Here’s How The USMNT Ended Up In Its World Cup Pot For The Draw

Editor’s Note: This story on what pot is USMNT in for World Cup 2022 draw has been updated on March 31 to reflect the latest data.

Heading into the final week of World Cup qualifying before the all-important World Cup draw, the USMNT had a chance to play its way into the coveted Pot 1. Because of its results — and others around the world — the U.S. will not be in Pot 1. But the Americans did just enough to qualify for the World Cup, and now they can look forward to being placed in Pot 2 for the World Cup draw on Friday, April 1. 

Last week, FIFA announced how the World Cup draw will work, which we explain in detail here. Basically, the top seven teams in the FIFA rankings plus host Qatar are placed in Pot 1, followed by the next eight in Pot 2 and so on. The final three spots in Pot 4 are taken up by the teams in the intercontinental playoff and the Ukraine-Scotland vs. Wales winner, as FIFA has decided doing the draw early is more important than the competitive integrity of waiting for every team to be decided. FIFA will use the rankings released on March 31 — after the upcoming international window when most final World Cup qualifiers will be played — to determine the pots. 

Being in Pot 1 is a huge advantage as it ensures you have the easiest potential opponents in the group stage. While the pot isn’t everything, teams want to earn the best possible pot to increase their chances of advancing to the knockout rounds. 

What Pot Is USMNT In For World Cup Draw 2022

Had the USMNT won all three of its matches during this World Cup qualifying window, it would have jumped into Pot 1 by virtue of Italy failing to qualify. Even with the draw with Mexico, the U.S. had a chance to reach the top pot if a few results went its way. Instead, Portugal clinched its place in Pot 1 by doing what Italy could not: beat North Macedonia.

The result is the USMNT is placed in Pot 2 by virtue of its FIFA ranking.

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Pots 1-3 are finalized. Qatar, as host, is penciled into Group A, position 1, despite being ranked 51st in the world. Additionally, Brazil (ranked No. 1), Belgium (2), France (3), Argentina (4), England (5), Spain (7) and Portugal (8) are in Pot 1. 

Pot 2 will include Mexico (9), Netherlands (10), Denmark (11), Germany (12), Uruguay (13), Switzerland (14), United States (15) and Croatia (16). 

Pot 3 will include Senegal (20), Iran (21), Japan (23), Morocco (24), Serbia (25), Poland (26), South Korea (29) and Tunisia (35). 

Pot 4 will include Cameroon (37), Canada (38), Ecuador (46), Saudi Arabia (49) and Ghana (60), plus the three teams coming out of the June playoffs. The playoffs will feature Asia (Australia or United Arab Emirates) vs. South American (Peru) and Concacaf (Costa Rica) vs. Oceania (New Zealand). The winner of the Ukraine-Scotland match will play Wales in June for the final Pot 4 berth. 

You may notice Canada being in Pot 4 instead of Pot 3, which is a result of the Canucks losing two of its last three in qualifying, which will result in Tunisia overtaking them for the final place in Pot 3. 

The pots will be as follows based on the current FIFA rankings. Note, these numbers will change after the new rankings come out on March 31, but we can use math to definitively say these are the correct pots.

World Cup Draw Pots (FIFA Ranking As Of March 31)

Pot 1

Qatar (51)
Brazil (1)
Belgium (2)
France (3)
Argentina (4)
England (5)
Spain (7)
Portugal (8)

Pot 2

Mexico (9)
Netherlands (10)
Denmark (11)
Germany (12)
Uruguay (13)
Switzerland (14)
United States (15)
Croatia (16)

Pot 3

Senegal (20)
Iran (21)
Japan (23)
Morocco (24)
Serbia (25)
Poland (26)
South Korea (29)
Tunisia (35)

Pot 4

Cameroon (37)
Canada (38)
Ecuador (46)
Saudi Arabia (49)
Ghana (60)
UEFA Playoff (Ukraine, Scotland or Wales)
AFC (Australia or UAE) vs. CONMEBOL (Peru) Playoff
Concacaf (Costa Rica) vs. OFC (New Zealand) Playoff

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In summary, the U.S. is in Pot 2 for the World Cup draw on Friday. Got it? Leave it to a company based in Boulder, Colorado, to use the word Pot about nine million times in one article. 

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