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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 11 Sep 2013, 08:05 
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Matches were played in both parts of the Americas overnight.
Taking the CONCACAF group first, where two teams qualified. The USA had chosen to play Mexico at Columbus, because it is a venue where USA voices can be heard over those giving support to Mexico, and as this has been seen to good for them in the past. Mexico have been "out of sorts" recently, and so it came to pass that two second half goals, from Eddie Johnson and Landon Donovan swept USA past the Mexicans. Meanwhile, Costa Rica were a goal up in Jamaica, but in injury time, Jermaine Anderson came in to level the scores. At this point, neither had qualified for 2014, but Carlo Costly's goal that gave Honduras a half time lead over Panama was helping. Gabriel Torres, who plays in the USA for Colorado Rapids scored Panama's equalisers, firstly to bring the scores to 1-1, and then after Wilson Palacios had restored the Honduran lead, Torres did it again in the final minute. He did not get the vital third though which would have changed the group until next month. As it was as the final whistle was blown in Honduras,
8. USA and
9. Costa Rica
had their places booked

Technically, Jamaica can still make it into the play off spot, but that is not going to happen, Honduras have 11 points and are favourites for third spot. Panama and Mexico are both on eight - they meet in Mexico in the first of the October games, after which Mexico travel to Costa Rica, and the Panamanians host the USA.

And so on to the South, first up was already out Bolivia, who briefly led against Ecuador, but settled for a 1-1 draw.
Next up were Uruguay, who rescued their own hopes with a 2-0 win over Columbia, Venezuela kept just in the hunt with a 3-2 win over
62. Peru while 10. Argentina swept into the finals with a 5-2 away win in
61. Paraguay

Columbia have not quite confirmed their place, they are four points ahead of both Ecuador and Uruguay who meet next month - but it is fair to say that Columbia will go through, and the rest of the South American top five will be Chile (currently on 24 points), Ecuador and Uruguay (currently on 22). Venezuela have 19, but only one game to go, and although they should beat Paraguay at home, this is unlikely to be enough


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 12 Sep 2013, 19:47 
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Tunisia are back in the World Cup, with Cape Verde having their 2-0 win in Rades awarded as a 3-0 defeat. This is because Cape Verde played Fernando Verela who had not completed a four match suspension received following a red card against Equatorial Guinea (a match that itself saw the result overturned, this time in Cape Verde's favour).

Meanwhile, it seems that Congo have failed in an attempt to have the match against Niger awarded, as although Niger had played a player who had already appeared for Mali at U-20 level, Niger had successfully completed the request to change his eligibilty and had it confirmed by FIFA before they played him.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 12 Sep 2013, 20:24 
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Poor by Cape Verde.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 10 Oct 2013, 11:53 
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Sorry if the formatting is not good - October Preview.

