Second Round- 40 teams are active this round. There are eight groups of five teams each, with each team playing 8 matches. Each group winner, along with the top four runners-up, advance to the third round. Should Qatar (host nation) qualify under these rules, their spot in the 3rd round would be taken by the 5th-place runner-up.
Third Round– This round consists of two groups of six, with each team playing ten games. The top two teams from each group advance to the World Cup, while both 3rd-place teams advance to the fourth round.
Fourth Round- Two teams compete in a two-legged match, with the winner advancing to the inter-confederation playoffs.