England vs Holland, Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo given optimism as World Cup draw simulated

The draw for the group stages of the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be conducted in Qatar at 5pm BST on Friday evening, meaning each of the 29 nations who have already qualified will discover their opponents.

Portugal and Manchester United stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes joined the likes of Brazil, England and France in qualifying for the finals on Tuesday evening, beating North Macedonia 2-0 in their European play-off final. Fernandes netted both goals to ensure Portugal reached their sixth successive World Cup.

Considering North Macedonia had qualified for the play-off final by beating current European champions Italy, Portugal were always mindful that they could be the victim of another giant-killing. Nevertheless, Fernando Santos’ side stood firm to secure their place in Qatar.

READ MORE: World Cup 2022 draw: Start time, how to watch on TV, teams, pots, seedings and Qatar group format

Their qualification for the finals this week, plus Poland’s, means that just one European spot at the finals is to be determined. Scotland are hoping to face Ukraine in their play-off semi-final in June and the winner of that contest will face Wales in a winner-takes-all clash to secure a place at the tournament.

Meanwhile, the likes of Costa Rica and Australia are yet to determine their places in Qatar and must come through respective play-off fixtures. However, England, as well as European giants Germany and Spain, will be in the hat this teatime.

Ahead of the real draw taking place, MEN Sports using our very own 2022 World Cup group stage simulator, has simulated the draw to see who England, Portugal and everyone else will face in the group stages.

Split into four separate pots, England, plus the likes of France, Spain, Brazil and other top seeds, plus tournament hosts Qatar, are in pot one and will be considered, in a sense, as the group leaders and favourites. Below, this is who the eight top seeds have been drawn against in our simulator:

Have a go yourself with our World Cup draw widget:

Group A: Qatar, Switzerland, Poland, Costa Rica/New Zealand

Group B: France, Denmark, Tunisia, Ecuador

Group C: Portugal, USA, South Korea, Cameroon

Group D: Belgium, Uruguay, Serbia, Saudi Arabia

Group E: England, Netherlands, Japan, Canada

Group F: Spain, Mexico, Iran, Ghana

Group G: Brazil, Germany, Senegal, Ukraine/Wales/Scotland

Group H: Argentina, Croatia, Morocco, United Arab Emirates/Australia/Peru

As you can see from the eight groups drawn above, if it was to come true, Ronaldo and Portugal would most probably be delighted with their three opponents. The 2016 European Championship winners would be overwhelming favorites to progress to the last-16 as Group C winners.

England, meanwhile, would also fancy their chances of progressing. However, a showdown with the Netherlands would be a stern challenge.

Meanwhile, Group G has drawn Germany and Brazil alongside each other. Scotland or Wales could yet join them.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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