I just wanted to check with others that this weren't a bug, as I couldn't find anything through a google search.
Playing as England in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, I was surprised to notice come the end of the campaign that there were no playoffs between the 2nd best teams to qualify for the world cup - instead the 3 runners up with the superior record automatically qualified. It didn't affect me as I finished an easy 1st anyway.
Is this the same in everybody's game? The only explanation I could think of is fixture congestion due to the new UEFA nations league!