We are closing in on the 32 finalists for the World Cup next year. In the countdown from 208 countries that could have entered the competition, only 60 remain in contention, and several of these have only a tenuous mathematical hold on the place. Of the 60, 10 are confirmed as finalists, so 50 countries are competing for 22 more places. 11 of these will be decided this month, with the remaining 11 (all via play offs of one type or another) being confirmed some five weeks later.
For Oceania, 10 of the 11 entrants have been removed, with the one remaining country, New Zealand sitting out this month before playing two legs against a CONCACAF team next month. The CONCACAF team will be the one finishing fourth out of the final group of six. Twenty-nine CONCACAF members have lost their chance so far, while two (USA and Costa Rica) know they will play in the finals, regardless of their two results this month. So out of the other four, one will reach the finals, and one end up in the play-off against New Zealand, while two others will be knocked out. Everyone knows Jamaica will be one of those knocked out, but the big question is whether Mexico will be the other?
Jamaica still have a slim chance, but they need to win both their remaining games, firstly visiting USA in Kansas, and then at home to Honduras. Even then they only have a chance if the Mexico v Panama game ends in a draw. Two wins gives Jamaica just 10 points, a draw places both Mexico and Panama on nine, after which Panama entertain USA, while Mexico go to Costa Rica. Honduras open with the home game against Costa Rica – with a three point cushion over Mexico and Panama, they are the favourites to take the third direct place, and four more points will do it.
As with Oceania, there are no qualification games involving Asian teams this time around. There are 46 countries with AFC membership. Brunei were not able to enter due to a FIFA suspension, while Bhutan and Guam choose not to enter. 38 other Asia countries have been knocked out, which leaves Japan, Australia, Iran and South Korea with places in Brazil, and Jordan to face a South American side in the other inter-continental play off.
But which of the ten members of CONMEBOL will face Jordan? Well, certainly not Brazil, the hosts are the only country excused for qualifying, and not Argentina – the only South American to have confirmed their place. Three more have been knocked out, these being Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru. This leaves five, Columbia, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay and Venezuela. Venezuela are very unlikely to make it. They have only one game to play, against bottom of the table Paraguay, and a good win brings them up to 22 points, but it would take six goals to reach level goal difference. There are two teams, Ecuador and Uruguay already on 22 points, so Venezuela can only possibly catch up with a loser of the game between the pair in Quito, and are out if they do not win, or the game in Ecuador is drawn. Argentina play a dead game against Peru on Friday, while the fourth game is Columbia (26 points) at home to Chile (24). Both are certain not to end up worse off than a play-off position, and a winner in this game will have their place in Brazil confirmed before the final series of games. A draw is enough for Columbia, and their final match, in Paraguay gives a further good chance to make it.
The other South American games in the final round are Peru v Bolivia (both out already), Chile v Ecuador (potentially very important), and Uruguay v Argentina. If Uruguay have not picked up points in their first game, then Argentina could stand between them and the play off place.
In Africa, the ten group winners are starting their play-offs to decide the five finalists. The draw was seeded using FIFA rankings, with Ivory Coast, Ghana, Algeria, Nigeria and Tunisia the favoured teams. The Ivoirians will play Senegal who will be further handicapped by the fact the second leg will be played not in Senegal, but in Morocco. One day short of a year before the first leg, the two teams met in Senegal with a qualification place in the African Nations Cup at stake. Senegal were 4-2 down from the first leg and Didier Drogba was making sure of the final result with a goal early in the second half, and then a penalty to make the aggregate 6-2.The crowd in Dakar did not like this at all, and caused a riot. The CAF decided to award the game as a 2-0 win for the Ivory Coast, but Senegal have also been banned from playing at home, and the second leg in November will be the third World Cup match moved because of this.
Algeria and Nigeria are the seeded teams who are also at home in the second leg, and I fancy both of them to make it through. This month, Algeria play in Burkina Faso, while Nigeria visit Ethiopia. The other two are far more up in the air. The last competitive match between Ghana and Egypt was the African Nations Cup Final in Angola, which was won 1-0 by Egypt. This was Egypt’s third successive title, having also won their home tournament, and Ghana’s home tournament. However, Egypt failed to qualify for the last two while Ghana were beaten semi-finalists both times. Ghana have also made it to the last two World Cup final tournaments.
Finally, there is Tunisa, who play Cameroon at home in the first leg. Despite not making the last World Cup and an early exit in the last African Nations cup, Tunisia have been seeded against a Cameroon side who lost all three games in the last world cup, and missed out completely on two Nations Cup. Still, I see this as a very close game.
Overall, there are 53 African members of FIFA. Mauritania did not enter, Mauritius withdrew without playing. 41 others have been knocked out, 11 in a the other two legged first round games, and thirty in the group games.
Of the 53 teams trying to qualify from the UEFA confederation, 23 already know their fate, two of these (Italy and the Netherlands) have qualified, while 21 cannot qualify, regardless of their remaining results. Of the remaining 30 teams, 15 will have their hopes dashed over this coming week, seven will secure qualification while eight will find themselves in play-offs from which four more will qualify next month.
