The FIFA World Cup is one of the most-watched sporting events in the world - in 2018, nearly 3.6 billion people tuned in to watch the tournament.
Starting yesterday, November 20th, that excitement has returned as 32 teams from around the world will compete in the 22nd FIFA World Cup Championship in Qatar.
This graphic by Athul Alexander shows the teams that will be playing against one another this year, and their latest pre-tournament FIFA rankings.
The Ranks of the 32 Qualifying Teams
As Visual Capitalist's Carmen Ang details below, the FIFA World Ranking is used to compare the 211 teams that are part of the FIFA association. They attempt to measure the progression and current ability of the each national football team.
The ranking is determined using a number of different metrics, including the number of games a team has won and how “important” those results were, such as in major tournaments or against strong opponents.
But high-ranking teams don’t qualify for the World Cup directly. Instead, ranks are used for seeding in regional qualifying tournaments, as each region (also known as a “confederation”) has a select number of slots.
This means that every World Cup, many lower-ranked teams end up qualifying for the event over higher-ranked teams. For 2022, the biggest example of this is Italy’s national team (ranked #6), which failed to qualify.
Here’s a look at the World Ranking of the 32 qualifying teams, as of Oct 6, 2022:
The highest-ranked team is Brazil with 1841.30 points. The South American team holds the record for most World Cup wins with five total—in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, and 2002.
Next on the ranking is Belgium, with 1816.71 points. Belgium has yet to win the World Cup, however, in 2018 they made it to the semi-finals and ended up getting third place.
The Eight Groups for 2022
Each team’s ranking upon qualifying for the FIFA World Cup tournament is also used for seeding purposes to establish the groups.
The association first organizes the teams into four pots, based on their FIFA Ranking. Then, groups are established by randomly drawing teams from each pot.
Here’s a look at the eight different groups for 2022:
The groups can’t have more than two teams from the same region, with the exception of Europe, which has double the amount of slots.
These groups will play each other in the first stage of the tournament, after which the top two teams from each group will move on to the bracket round.
Past FIFA World Cup Winners
Since 1930, the FIFA World Cup has been hosted every four years, apart from 1942 and 1946, when it was canceled during WWII.
Here’s a look at past cup winners, as well as the runner-ups, since 1930:
*a.e.t mean “won after extra time,” pen. means “won by penalty kicks”
What’s expected for this year? While it’s technically anyone’s game, Brazil has a 15/4 chance of winning this year’s cup, according to bet365.