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Tuesday, August 6, 2019

AFC qualification World Cup 2022 simulations (August 2019)

Next month starts the second round in Asian qualification for the World Cup 2022 in Qatar. After a first round of 6 play-offs between the 12 lowest ranked Asian teams in June, the six winners joined the other 34 Asian teams to form 8 groups of 5 teams in this second round, a double round robin group stage. The groups were drawn on July 17th.

This round also doubles as second qualification stage for the Asian Nations Cup 2023 in China. That's why Qatar (and also China) participates in this round. Where do the teams go after this round ?

  • the 8 group winners and the best 4 numbers two qualify for WCq3 (exact format yet unknown) and are also qualified for the Asian Nations Cup. If Qatar is among those teams the fifth best number two also qualifies for WCq3. Qatar as host is of course already qualified for the World Cup and will not participate in WCq3.
  • the next 16 teams (the worst 4 numbers two, 8 numbers three and the best 4 numbers four) are qualified for the third qualification round for the Asian Nations Cup. If China is among these teams the fifth best number four also qualifies for ANCq3.
  • the remaining teams (12 or 11 teams) qualify for an intermediate play-off round from which 8 teams will qualify for ANCq3.
  • ANCq3 will be a group stage with 6 groups of 4 teams. Numbers one and two from each group will finally qualify for the 24-team continental showpiece in China. If China itself is not able to end in the top-12 teams in WCq2 only 11 teams will qualify from ANCq3. In that case probably the worst number two will miss the final tournament.
Are you still there with me ? Good :)

Here are the probabilities (in %) of the second qualification round -generated over 10.000 simulations- with all match-results based on ClubElo prediction formula's for goals scored in a match depending on elo home win expectancy.

The group results with teams ordered by average group position:

group A        1st       2nd       3rd        4th        5th
China PR 49,65 44,07 5,65 0,60 0,03
Syria 48,16 44,81 6,50 0,48 0,05
Philippines 2,01 9,27 60,68 23,17 4,87
Maldives 0,18 1,71 22,42 54,80 20,89
Guam 0,00 0,14 4,75 20,95 74,16
group B        1st       2nd       3rd        4th        5th
Australia 67,52 23,30 9,07 0,11 0,00
Jordan 19,37 42,39 36,25 1,87 0,12
Kuwait 13,10 33,76 49,92 3,00 0,22
Chinese Taipei 0,00 0,47 3,71 60,59 35,23
Nepal 0,01 0,08 1,05 34,43 64,43
group C        1st       2nd       3rd        4th        5th
Iran 75,59 20,76 3,35 0,30 0,00
Iraq 19,54 54,45 22,91 3,06 0,04
Bahrain 4,71 22,29 56,70 15,52 0,78
Hong Kong 0,16 2,49 16,54 72,58 8,23
Cambodia 0,00 0,01 0,50 8,54 90,95
group D        1st       2nd       3rd        4th        5th
Uzbekistan 54,33 32,14 11,72 1,62 0,19
Saudi Arabia 35,54 42,93 17,73 3,34 0,46
Palestine 9,43 20,32 46,45 17,67 6,13
Yemen 0,51 3,11 14,87 44,20 37,31
Singapore 0,19 1,50 9,23 33,17 55,91
group E        1st       2nd       3rd        4th        5th
Qatar 81,87 17,12 0,97 0,04 0,00
Oman 17,29 68,54 11,69 2,42 0,06
India 0,71 10,00 52,16 32,69 4,44
Afghanistan 0,13 4,28 33,22 53,73 8,64
Bangladesh 0,00 0,06 1,96 11,12 86,86
group F        1st       2nd       3rd        4th        5th
Japan 94,52 4,77 0,67 0,04 0,00
Kyrgyzstan 3,32 49,26 35,18 11,82 0,42
Tajikistan 2,02 37,69 41,55 17,90 0,84
Myanmar 0,14 8,19 21,87 62,38 7,42
Mongolia 0,00 0,09 0,73 7,86 91,32
group G        1st       2nd       3rd        4th        5th
United Arab Emirates 53,29 24,91 13,63 6,50 1,67
Vietnam 22,50 30,50 23,90 15,53 7,57
Thailand 16,01 24,64 27,47 20,28 11,60
Indonesia 6,14 13,66 22,14 31,74 26,32
Malaysia 2,06 6,29 12,86 25,95 52,84
group H        1st       2nd       3rd        4th        5th
Korea Republic 88,42 9,63 1,69 0,26 0,00
Lebanon 7,51 48,47 30,09 13,79 0,14
Korea DPR 3,51 30,83 41,17 24,19 0,30
Turkmenistan 0,56 11,07 26,98 59,92 1,47
Sri Lanka 0,00 0,00 0,07 1,84 98,09