To start in a simple group, the five team Group I, where Spain and France are currently level on 14 points. However Spain have two games to play, at home to Belarus first, and then Georgia, while the French have only one game, at home to Finland. None of Belarus, Georgia and Finland can qualify, so Spain will finish top with four more points, and will probably do so with three, (having the better goal difference, by two goals). France have a minimum of 14 points on the play-off table and cannot fail to make the play offs.
Group A is also a two horse race, but in this case one horse already has close to two lengths of lead. Belgium are the form team and are five points ahead of Croatia. With a goal difference advantage to Belgium as well, Croatia need a good win when they play Belgium in Zagreb, before hoping Belgium do not beat Wales at home. Assuming Croatia finish second, and either Wales or Macedonia finish bottom, their second place points total is 11+whatever they gain in two games this month, but if Scotland could be persuaded to finish bottom, (their final game is at home to Croatia), Croatia’s total starts at 17, and then goes up with points gained against Belgium. For Scotland to drop below both Wales and Macedonia, both need to win a game, Wales play Macedonia first, and then go to Belgium while Macedonia play Serbia.
Italy have won group B, Malta will finish last (not mathematically certain) and while four teams can finish in second place, it is really between Bulgaria (13 points) and Denmark (12). Bulgaria visit Armenia before entertaining the Czech Republic (both opponents on 9 points). Denmark have two home games, against Italy and Malta. Before this week, Bulgaria have only 7 points in the play off table, meaning they cannot exceed 13. Denmark have 9 points to date, but with the final game against Malta, 12 is their best possibility
Germany are pretty certain to win their group. Only Sweden can catch them, but before that can happen, Germany would have to lose at home to Ireland. In all probability, Sweden will pick up the points they need to secure second place at home to Austria. Assuming Sweden win, then only a win officially confirms Germany as through before they go to Sweden – but with the German’s highly superior goal difference, a draw is really enough. If Sweden do not win, then as well as confirming Germany’s qualification (regardless of result), Austria are still in with a chance – they finish the campaign in the Faroe Islands. Sweden have 11 points in the second place table before the week’s games.
In Group D, there are three teams bidding for second place behind the Netherlands. Even though Romania are in fourth place at the moment, they may be favourites, as they do not play the Netherlands in their final two games. The Netherlands final two games are against second place Hungary, and in Turkey (currently third). Hungary finish with the home game against Andorra, while Turkey visit Estonia before entertaining the Dutch. Romania play Andorra (away) and Estonia (home). Andorra have not picked up a point, so whoever finishes second in the table will lose six points from their total.
Group E is even more complex, Switzerland should win the group as they currently hold a five point lead, but Iceland (13 points), Slovenia (12), Norway (11) and Albania (10) all hope to finish second. Cyprus will finish bottom of the group and have beaten Iceland, who that play again on Friday. In all probability, Switzerland will wrap up qualification on Friday, Iceland will improve their position leaving the winner of Slovenia v Norway also in contention. Switzerland are at home to Slovenia on the final day, Norway play Iceland and Albania go to Cyprus.
Group F is much easier, although Israel go to Portugal in contention, they are unlikely to get the win they need to stay there. Portugal finish the season at home to Luxembourg and must be expecting to push Russia all the way. Russia have two away games to come, but they are in Luxembourg and Azerbaijan, so in all probability they keep their slender lead. The fate of the second placed team is complicated by the fact that the bottom placed team is unknown, but I suspect Luxembourg will end up in that slot, and Portugal will may have as many as 17 points in the second place table.
Even more straight forward is Group G, where the first and second place teams, Bosnia and Greece are decided – just not their order. Both have 19 points from 8 games, but the Bosnians have a large goal difference advantage. Both still have the home game against Liechtenstein to come, with the minnows going to Bosnia first, and then to Greece. Bosnia finish in Lithuania, so the Greeks play Slovakia needing to win this, and hope Bosnia then slip. With 16 plus points on the second place table, the runners-up will be in the play offs.
Finally, Group H which is of course, England’s to lose. Two home matches against moderate opposition, but England need to win both to secure the top place. With Ukraine finishing in San Marino, they can be expected to secure all six points from their final games. That means Poland’s chances are eliminated if they lose in Ukraine. Four points is likely to leave England in second place, beating Montenegro and then losing is also liable to create the same result, but losing the first game will probably result in direct elimination. Four points should also assure England of a play off place, while dropping more is risky. Ukraine will certainly be secure in the play offs at least if they beat Poland.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 10 Oct 2013, 14:33 
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Even though you are naming the teams qualified as 1-10 so far, I hope you'll keep this going through until the end of next year's final, so that 1. will be the winners and not the hosts. Unless, of course, they win it!

