Liberia’s journey to the 2022 FIFA World Cup started with a crucial 3-1 victory over Sierra Leone at the Samuel Kanyon Doe (SKD) Sports Complex in Paynesville, outside Monrovia and later continued with a dramatic penalty save that saw the team progress to the second round on 3-2 aggregate of the qualification.
Lone Star’s hope of qualifying could have been dashed after Sierra Leone, one goal ahead, was given a penalty in the 94th minute, but 18-year-old goalkeeper Ashely Williams, was in the right position to keep Liberia’s hope alive by brilliantly saving captain Umaru Bangura’s spot kick.
Goalkeeper Williams became the hero as Liberians in and out of the country celebrated the team’s triumph and Williams’ individual performance.
What is the Status of Liberia in the 2022 World Cup Qualification?
Unlike 26 other African countries that got a bye to the second round based on their FIFA World Ranking (1st– 26th), Liberia and Sierra Leone were among the 28 lower ranked (27th -54th) African teams that had to face each other with 14 winners progressing to the second round.
Liberia’s victory over Sierra Leone made the team one of the 14 winners from the First Round that advanced to the Second Round, joining the 26 top ranked teams, summing them to 40.
In the Second Round, the 40 teams will be divided into 10 groups of four to play home-and-away round-robin matches.
The 10 group winners advance to the third round. The date of the Second Round Draw has not been disclosed, but the match date for the next qualification games for Africa is slated for March 2020.
If Liberia ought to progress to the Third Round of the qualification, they must finish as group winners in one of the 10 groups.
In the third round, the final round of qualification, the 10 Second round group winners will play home-and-away over two legs. The five winners qualify for the World Cup to represent Africa at the world’s biggest football competition.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup is scheduled to be the 22nd edition in Qatar. The quadrennial international men’s association football championship is contested by the national teams of the member associations of FIFA. This will be the first World Cup ever to be held in the Arab world, and the first in a Muslim-majority country. It will be the second World Cup held entirely in Asia after the 2002 tournament in South Korea and Japan as a co-host. It will also be the last to involve 32 teams with an increase to 48 teams scheduled for the 2026 tournament.
This will also mark the first World Cup not to be held in May, June or July; the tournament is instead scheduled for late November until mid-December. It is to be played in a reduced time frame of around 28 days with the final being held on December 18, 2022, which is also Qatar’s National Day.