Factbox: World Cup 2022: guide to groups in FIFA tournament

Dec 3 (Reuters) - Following are the eight groups for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which is being held in Qatar from Nov. 20-Dec. 18.

WHAT IS THE FORMAT FOR THE GROUP AND KNOCKOUT STAGES AT WORLD CUP 2022?

* There is a round-robin format in the group stage when each of the 32 teams plays three matches. Teams get three points for a win and one for a draw.

* The top two in each group advance to the last 16.

* The knockout rounds feature one-off matches, which can go to extra time and then penalties to decide the winner.

GROUP A: QATAR (HOSTS), ECUADOR, SENEGAL, NETHERLANDS

* Netherlands finished top with seven points. The Dutch, who are seeking their first World Cup title, failed to qualify for the last edition in Russia four years ago.

* African champions Senegal were runners-up, despite being without their talismanic forward Sadio Mane, while hosts Qatar finished bottom after three defeats.

GROUP B: ENGLAND, IRAN, UNITED STATES, WALES

* England, semi-finalists in 2018, won Group B, with the United States finishing second.

GROUP C: ARGENTINA, SAUDI ARABIA, MEXICO, POLAND

* Argentina recovered from a shock 2-1 defeat by Saudi Arabia to top the group.

* Poland finished runners-up, edging out Mexico on goal difference.

GROUP D: FRANCE, AUSTRALIA, DENMARK, TUNISIA

* Despite being hit hard by injuries heading into the tournament, with the likes of Paul Pogba, N'Golo Kante and Karim Benzema missing out, defending champions France won their group, while Australia finished second.

GROUP E: SPAIN, COSTA RICA, GERMANY, JAPAN

* Japan secured shock wins over four-times winners Germany and 2010 champions Spain to top the group.

* Spain had to rely on goal difference to edge out Germany, who were handed another early exit after their shock first-round elimination in 2018.

GROUP F: BELGIUM, CANADA, MOROCCO, CROATIA

* Morocco beat Belgium and Canada to finish group winners.

* Croatia, who reached the final of the 2018 edition, scraped into the last 16 as runners-up, while Belgium crashed out.

GROUP G: BRAZIL, SERBIA, SWITZERLAND, CAMEROON

* Brazil ended the group stage as Group G winners, despite losing to Cameroon in their last game before the knockouts.

* Switzerland, level on points with Brazil, finished as runners-up due to their inferior goal difference.

GROUP H: PORTUGAL, GHANA, URUGUAY, SOUTH KOREA

* Portugal, led by Cristiano Ronaldo in the twilight of his brilliant career, topped the group with six points.

* South Korea, who were level with Uruguay on points and goal difference after three matches, went through to the Round of 16 by virtue of notching more goals than the South Americans.

Compiled by Shrivathsa Sridhar and Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris/Peter Rutherford

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