I believe Japan, Iran, Australia and S. Korea will be over the moon if the finish in the qualifying positions.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 10 Oct 2013, 16:38 
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After Novembers matches the list of knock outs will be down to 33.
During the finals, this can count down from there as the last 32 get knocked out - leaving Number 1 as the winners.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 10 Oct 2013, 18:39 
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Leo, how does the second place table work? Seems quite confusing.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 10 Oct 2013, 22:49 
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The nine second placed clubs are placed in a table with every clubs performance taken over 8 games. In the five team group, this is all 8 games, while in the six team groups, the results against the team that finishes bottom do not count.
Of the nine teams, the bottom placed one misses out and the other eight go into play offs.

It is relatively simple to work out after the matches are completed next week, but quite complex to predict with even two games to go. In the six team groups, most teams will have six points discounted, and around 12 points in the second placed table (18 points total) is likely to be enough
The seeding for the play offs is based on the FIFA rankings after this weeks games.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 12 Oct 2013, 00:39 
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Heartbreak for Denmark despite Bendtners heroics - would have looked good for the play-offs.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 12 Oct 2013, 01:51 
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No time to add detail, but the nine teams knocked out today

60. Poland

59. Albania

58. Norway

57. Austria

56. Ireland

55. Czech Republic

54. Israel

53. Venezuela

52. Jamaica



Todays qualifyers

11. Belgium

12. Switzerland

13. Germany

14. Columbia

Denmark still have a good chance of finishing second - they should beat Malta at home, while Bulgaria after defeat against Armenia are not certain to beat Czech Republic. However, they are very likely to be the team that misses out on the play offs even if they finish second. The Czech Republic are out, as although they can finish second, they would be guaranteed to miss the play offs. It is the second placed team in group B (Bulgaria, Denmark, Czech, Armenia can all finish second) that is most likely to miss out, but group D (Turkey, Romania Hungary) or E (Iceland, Slovenia) can still fail. The second placed teams in all other groups are certain to be in the play offs


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 12 Oct 2013, 09:00 
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Montenegro out of it bar the miraculous - three points and 12 goals behind Ukraine, who face San Marino next. I would hate to be relying on San Marino to win by a bag-full.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 15 Oct 2013, 20:01 
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Bosnia & Herzegovina on their way to Brazil.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 15 Oct 2013, 20:05 
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Indeed, the qualfied list reads
16. Bosnia & Herzegovina
Vedad Ibisevic is the hero with a 68th minute goal as Bosnia win 1-0 in Lithuania

The one so far missed out therefore is
15. Russia
Azerbaijan surprised Russia with a 90th minute equaliser, despite being down to 10 men after Maksim Medvedyev was sent off on 73 minutes. Still, Russia only needed a single point to qualify, and Roman Shirokov's goal ensured they are qualified for Brazil. Portugal beat Luxembourg 3-0 and go into the play offs from second place


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 15 Oct 2013, 20:53 
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A 30th minute penatly by Ciprian Marica put Romania ahead against Estonia. He adds another with ten minutes to play
The win means curtains for
51. Hungary
despite their win over Andorra. Well lets face it, their chances were always limited after they lost by 8-1 in the Netherlands last week.

