Monday, August 30, 2010

CONCACAF qualifying system news update

18 games to reach the 2014 World Cup, according to

This time the info comes from Mr. Alfredo Hawit Banegas, member of CONCACAF's Executive Committee.

There's also this article in, with the info provided by Mario Monterrosa, CONCACAF's deputy secretary.

The system

  1. Preliminary round (if needed) to trim the number of teams to 32.
  2. 8 groups of 4 teams. Top two in each group through to the next round.
  3. 4 groups of 4 teams. Top two in each group through to the next round.
  4. 2 groups of 4 teams. If CONCACAF will have 3.5 spots, the winners of the groups will qualify directly to the World Cup, while the second placed teams will play-off against each other first, then against a team from another confederation (CONMEBOL). If CONCACAF gets 4 spots as they hope, the top two teams in each group will qualify to the World Cup.

The system needs to be approved by FIFA's Executive Committee in September and I can't see why FIFA wouldn't approve it. Also according to Mr. Hawit, the allocation of places for the 2014 FIFA World Cup will be announced in October. Mr. Monterrosa, however, thinks the allocation will be known in December.

About me:

Christian, husband, father x 3, programmer, Romanian. Started the blog in March 2007. Quit in April 2018. You can find me on LinkedIn.


  1. Don't like it. The US and Mexico not playing each other in World Cup qualifying seems like a strange idea. I like the current system with the hex.

  2. On the other hand, it makes the Gold Cup more important.

    But I don't approve of this either. Get ready for USA vs Aruba and Mexico vs British Virgin Islands.

  3. La Prensa Honduras takes the weakest six teams in head to head play off ties for three slots. Then, eight four team groups with only the winners advancing to the two four team groups.
    The other source from Honduras takes the six team playoff round, the eight four team groups with the top two advancing; to a total of 16 teams with four team groups. The top two from each four team group advances to the two four team groups.
    This will not work because half of confederation members do not have the money or decent type of revenue sources to attempt to compete. I could see the round with 16 teams with four groups and the two four team groups,but playoff rounds will likely occur before these two rounds.
    My idea would be to have two playoff rounds into a round of 16 teams with four groups and then the two four team groups. Or have a playoff round, then a home site group stage of four teams into the 16 teams group stage and then the two four team groups.
    My ideas though would give Mexico, the U.S., and maybe more teams a bye past the second round of playoff ties or home group stage into the round of 16. At least Mexico and the U.S. should get a bye into the round of 16. Or look for 20-0 or even 30-0 as a possible score.

  4. I would also like to see one final group, so that the USA-MEX pair of games necessarily continues.

    What strikes me as odd is that in WC2010 qualifications, the number of teams starting the first group stage was only 12 (with 23 teams eliminated quickly by playing either 1 or 2 opponents) whereas the WC2014 will increase that from 12 to 32(!). This strikes me as a rather dramatic increase.

    I would think a number like 18 or 20 or 24 teams for the WC2014 group stage would be a more reasonable balance between the desire to have more games for mid-tier confederation teams and a desire to have a limit on the number of blowouts.


  5. The key Dorian is avoiding the massive blowout. If I recall correctly St. Vincent and the Grenadines got creamed in the three group semifinal stage when CONCACAF first went to the system of three groups leading to the final six team group. Some teams have made it to the semifinal stage and not looked like they belonged. Plus, the three groups have been quite uneven. The current system had blowouts but the CONCACAF proposal could end up with even more blowouts.
    This is World Cup Qualifying not a confederation championship. I feel two groups of four would be more equatable. Plus, once advancement or a spot gets locked up teams have not sent their best players. This has happened numerous times and could happen more times in the round of 32 or 16 group stages. The two groups of four would limit a spot getting locked up very soon compared to a 6 team group.

  6. I wonder how the progression of teams from one group stage to the next would occur.

    In WC2010, there was just one draw before any games occurred, setting a path for each team through each round. If that were to be done again for WC2014, then a fair bit of structure would probably need to be put into place.

    For example, let's say USA and MEX were the top 2 seeds and if they made it to the final round, then they should be in different groups. Then let's say HON and CRC were the next 2 seeds and if they also made it to the final round, then they too should be in different groups. This could be structured with a draw that put USA and MEX in groups A and E, and that put HON and CRC into C and G. The next four best teams would go into B, D, F, and H. The bottom 24 teams would go into three pots of eight teams. Then, the top two teams from group A and B would meet in the second group phase, as would teams from C&D, E&F, and G&H. For the final two groups, the top teams from A&B and C&D would meet, as would the top teams from E&F and G&H.

    What I don't like is that there could be a pair of team (e.g. HON and CAN) that are in the same group during the first group stage, the second group stage, and the third group stage.

    Alternatively, I suppose there could be a draw after each group stage.

    Other ideas or insights?

  7. There are some positive things to say about it, as more teams play more games. But, not having USA-Mexico and a three-group-stage system seems to me boring and unfair...

    I would prefer an "octogonal" then this...