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Friday, February 18, 2011

2014 FIFA World Cup: Asian draw in April?

According to an article on Chinese portal, the preliminary draw for the 2014 FIFA World Cup (AFC confederation) will take place in April. Thanks Filipino Football for the info!

As usual, there's no confirmation on AFC's website, but that's the norm :)

It seems Brunei Darussalam (suspended) and Laos won't participate.

There's also a slight change in the format. In the 2010 FIFA World Cup preliminaries, the 8 lowest seeds advancing from the first round were required to play in the second round, while the other seeds involved in the first round were given a bye to the third round (the groups stage). Now, there will be a regular format - with less teams in the first round and more in the second round.

Again, AFC won't be using the FIFA ranking. The article confirms the performance base seeding.

First round

First leg: 29 June, 2011
Second leg: 3 July, 2011

Pot A: India, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam

Pot B: Mongolia, Palestine, Timor-Leste, Macau, Chinese Taipei, Myanmar, Bhutan, Guam, Philippines

Second round

First leg: 23 July, 2011
Second leg: 28 July, 2011

Pot A: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar, Uzbekistan, United Arab Emirates, Syria, Oman, Jordan, Iraq, China PR, Singapore, Kuwait, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Lebanon

Pot B: Yemen, Tajikistan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives + 9 winners from the first round.

Third round

Five groups of four teams.

The draw will take place on 31 July 2011, with Japan, Korea Republic, Australia, Korea DPR and Bahrain entering the competition at this stage.

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. Now this is interesting. I think this is an improvement over the previous format. It should at least cut those ridiculous demolitions in the huge mismatches that could happen before. It does however mean the top seeds are going to have to work a little bit harder, with a slight rise in the quality of the unseeded teams due to that weeding out process in the first round.

    It also gives teams a chance to move across several seeding lines as oposed to there just being a straight line right through the middle of Asia, there are now several lines, unseeded in round 1, to seeded in round 1, to passing through to the 2nd round but unseeded, and finally, seeded in the 2nd round.

    I still think it would be better to just seed more of Asia's top seeds directly to the group stage. You know whoever draws Iran for instance is screwed.

    I see there are 44 teams participating. I would seed the top 12 directly to the group stage. That leaves 32 teams, that would go to 16, then to 8 for the final 8 places. That would see everybody down to and including Oman going through automatically. Oh, and if anyone beats a top 8 team from the remaining 32 in my first round, they'd get seeded in my 2nd round.

  2. So let me lay that out, my way would be:

    Seeded to Round 3:

    Japan, Korea Republic, Australia, Korea DPR, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar, Uzbekistan, United Arab Emirates, Syria, Oman

    Round 1 seeded:

    Jordan, Iraq, China PR, Singapore, Kuwait, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Lebanon, Yemen, Tajikistan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, India, Malaysia

    Round 1 unseeded: Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Mongolia, Palestine, Timor-Leste, Macau, Chinese Taipei, Myanmar, Bhutan, Guam, Philippines

    Round 2 seeded: Winers of matches involving Jordan, Iraq, China PR, Singapore, Kuwait, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Lebanon

    Round 1 unseeded: The other Round 1 winners.

  3. Oh, that should be Round 2 unseeded at the bottom.

    Looking at my system, it reminds me of UEFA Champions League qualifying, with the same benefits with those extra powerful teams going straight to the group stages instead of dooming whichever unfortunate team draws them.

  4. Interesting system, Lorric. However, having 60% of the first group stage slots given as byes seems a bit much.

  5. Edgar,

    With regard to your comment about 60% of the Asian teams in Lorric's format getting byes to the final round, I wonder what that number would be for the current Africa and CONCACAF formats? In Africa, it seems that 43 of 53 teams are "seeded" for the first group stage, and for CONCACAF, it seems the proposal calls for 29 of 35 teams to be "seeded" for the first group stage -- so over 80% in both cases!