The result leaves Romania waiting for confirmation of second place until the result from Turkey against the Netherlands is known. Arjen Robben gives the Netherlands an early lead, Wesley Sneijder doubles this at the start of the second half, so out go
50. Turkey
who needed to beat the Netherlands to claim second place.

Meanwhile, Iceland who were certain to take second place with a win went ahead in Norway through Kolbeinn Sigthorsson. Daniel Braaten levelled the scores before half time, but good news came to the Icelanders, when Swizterland scored against Slovenia with just over a quarter of an hour to play. Slovenia started a point behind Iceland, but with a better goal difference, so needed a better result than their rivals to claim second place.

Iceland confirmed their draw and had to wait for the other result but it is
49. Slovenia


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 15 Oct 2013, 21:09 
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Group B results come in, first from Denmark, who beat Malta by 6-0, and end the mathematical chance of
48. Armenia whose match kicks off 30 minutes later.

Armenia actually took the lead in Italy, but it was 1-1 at the point they were knocked out.
Meanwhile, Bulgaria who would take second place with a draw went 1-0 down at home to Czech Republic through Borek Dockal and then had Pavel Zanev sent off for his second yellow card.
47. Bulgaria cannot recover, but then
46. Denmark are also out, confirmed as the worst second placed team


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 15 Oct 2013, 21:18 
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Croatia, Sweden, Romania, Iceland, Portugal and Greece have confirmed play off places
The other pair will be either Ukraine or England, and either France or Spain.

The Confirmed European qualifyers are Belgium, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Russia and Bosnia

The remaining European team still to be knocked out is Montenegro, whose fate is only mathematically certain once Ukraine, (6-0 up with 30 minutes to play) do not lose against San Marino or if Montenegro themselves (currently 1-1) do not beat Moldova


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 15 Oct 2013, 21:54 
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England's result comes in ahead of that from Spain, so it is
17. England
18. Spain
heading to Brazil, Spain care of a comfortable win over Georgia - they only needed a draw and were 2-0 up on the hour
Ukraine (8-0 in San Marino) and France (3-0 against Finland) end up in the play offs.

No chances for
45. Montenegro
who lost 5-2 at home to Moldova!

Later tonight, CONCACAF confirms placings. One goes through, one out and one to the play offs
and in CONMEBOL, two teams qualify, while a third team enters the play offs


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 16 Oct 2013, 22:17 
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In the overnight games, South America was up first. Starting the evening 3 points behind Chile and Ecuador, Uruguay needed to win their game, hope the two teams above them did not contrive a draw - and make up the goal difference (4 goals behind Chile, Six behind Ecuador). It was the last factor that was beyond them. Chile quickly showed they were not pulling punches, taking a 2-0 half time lead, although this was pegged back to 2-1

Beating Argentinia by a five goal margin, though would always be a tough call. Uruguay did what they could - they beat Argentina, taking the lead three times, but on the first two occasions, Maxi Rodriguez provided equalisers. So on the qualification list it is
19. Chile
20. Ecuador


while Uruguay go into an intercontinental play off for the fourth successive World Cup, (they beat Australia for a place in 2002), lost to the same opponents on penalties four years later, and then beat Costa Rica to qualify last time out. Clearly they will be favourites this time around.

Meanwhile I am indebted for this report from North America.

Incredible night of soccer in CONCACAF, as the Hex concluded play for the 2014 World Cup. All 3 games kicked off simultaneously, and every one of them had high drama, twists and turns, ups and downs, and rock 'em sock 'em action!

Honduras only needed a draw in Kingston to qualify directly, and the catrachos wasted no time in laying down their marker with a first minute goal by Carlos Costly. Gritty Jamaica tied the game just two minutes later, courtesy of Je-Vaughn Watson. After some good back and forth play, Maynor Figueroa reclaimed the lead for the Central Americans. The sides went into the halftime locker room with Honduras up 2-1.

