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Monday, July 5, 2010

2014 FIFA World Cup: New Zealand looking to join AFC's final round

New Zealand Football with the support of the Oceania Football Federation have asked FIFA to allow the Oceanian winners to join the final stages of Asian qualifying, instead of the usual playoff, in order to get more meaningful matches.


In December 2006, the FIFA Executive Committee did accept such a change as you can see in this FIFA press realease:

The preliminary competition for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ will be played in the confederations as follows:
- Africa: the qualifying competition for the African Cup of Nations will once again be combined with the preliminary competition for the FIFA World Cup™ (start date: 13/14 October 2007).
- South America: the league system will once again be used (home and away matches) for a single group of 10 associations, but only double-header dates will be used. The provisional start date is September/October 2007.
- Oceania: in three phases, as for 2006. The first phase will be combined with the South Pacific Games 2007 and the OFC Nations Cup 2008, and the winning team will enter a group in Asia's final round.
- Asia, Europe, CONCACAF: in groups that have yet to be determined.

However, this didn't happen in the end. Perhaps because AFC members weren't very keen to travel long distances and thought they will easily overcome the Kiwis in the playoff. Maybe this time they will reconsider.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I'd like to see this happen, but AFC just changed their system last time and I doubt that they'll change it again so soon. Every AFC team would have to play two more games to accommodate NZ.

    I guess the best scenario might be to keep the 10 team final round, but redo the previous round so it's 4 groups of 5 teams rather than 5 of 4. Then you would take the top 8 and the best 3rd place, and 9 teams plus NZ gets you to 10.

  3. Instead of 5 groups of 4 teams in stage 3, they could do 3 groups of 5 teams, where top 3 in every group qualify for final round. That way they'd have a spot open for NZ in the final round.

    It'd mean less teams qualified through the initial Asian playoff games in round 1 and 2 though.

  4. @Haresh

    Hi Haresh! Good to "see" you again. How's FAM these days? Still looking to reach the 130th spot in the rankings? :)

    @scaryice & Stefan

    Groups of 5 would mean 4 extra match dates (you need 10 for 5 teams, 6 for 4 teams). AFC are already struggling for match dates as it is, that's why I don't think it will happen.

    One idea would be to expand the final stage to 3 x 5 groups and 7 x 4 groups in the previous round (top 2 going through to join the OFC winner in the final round).

    The winner of each of the three groups + another two determined by some system - play-off, number of points etc would go to Brazil 2014.

    Or simply drop the worst second place from the 5 x 4 round in order to have 9 teams.

    But we will probably see another AFC - OFC playoff.

  5. Edgar, just looking over your work here, a third group, even three groups of four in the final round might be the way to go, I think the concern is that the likes of India would not be competitive enough for the second/third round of games...

  6. Why not 6 groups of 4. Winners + 5 best runners-up go through and OFC champions. Then 2 groups of 6 teams. Top 2 + play off between 3rd placed teams. I make this 22 match days (including preliminary stage) if all 46 teams enter but only 20 if 44 teams enter (43 entered last time). If the qualifying starts from August 2011 there are 20 available competitive match days so it's do-able.

  7. You also have to take into account the need for Asian Cup 2015 qualifying match dates.

  8. The future is AOFC (Asia and Oceania Football Confederation).
    Overall for oceanian nations, it'll be a massive improvement for developing football in these countries.
    New Zealand, which is the most important football nation there, would have more tougher matches than playing everytime the same small islands, but also islands will have more matches to play and a bigger developement.

  9. La Nuova Zelanda DEVE andare in AFC...... cosi si migliorera' sia a livello di nazionale sia a livello di club.... ve lo dice un italiano che sa cos'è il calcio :) CIAO

    traslate this my opinion bye

  10. Who will pay for the air travel?

    NZ are fine where they are now - they qualify for most of the FIFA competitions through OFC. They would struggle in AFC.