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Monday, May 31, 2021

AFC qualification World Cup 2022 (May 2021)

The situation in the second round of AFC qualifying has changed somewhat with the withdrawal after 6 match days of North Korea and the decision of AFC/FIFA to annul their matches and disregard the matches against the group number 5 in all other groups when determining the group runners-up table. Remember that -besides the 8 group winners- the top 4 of the group runners-up qualify for the third and final qualification round (or top 5 if Qatar is a group winner or belongs to the top 4 group runners-up).


Furthermore 4 matches have already been played between the last simulations in January this year and today, in which Qatar and Saudi Arabia won and Japan already secured passage to the third round as group winner. These simulations were made today (June 5th), right before the Saudi Arabia - Yemen match.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

FIFA ranking: May 2021 final preview

Next Thursday May 27th FIFA publishes the May ranking. Since the March window no matches are played. Only for coming Sunday (the last day before the deadline of the May ranking) two matches are scheduled. Both are friendlies and it's not even certain they will count for the ranking.

It beats me why FIFA decided to publish a ranking while it could be easily foreseen that only a few friendlies could be included. In the months of April and May the domestic competitions finish in Europe and there simply is no room to play NT-football.

And then the contrast with the next ranking. For the next August ranking already 338 matches are scheduled, including three continental final tournaments, a bunch of World Cup qualifiers and plenty of (preparatory) friendlies.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

CONCACAF qualification World Cup 2022 simulations (May 2021)

Forced by the COVID-19 pandemic CONCACAF has adjusted their initially proposed qualification format for the World Cup to the following process:

  • a group stage with 6 groups of 5 teams. Each team plays 2 home matches and 2 away matches against the other group opponents this March and June.
  • the 6 group winners play (still in June) in 3 two-legged play-offs for a place in the octogonal. The pairing of these group winners in the play-offs is fixed: winner A plays F, winner B plays E and winner C plays D.
  • a final group stage with 8 teams in a double round-robin format (octogonal) from September to March 2022. The top 5 from the July 2020 ranking (Mexico, USA, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Honduras) is automatically qualified for this stage.
  • the top 3 of the octogonal qualifies for Qatar; number 4 goes to the interconfederational play-offs in June 2022.

This crowded schedule can only be realised because the June window contains 4 MD's and the September, October, January and March windows will contain 3 MD's each.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

UEFA qualification World Cup 2022 simulations (May 2021)

The first three match days in European qualification for the World Cup 2022 have been played last March. In this qualification there are 10 groups with the group winners qualifying directly for Qatar. The 10 group runners-up will compete with the two best UNL group winners, not qualified already, in 3 play-off paths of 4 teams for the final 3 UEFA berths. These single leg semi-final and final play-offs will be played in March 2022.


In October the UEFA Nations League 2021 Final Four will be played between the league A group winners Italy, Belgium, France and Spain.


And not to forget: this June the postponed EURO 2020 will be played, still with the same match schedule, but Dublin and Bilbao are no longer venues because of the local strict COVID measures conflicting with the requirement of UEFA to play at least with some fans in the stands. Their matches are relocated to St. Petersburg (group matches Dublin), London (round of 16 Dublin) and Seville (group matches Bilbao).