European nations, including the defending champions France, have been drawn in their qualification groups for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar ©FIFA

The UEFA qualification groups for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar have been drawn in Zurich today, with 55 countries set to participate with 13 spots on offer.

World Cup holders France - who beat Croatia 5-2 in the final of the 2018 World Cup in Russia - look to defend their title successfully for the first time, but will will need to qualify from Group D consisting of Ukraine, Finland, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kazakhstan.

France also won the World Cup back in 1998 on home soil, defeating Brazil 3-0.

Croatia have been handed one of the tougher groups to qualify from in Group H.

Slovakia, Russia and Slovenia could all give the favourites an upset, while Cyprus and Malta also feature.

Portugal, the 2016, European champions, have been drawn in Group A along with Serbia, the Republic of Ireland, Luxembourg and Azerbaijan.

The 2018 semi-finalists, Belgium and England, were drawn in Groups E and I, respectively during a draw streamed live on and FIFA on YouTube.

Belgium are in Group E with Wales, the Czech Republic, Belarus and Estonia.

England were placed in Group I with Poland, Hungary, Albania, Andorra and San Marino.

Group B consists of Spain, Sweden, Greece, Georgia and Kosovo and Group C is headed by Italy along with Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria and Lithuania.

Denmark are the top seed drawn in Group F, with Austria, Scotland and Israel all looking like legitimate challengers, as well as outsiders Faroe Islands and Moldova.

The Netherlands were drawn in Group G along with Turkey, Norway, Montenegro, Latvia and Gibraltar; while four-time World Cup champions Germany were drawn in Group J with Romania, Iceland, North Macedonia, Armenia and Liechtenstein. 

From the 10 groups, the top team will automatically qualify for the World Cup in Qatar, while the runners-up will have an opportunity to qualify through a playoff for the first finals to take place in an Arab country and which is due to take place between November 21 and December 18 in 2022.

The 10 group runners-up will be joined by the best two Nations League group winners, based on the Nations League overall ranking, that finished outside the top two in World Cup qualifying.

From there, the 12 teams will play a semi-final and final to determine the three nations who qualify for Qatar.

Five nations will qualify from the African qualifiers, four from Asia, three from North America and four from South America.

There will also be two world play-offs between the winner of the Oceania qualifying group, fifth in South American group, fourth in the North American group and the final round play-off winner in Asia.

There will be a total of 32 teams at the 2022 World Cup, the last under this format before the tournament moves up to 48 teams for the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico.