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Monday, August 1, 2022

FIFA ranking: August 2022 final preview

FIFA will publish the ranking on Thursday August 25th. This final preview contains 53 matches, out of 55 matches played since June 20th. There are no more matches scheduled until the deadline of the ranking.

Three smaller (regional) tournaments were played in Africa and Asia:

  • COSAFA Cup
  • East Asian Championship
  • first round play-off qualifiers for the African Nations Championship

Sunday, June 26, 2022

UEFA Nations League 2022/23 simulations (June 2022)

The June window saw 4 match days in the group stage of the UEFA Nations League 2022/2023. The remaining two match days will be played in the September window.

There were in league A some quite surprising results: notably France and England -although not playing with obviously weakened teams- performed well below par. On the other hand Hungary, Croatia, Denmark and the Netherlands performed much better than expected.

In league B the effect of Russia's suspension on the way the overall UNL ranking will be calculated is not published by UEFA. I assume the teams in league B finishing on positions one to three in each group are sorted in the UNL ranking on group results without the matches against the group number four taken into account. That way the results of the teams in group B-2 are comparable with the other teams in league B.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

FIFA ranking: June 2022 final preview

FIFA will publish the ranking on Thursday June 23rd. This final preview contains 286 matches, out of 320 matches played since March 31st.

Quite some movement to be seen because there was a lot of action around the globe this June window. Also in the top region of the ranking, because of Nations League matches, both in Europe and North and Central America, with surprising results.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

AFC Nations Cup 2023 qualification simulations (May 2022)

The qualification for the AFC Nations Cup 2023 is divided in two parts:

  • the Asian first and second stage in the qualification for the World Cup 2022 delivered 12 teams: the 8 group winners and the 4 best group runners-up (excluding host China) of the second group stage qualify. China was one of the four best runners-up;
  • the rest of the teams entered the separate qualification path for the remaining 11 berths in the 24-team AFC Nations Cup 2023: two play-offs in October 2021 to wittle the remaining teams down to 24 and a group stage with 6 groups of 4 teams. The 6 group winners and the 5 best group runners-up qualify.

China is as host, although they of course participated in the World Cup qualification, automatically qualified for the continental final. From the WC qualification part the 8 group winners qualified (Syria, Australia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Japan, United Arab Emirates and Korea Republic) together with the 4 best runners-up (Oman, Iraq, Vietnam and Lebanon).

Friday, May 27, 2022

CONCACAF Nations League 2022/23 simulations (May 2022)

The second edition of the CONCACAF Nations League starts in this June window. All 41 CONCACAF-members participate and are drawn in three leagues:

  • league A has 4 groups of 3 teams
  • league B has 4 groups of 4 teams
  • league C has 1 group of 4 teams and 3 groups of 3 teams

There are 4 match days in June and 2 in March next year. The four group winners in league A qualify for the Final Four in June 2023.

There is also promotion/relegation between the leagues: the winners of the groups in leagues B and C are promoted while the numbers last in each group in league A and B relegate. The draw of the groups was in April and seeded based on the CONCACAF ranking.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

World Cup 2022 qualification simulations (May 2022)

In this June window the qualification for the World Cup 2022 in Qatar (to start in November this year) should finally come to a conclusion. The COVID-19 pandemic plus the Russian war in Ukraine disrupted much on a global scale. It also caused havoc in the original qualification schedules of the confederations for this tournament. It caused severe delays and a final tournament draw taking place in April, even before the qualification process was properly completed. 

I'm still unsure as to why FIFA decided to this schedule of events. There must be some totally football unrelated, probably commercial and for FIFA very profitable reasons behind this. At least, a fair draw was not their top priority, because also the decision to seed the three at the time of the draw unknown participants (one UEFA play-off path A winner and two interconfederational play-off winners) in pot 4, regardless of the ranking of the participating teams in each play-off was -to some degree- unfair and even contradictory to their own regulations.

CAF Nations Cup 2023 qualification simulations (May 2022)

This June window the group stage starts in the qualification for the AFCON 2023 in Cote d'Ivoire in June next year. In March preliminary play-offs were played to wittle the 54 entered African teams down to 48. Now the group stage with 12 groups of 4 teams starts with two matchdays in June, two in September and two in March next year. The 12 group winners and runners-up qualify for the 24-team continental final.