceania Confederation champions, they will go into a sudden death intercontinental play-off with the winner heading to Qatar.
Unlike past World Cups, the play-off will be a single game, rather than a home-and-away series.
FIFA’s announcement reveals the following key steps:
Saturday November 27, 2021 (5am, NZT)
The draw will be made in Zurich, Switzerland, to determine who plays who between the AFC, Concacaf, CONMEBOL and the OFC. The draw will follow the conclusion of the European play-off draw.
The play-offs will pitch the top team from Oceania with the fourth-placed team from the North and Central America and the Caribbean, the fifth-placed team from South America and the fifth-placed team from Asia.
June 13-14, 2022
The two intercontinental games will be played on neutral grounds with the winners filling the last two places at the Qatar finals. These games were to be played in March but have been delayed because of disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Oceania qualifying series
New Zealand will learn the format for Oceania qualification in the days leading up to the intercontinental draw on November 27.
It’s likely to be an eight-country tournament, probably in Qatar, held in March.