England among top seeds for World Cup qualifying; could face Wales and Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland or Scotland

Gareth Southgate's team are in the top pot of seeds, alongside the world's number one-ranked team Belgium and reigning world champions France; Wales are in pot two, while Northern Ireland, the Republic and Scotland are all in the third pot

Harry Kane, Toby Alderweireld
Image: England are joined by No 1 ranked Belgium in the top pot of seeds

England could be drawn in a World Cup qualifying group with Wales and one of Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland or Scotland next month.

The seedings for the European section of qualification for Qatar 2022 were confirmed on Friday morning, and left open the possibility of some old rivalries being renewed.

Gareth Southgate's team are in the top pot of seeds, alongside the world's number one-ranked team Belgium and reigning world champions France.

Harry Wilson celebrates scoring against Finland with Gareth Bale
Image: Wales are in pot two for the World Cup qualifiers

Wales are in pot two, where other dangerous potential opponents for England include Poland, led by star Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski.

Northern Ireland, the Republic and Scotland are all in the third pot.

In total, 55 teams will be split into five groups of five and five groups of six when the draw takes place on December 7.

Jack grealish
Image: The Republic of Ireland were beaten by England in a friendly in November

England first faced Wales all the way back in 1879, with their most recent competitive meeting coming at the finals of Euro 2016 where England won 2-1.

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They have not faced Northern Ireland since a shock defeat to them at Windsor Park in qualification for the 2006 World Cup.

England and the Republic faced each other in a friendly earlier this month, but have not been in competitive action since 1991, in qualification for the following year's European Championship.

Image: Scotland last played England in a World Cup qualifier in 2017

England and Scotland last met in a World Cup qualifier in 2017 for the last finals in Russia two years ago. They will also meet at the group stage of Euro 2020 next summer after Scotland qualified via a play-off earlier this month.

The qualifiers will be played between March and November next year.

The winners of the 10 groups will qualify automatically for the finals, which for the first time will be played in November and December of 2022 to avoid the punishing summer heat in the Middle East.

Northern Ireland boss Ian Baraclough
Image: Northern Ireland boss Ian Baraclough sees his side placed in pot three

A further three places will be fought out between the 10 group runners-up and the two highest-ranked teams from the Nations League who have not already qualified or finished in a runners-up spot.

These 12 teams will be divided into three play-off paths, each featuring four countries, to determine the final three European berths.

Watch the draw for the European World Cup qualifiers on December 7, live on Sky Sports News.

World Cup qualifiers - European pot seedings

Pot 1: Belgium, France, England, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands.

Pot 2: Switzerland, Wales, Poland, Sweden, Austria, Ukraine, Serbia, Turkey, Slovakia, Romania.

Pot 3: Russia, Hungary, Republic of Ireland, Czech Republic, Norway, Northern Ireland, Iceland, Scotland, Greece, Finland.

Pot 4: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, Israel, Belarus, Georgia, Luxembourg.

Pot 5: Armenia, Cyprus, Faroe Islands, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Kosovo, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Latvia, Andorra.

Pot 6: Malta, Moldova, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar, San Marino.

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