England have been drawn in a group with Poland in qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, while holders France will come up against Ukraine as well as Finland.
Gareth Southgate’s England, semi-finalists at the 2018 tournament in Russia, will also take on Hungary in Group I.
Holders France were handed an awkward draw in qualifying for the 2022 World Cup on Monday, with Ukraine and Bosnia and Herzegovina standing in their way on the road to the finals in Qatar, while England will face Poland in their group.
Gareth Southgate’s England, semi-finalists at the 2018 tournament in Russia, will also take on Hungary and Albania as well as two of the minnows of international football, Andorra and San Marino, in Group I.
France will also face Finland — who recently beat Les Bleus in a friendly in Paris — in Group D, with Kazakhstan completing the group that was drawn in a virtual ceremony at FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Didier Deschamps They are in a group of just five teams because they will be involved in the finals of the UEFA Nations League in Italy in October next year.
The European qualifying competition to reach the finals begins next March, with a total of 13 countries from the continent going through.
Only the winners of each of the 10 groups will qualify automatically for the finals, which are to take place in November and December of 2022.
The 10 runners-up will go into play-offs alongside the two best Nations League group winners who miss out on qualifying via the traditional path.
Those play-offs will produce three more qualifiers in total, with Europe having 13 spots out of the 32 at the finals.
Germany, whose coach Joachim Loew has been under severe pressure after a run of poor recent results for the 2014 World Cup winners, will be expected to come through a group in which Romania and Iceland appear their main threats.
Ozil In Final Stages Of Move To Fenerbahce
Mesut Ozil is expected to sign a three-and-a-half year deal with Fenerbahce that will see the Arsenal’s out-of-favour German midfielder switch England for Turkey.
The reports came after the 32-year-old, a World Cup winner with Germany in 2014, fanned speculation by tweeting a photograph of himself in Istanbul with the words: “This city … #throwback #Istanbul.”
Sports daily Fanatik reported that Fenerbahce chairman Ali Koc and team director Emre Belozoglu flew to London to persuade the player, who is of Turkish origin, to make the move.
A Fenerbahce spokesman did not immediately respond to AFP’s query.
Other reports on Tuesday said Ozil was in talks with MLS side DC United.
The player’s agent said his future should become clearer within the next 10 days but his priority was to stay at Arsenal.
“Mesut’s priority is to stay, but you never know in football, things can change very fast,” Erkut Sogut told ESPN.
“For the moment, we are just checking all the options for January and the summer.”
“In the next seven to 10 days, it will be a little clearer as now the transfer window is open, things can move faster,” he added.
Ozil moved to Arsenal from Real Madrid in 2013 and is the highest paid player in the Premier League club’s history, on a reported £350,000 ($480,000) a week, but he has not played all season and does not appear to be in coach Mikel Arteta’s plans.
He has expressed frustration over his treatment at Arsenal, who are looking to trim numbers.
Ozil stirred controversy in 2019 when he criticised China’s treatment of the Uighur Muslim population in Xinjiang in a social media post, with Arsenal distancing themselves from his comments.
But he will apparently be earning far less at Fenerbahce as DHA and Fanatik said the proposed deal was worth five million euros ($6 million) a year.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was Ozil’s best man at his 2019 wedding in Turkey.
Fenerbahce, one of Istanbul’s three big clubs, are currently fifth in the Super Lig.
West Brom Boss, Allardyce Labels Arsenal ‘Genuine Relegation Contenders’
Former England coach and West Bromwich Albion manager Sam Allardyce has cautioned Arsenal that their status as a Premier League club is at stake if the Gunners do not turnaround their miserable PL campaign.
Arsenal shockingly find themselves in 15th place on the premier league log, securing 14 points from 14 games played. With their last win in the league being a 1-0 win over Manchester United on November 1
Following a 4-1 Carabao Cup semi-final loss to Manchester City on Tuesday, falling to eight defeats 14 league games, Allardyce has admitted that Arsenal have to be considered as genuine relegation rivals, alongside West Brom due to their string of poor results.
Allardyce said: “If they are in the bottom eight at the moment, yes. Absolutely,” Allardyce said when asked whether he believed Arsenal should be seen as potential relegation candidates.
“Getting beaten again [Tuesday] night – even though it is not in the league – as it does with our players, drains the confidence of Arsenal’s players. Of course, it will.
“They will be wondering what’s hit them, they will be wondering why they are down there. They will be wondering what it’s going to take to get out of that position. I know what it takes, I hope I can convince the players to respond to what I say on what it takes to get out of it.
“I hope that we can push at Arsenal when they play us because they have a lack of confidence, and try and beat them or anybody in the bottom eight.”
Arsenal will square off against West Brom on January 2, 2021, a fixture the baggies boss has labelled a relegation six-pointer.
But before then, Arsenal welcome Chelsea to the Emirates for the boxing day clash, while West Brom faces a daunting trip to face league champions, Liverpool at Anfield, who are on a sixty-six game unbeaten streak at Anfield.