    (Please note that I point this out all in humor, and I am just having fun here with numbers.)

    I actually would like to see something like Lorric's approach, but with different numbers as I described over on this BigSoccer post:

    Specially, I would like to see a first group stage of 24 teams (six groups of four teams). Getting from 44 teams to 24 teams would involve two preliminary knockout rounds, just like Lorric's, except the 44 teams would be reduced to 36 (with the lowest 16 teams involved), and then the 36 teams would be reduced to 24 teams (with the lowest remaining 24 teams involved). Just like Lorric's "seeded", there would be 12 teams seeded in Pots A and B for the group stage, while the 12 winners from the second knockout round would comprise Pots C and D.

    Of course this would never actually happen because Asia seems wedded to having final groups of five teams rather than six.

  6. @ Edgar

    For the last Asian qualifying campaign, my system would have called for 13 teams to get seeded straight into the groups. There were 41 teams, thus that leaves 28 after 13 are put through to whittle down to 7.

    The idea is that everyone has a shot. Last time, Malaysia may have been the best unseeded side, but they got Bahrain. How is that fair? And for that matter why is a team like Bahrain even having to pre-qualify? No such problems here. Last time, the only unseed to make it was Singapore, and thanks only to fortunate draws.

    Ideally, I'd just throw all the teams into groups, but we know that is simply not viable in Asia.

  7. @ Dorian

    I'll comment on your article.

    First of all, the winner takes all principle (I don't like them either) doesn't apply to Africa due to the qualifiers doubling up as ACON qualifiers. There's something to fight for all the way down. I think their system works well in that respect, and allows them to thus avoid wiping out huge numbers of nations in preliminaries.

    Your second point is not an issue in today's qualifying, so that's okay. I approve of CONCACAF's new sytem. In fact, I think it is the fairest system outside the infallible and unworkable anywhere else CONMEBOL system.

    I would love to see Europe have much larger groups, though I know the confederation leans towards less games, not more. Despite it seeing the demise of my country England to the amusement of the World, I really liked the Euro 2008 system. It was simple and clean. No messy playoffs, and larger groups have a better chance of a fairer outcome. Simple, top 2 go through. I have a sneaking and worrying suspicion FIFA will cut UEFA to 12 spots, with CONCACAF going to 4 and Asia going to 5. Even though they don't deserve it. If that does happen I'd love to see just 6 groups in UEFA with the top 2 going through. If we get to keep 13, I'd go with 7 groups, with the two worst runner ups either meeting in a playoff, or better, both playing Intercontinental opposition.

    Okay, so like I said above, I would leave Africa alone. Mostly. I think they have the finest system they could possibly have, except I would have some playoffs for getting in the final round. I hate worst runner ups going out. Worst runner ups often indicate tough groups, not weak teams.

    Your system has merit, but I think it just puts unnecessary strain on Africa's teams. I'm no fan of playoffs, especially after the France farce against Ireland. I'd like to ideally see playoffs restricted to Intercontinental playoffs only. You would have an extremely cutthroat playoff system here with 4 teams going for just one spot.

    Your system for Asia is good. But it sacrifices the fairness element for the lesser teams in mine by setting up lambs to the slaughter like the real one does with some of Asia's best teams in there to destroy the luckless teams that draw them. And if you implemented it, as unlikely as it is, the potential strain for a team starting out in Round 1 would be too great, so I'd stick with mine.

    CONCACAF, I'd let them stick with their new system. There are going to be some tremendous blowouts, I think the American Samoa record could be under threat here. But so many teams get a fair shot. A guaranteed 6 matches. It should benefit the region. I will always favour teams being placed into groups over getting wiped out in playoffs. And I think the small teams are ready and willing. None of them withdrew from World Cup qualifying.

    I liked your finding on the teams in the top half of the rankings vs playing in your final rounds.

  8. Lorric,

    Thanks for the comments. I enjoyed reading them.