The probabilities to qualify for a next round:

Third round WCq - 1 to 12 (or 13 if Qatar is in this group)

Japan 98,69
Korea Republic 96,52
Iran 94,14
Australia 88,28
China PR 85,96
Syria 84,83
Uzbekistan 75,79
Oman 67,67
United Arab Emirates 61,91
Saudi Arabia 61,20
Iraq 60,54
Jordan 52,46
Kuwait 38,86
Lebanon 36,85
Vietnam 31,55
Kyrgyzstan 28,34
Thailand 22,71
Korea DPR 19,93
Tajikistan 19,92
Palestine 19,48
Bahrain 19,03
Indonesia 8,55
Philippines 7,29
India 5,14
Turkmenistan 4,17
Malaysia 2,87
Myanmar 2,26
Afghanistan 1,63
Yemen 1,25
Hong Kong 0,84
Maldives 0,78
Singapore 0,46
Chinese Taipei 0,07
Guam 0,02
Nepal 0,01
Cambodia 0,00
Qatar 0,00
Bangladesh 0,00
Mongolia 0,00
Sri Lanka 0,00

AFC Nations Cup 2023 - 1 to 12

Japan 98,25
Qatar 95,98
Korea Republic 95,59
Iran 92,20
Australia 85,94
China PR 81,86
Syria 80,73
Uzbekistan 71,51
Oman 59,73
United Arab Emirates 58,78
Saudi Arabia 55,44
Iraq 53,72
Jordan 47,08
Kuwait 33,86
Lebanon 30,14
Vietnam 28,09
Kyrgyzstan 21,78
Thailand 20,10
Palestine 16,68
Bahrain 15,64
Korea DPR 15,25
Tajikistan 14,92
Indonesia 7,46
Philippines 5,78
India 3,64
Turkmenistan 2,50
Malaysia 2,47
Myanmar 1,32
Afghanistan 1,12
Yemen 0,87
Hong Kong 0,59
Maldives 0,55
Singapore 0,37
Chinese Taipei 0,04
Guam 0,01
Nepal 0,01
Cambodia 0,00
Bangladesh 0,00
Mongolia 0,00
Sri Lanka 0,00

ANCq3 - 13 to 28 (or 29 if China is in this group)

Korea DPR 80,50
Tajikistan 79,38
Bahrain 79,35
Turkmenistan 78,51
Philippines 78,05
India 77,34
Kyrgyzstan 74,98
Palestine 71,05
Lebanon 67,90
Kuwait 64,99
Thailand 64,19
Afghanistan 62,52
Myanmar 61,66
Vietnam 61,65
Indonesia 57,97
Hong Kong 52,30
Jordan 52,24
Iraq 45,81
Maldives 44,88
Saudi Arabia 43,56
Oman 39,87
United Arab Emirates 38,87
Yemen 38,08
Malaysia 36,45
Uzbekistan 28,12
Singapore 24,36
Syria 19,17
Chinese Taipei 19,01
China PR 18,10
Australia 14,05
Guam 9,41
Iran 7,80
Nepal 6,95
Korea Republic 4,41
Bangladesh 4,24
Qatar 4,02
Mongolia 2,42
Cambodia 1,83
Japan 1,75
Sri Lanka 0,36

