Can Wales qualify for 2022 World Cup? What are the next fixtures? All you need to know after draw with Estonia

Wales’ poor result leaves them hoping for a miracle after Belgium took pole position in Group E.

Gareth Bale of Wales reacts following the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between Wales and Estonia at Cardiff City Stadium on September 08, 2021 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Wales’ World Cup 2022 qualifying fate is out of their own hands after they were held to a goalless draw by Estonia at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Rob Page’s side crafted a handful of chances but were unable to breach Karl Hein’s goal, in a result that can only be seen as points dropped against the Group E’s bottom side.

Sign up to our World of Sport newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

In the other match across the group, Belgium beat Belarus 1-0 in the neutral venue of Kazan with Dennis Praet scoring the only goal.

What do Wales need to do to qualify?

Wales are now at the halfway point of Group E but are now consigned to the fact they are likely to only compete for second-place with the Czech Republic.

Belgium are top of the group with 16 points from their six matches, the Czechs are behind them on seven points from five games. Wales have the same amount of points but are behind on goal difference.

Roberto Martínez’s men require just a point against Estonia, whose only point in qualifying has come against Wales, to qualify automatically.

In an alternative route of qualification, ten runners-up will take part in the play-offs in March, along with two Nations League winners.

Wales have that to fall back on after their success in 2020. France, Belgium, Italy and Spain, all of whom won their groups, currently occupying a top two spot, which confirms their involvement either automatically or through the play-offs.

What are the next fixtures?

Next month is when the next international period takes place. Up next is a trip to the Eden Arena in Prague on Friday, October 8. It is crucial that maximum points are picked up as it gives Wales a chance to put a gap between themselves and their rivals for second place.

They remain on the road when they travel to the A. Le Coq Arena in Tallinn three days later on Monday, October 11. Given the difficulty they faced in Cardiff, Wales are now fully aware they are of the challenge they offer.

Qualification wraps up in November with Wales finishing the campaign at home. Belarus are the visitors on Saturday, 13 November, before Belgium rolls into town on Tuesday, 16 November.

For their performance in the Nations League, Wales are all-but-guaranteed a place in March’s play-offs.

Their problem is that as it stands they would have to play the one-legged knockout semi-final away from home as an unseeded side in the draw. According to International FIFA rankings experts ‘We Global Football’ it is 74.4% likely that Wales will be playing away in the play-offs meanwhile their hopes are hosting a play-off are slim at 25.6%.

A message from the editor:

Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going. You can also sign up to our newsletters and get a curated selection of our best reads to your inbox every day