Monday 07 December 2020, 00:53

Gullon: Draw role an honour, a thrill and a big responsibility

  • European qualifying draw for Qatar 2022 takes place today in Zurich

  • We speak to draw presenter Cristina Gullon

UEFA’s 55 member associations will today discover the routes they will need to take to qualify for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. Millions of fans will be watching when the European qualifying draw gets under way in Zurich at 18:00 CET, an event that will be presented by the Spanish journalist Cristina Gullon.

“Taking part in this preliminary draw, presenting it and sharing the stage with some football legends is an honour, a thrill and a big responsibility,” said Gullon. She will be joined by acting FIFA Director of Competitions Jaime Yarza, who will oversee the draw, and two high-profile assistants: former players Daniele de Rossi and Rafael Van der Vaart.

“Van der Vaart and De Rossi are both legends of European football and I can’t wait to hear them discuss their first-hand experiences of playing in the World Cup, their memories, how it felt to represent their countries, and what it meant for them to reach the Final,” said Gullon. “De Rossi was a World Cup winner in 2006 and Van der Vaart a runner-up in 2010, so who better than them to give us their impressions ahead of Qatar 2022 and tell us who they see as the favourites?”

A trained journalist, Gullon is currently working for Real Madrid TV. As part of her extensive career experience she has covered Formula 1 and was also involved in the organisation of UEFA tournaments.

Will Europe continue to dominate?

Speaking ahead of the draw for the European qualifiers, which will see 13 of the continent’s teams advance to Qatar 2022, the Spanish presenter believes it is too early to start picking out favourites.

“There’s an awful long way to go and football is very cyclical,” she explained. “There are teams who are going through transitional phases right now and who might be a whole lot stronger in a year and half’s time. Some players will come through and some will depart the scene.”

One thing she is sure of, however, is that Europe’s representatives will be centre stage when the ball does start rolling in Qatar, just as they were at Russia 2018, when the continent provided all four semi-finalists: “Obviously it’s too early to say because there are more than 900 games in the qualifying competition, but I think Europe could be figuring large again in Qatar.”

Cristina Gullón, presenter of the Preliminary Draw