Play-off qualification AFC Nations Cup 2023 - 29 (or 30) to 40

Sri Lanka 99,64
Cambodia 98,17
Mongolia 97,58
Bangladesh 95,76
Nepal 93,04
Guam 90,58
Chinese Taipei 80,95
Singapore 75,27
Malaysia 61,08
Yemen 61,05
Maldives 54,57
Hong Kong 47,11
Myanmar 37,02
Afghanistan 36,36
Indonesia 34,57
India 19,02
Turkmenistan 18,99
Philippines 16,17
Thailand 15,71
Palestine 12,27
Vietnam 10,26
Tajikistan 5,70
Bahrain 5,01
Korea DPR 4,25
Kyrgyzstan 3,24
United Arab Emirates 2,35
Lebanon 1,96
Kuwait 1,15
Saudi Arabia 1,00
Jordan 0,68
Iraq 0,47
Oman 0,40
Uzbekistan 0,37
Syria 0,10
China PR 0,04
Australia 0,01
Iran 0,00
Qatar 0,00
Japan 0,00
Korea Republic 0,00

About me:

Software engineer, happily unmarried and non-religious. You won't find me on Twitter or other so called social media. Dutchman, joined the blog in March 2018.


  1. Thank you Ed for this great and amazing output! Which can give us clear vision for the next competitions.

    Anyway, What about the simulations of the last Round of WCQ, in which we can know who will qualify to the world cup?

    1. Hi Tarek,

      you're welcome of course. And about 'clear vision': these are all probabilities and they will change more or less as matches are played in WCq2. I will keep track of these changes after each pair of matchdays and provide updates.

      For simulations of the last qualification round it's way too early: there is no confirmed format and match-schedule yet.

    2. Yes, you are right. I'm always Interested for a new posts from you. Have a nice day.

  2. Uzbekistan is the only team from the 2nd pot to win the group.
    (I am from Uzbekistan)

  3. Could you calculate how changing the Concacaf WC qualification system influences chances of countries to get to WC finals?

    1. I could make a comparison, but not any time soon. It's an interesting question so I will come back to it somewhere in September.

  4. Most of the pot 1 teams are also clear favorites in their group, but indeed group A (China and Syria) and group D (Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia) promise the hottest fights for top spot.

    After so many near misses for Uzbekistan in the recent past I hope for you that they can make it this time to their first World Cup.

  5. hey ed can you update sept 2019 probable ranking I cant wait

    1. You have to be patient then: that's scheduled for the last week of August.

  6. Hey Ed

    Did fifa include or exclude the Bermuda-Cuba closed door match up on February 25th into the April 4th rankings?


    1. Can't be concluded with any amount of certainty as it concerns a point exchange of only 0.049. For now I have this match still excluded, but marked as 'uncertain'.

  7. I was surprised to see Kuwait ranked as closely to Jordan in Group B. This seems to be a function of Chinese Taipei and Nepal not being as strong as some other Pot 4 and Pot 5 sides.

  8. Their current elo ratings are 1463 (Jprdan) and 1461 (Kuwait). These simulations are somehow based on the predicted home team expectancy according to elo.

  9. Hi Ed,
    How can we know if FIFA includes any match in general on the next ranking or not? Is there any website to know this info? As Example, the matches of KSA in Waff tournament, is it included in ranking or not?

  10. Hi Tarek, that's the whole problem. FIFA used to maintain a list of matches they included in the ranking calculation on their site. Around the transition to the new calculation method (in June 2018) they also introduced a new app for smartphones and abolished the fixture/results-list of NT-matches on their site. And that was the only official source for this kind of information.

    Several users (me included) have asked FIFA to reinstate this information, but they claim that all information can be found now in their app. This claim is apparently false. Even a year after introduction of the app friendlies and minor regional tournaments like the WAFF Cup can't be found. So it is definitely not a complete, reliable source for all NT-matches that they include in their ranking calculation. Don't get me started on that app, by the way. It contains a lot of 'news' about Infantino and such, a photos and videos section (people apparently want that) and all kinds of matches, club-football, beach, futsal, you name it. But their selection of matches makes a very haphazard impression and there simply is not one page with all NT-matches in a list, so you have to travel a lot from page to page to find the information you want. But the main (and fatal) disadvantage: it is not a reliable source, because it is incomplete.

    So like I already said earlier, it's guess now which matches are included and verify later against the published ranking. I try to make an intelligent guess which matches are included based on experience (I follow the ranking calculations closely since 2007) and also some other, rather comprehensive sources for NT-matches like Soccerway and Roon/BA. But FIFA has their own set of inclusion-rules which depend mostly on the official match-report of a match: max 6 subs per team, FIFA-approved referees and so. Further more national FA's can ask FIFA to consider certain matches as training matches or matches of an apparent B-team (so not official 'A'-internationals), not to be included in the ranking calculation. Of course I have no insight at all in this kind of information.

    An additional difficulty with the verification is further that they present the ranking points as rounded integers, so for matches with a small points exchange of say 0.2 (friendlies between closely ranked teams which end in a draw mostly) it can't even be determined with certainty if the match is included or not. And that makes the verification sometimes something of a puzzle. Fortunately there are more readers here who want a precise answer on these puzzles and they are willing to share their solutions here. So with their help I dare to claim that my ranking calculations are still very reliable.

    Regarding your question about the existence of a website with this information. There isn't, as FIFA can be the only official source.
    In this blog I give insight which matches I include in my probable ranking, but I always have to make a small amount of corrections afterwards. So predicted rankings are always somewhat uncertain regarding which matches are to be included.

    1. Thanks a lot Ed for your comprehensive answer. Really, I feel surprised how such big institute as Fifa find difficulty to clarify such issue in their site or even in their application platform!

    2. Yeah, I'm quite flabbergasted myself by their inability/ignorance/unwillingness to provide such 'core business' information complete and in an accessible way.

  11. Hi Ed,

    As a result of the unwillingness of FIFA to make the ranking process more transparant (i.e. not publishing the matches included, only publish the rounded points, not answering to any questions for clarification, etc. etc.) I've stopped my efforts to keep track of the ranking. It's too time-consuming for me to verify all matches, and still coming up with differences in points between my ranking and FIFA's ranking and trying to work out why those differences exist.

    I've kept track of the rankings ever since they changed the procedure in 2006, but nowadays I find no joy whatsoever anymore in trying to predict and adjust the rankings.

    So, well done FIFA, you've managed to chase away a loyal follower of the ranking. And I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one.

    As for you Ed, I admire your tenacity to keep track of the ranking. Keep up that good work!

    1. Hey Tobcoach, long time no see. How are you doing ? Without the FIFA ranking I read. That's a pity, but indeed it takes more effort now to follow the ranking closely and correctly.

      Somebody has to do it and it seems I will be that clown :)

    2. Don't even think about stepping down, Ed. :)

  12. Hi Ed I'm having trouble coming up with the calculation ranking points on Syria's eight opponents from Sunday Dec 30, 2018 to Tuesday June 11, 2019. Here are the dates and opponents.
    12-30-18 Yeman
    1-6-19 Palestine
    1-10-19 Jordan
    1-15-19 Australia
    3-20-19 Iraq
    3-23-19 Jordan
    6-6-19 Iran
    6-11-19 Uzbekistan

    Thank You

    1. 2019-07-16;IND;Friendly 2019;5;1277,031;-0,303;1276,728
      2019-07-10;TJK;Friendly 2019;5;1280,125;-3,094;1277,031
      2019-07-08;PRK;Friendly 2019;5;1278,235;1,890;1280,125
      2019-06-11;UZB;Friendly 2019;10;1283,259;-5,024;1278,235
      2019-06-06;IRN;Friendly 2019;10;1286,189;-2,930;1283,259
      2019-03-23;JOR;Friendly 2019;10;1281,608;4,582;1286,189
      2019-03-20;IRQ;Friendly 2019;10;1286,385;-4,777;1281,608
      2019-01-15;AUS;AFC Nations Cup 2019;35;1299,781;-13,396;1286,385
      2019-01-10;JOR;AFC Nations Cup 2019;35;1320,702;-20,921;1299,781
      2019-01-06;PLE;AFC Nations Cup 2019;35;1323,746;-3,044;1320,702
      2018-12-30;YEM;Friendly 2018;5;1322,228;1,518;1323,746

      You see:
      match date
      opponent of SYR
      points SYR before the match
      points SYR after the match

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