In Panama City, the hosts needed to beat already-qualified USA, and hope for a Costa Rica win over Mexico so they could keep their World Cup dreams alive via playoff with New Zealand. Gabby Torres scored in the 18th minute to put the canaleros up 1-0. Ten minutes later, the stadium went wild when it learned of Brian Ruiz netting the first goal for Costa Rica, as the ticos took a 1-0 lead on Mexico.

Things got more subdued in Panama three minutes later, because Mexico's Oribe Peralta leveled the score in San Jose. By halftime, Mexico had its precious draw, and Panama had a 1-goal lead, but was still on the outside looking in.

Just like the first half, second half scoring was opened up in Kingston, as Rodolph Austin scored a PK for Jamaica to tie the score at 2-2 in the 58th minute. Six minutes later, goals were scored in San Jose and Panama City! Alvaro Saborio put Costa Rica in the lead and momentarily pushed Mexico out of the playoff position, but USA's Michael Orozco tied things up for his side, and just like that, Panama was in the dreaded 5th position in the standings.

Things stayed quiet in San Jose and Kingston for the rest of the night, with Costa Rica having the best chances of the four teams. Meanwhile, things were just getting interesting in Panama. In the 83rd minute, Luis Tejeda scored to put Panama up 2-1. All the canaleros had to do was hang on for 7 minutes plus stoppage time, and their World Cup dream would stay alive, while Mexico would slink home and contemplate the disaster that had befallen them.

Just when things looked darkest for El-Tri, all hell broke loose at Estadio Rommel Fernandez! There were 3 minutes of stoppage time to play, and all Panama had to do was hang onto the ball. They couldn't do it. Graham Zusi scored on a header in the 2nd minute of stoppage time to tie the game at 2-2, then adding insult to injury, Aron Johannsson scored the game winner in the 3rd minute of stoppage time to give the United States a dramatic 3-2 victory!

USA, Costa Rica, and Honduras are off to Brazil. Mexico lives to fight at least for 2 more days against New Zealand next month. Dazed and confused Panama will have three years before the next cycle starts to sift through the wreckage of a dream that might have been. Jamaica never won a game in the final group stage, but they played well at times and notched 5 draws in 10 games.

for the qualification list, that means
21. Honduras

while on the knock out list, the last name this month is
44. Panama

So, there are now 43 teams left in. 21 have qualified, 11 will qualify from the play offs next month, and 11 will be knocked out


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 16 Oct 2013, 22:31 
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leohoenig wrote:
...and rock 'em sock 'em action!


I'm glad you pointed out that the report had come from someone else, Leo - else I might have been a little concerned that your writing style had changed, somewhat.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 16 Oct 2013, 22:40 
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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... error.html

World Cup of terror promised by drug cartel. These gangs are not going to go on holiday when the WC comes to Brazil. Think there could be a lot of trouble


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 16 Oct 2013, 22:43 
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I am surprised they have not simply re-wrtten a 2010 scare story.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 16 Oct 2013, 22:57 
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So are England unseeded?


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 17 Oct 2013, 11:12 
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Correct http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/24562306


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 17 Oct 2013, 13:33 
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While England are certain to be in the second pot from the seeding process, Italy will look back at a serious lack of judgement in the rankings. Already confirmed as through to the finals, Italy drew both of their games this month - away in Denmark and then at home to Armenia. Just one win would have placed them into the top seeding pot.
It is now the Netherlands that can wait hopefully, they are ahead of Italy by a fraction of a point, and will qualify for the top seeding pot only if Uruguay do not make it to the finals.
The top seeds are Brazil, along with Spain, Germany, Argentina, Columbia, Belgium and Switzerland - and either Uruguay or the Netherlands.

The second ranking pot should be Netherlands (assuming Ururguay qualify), Italy, England, Chile, USA, Portugal, Greece and Bosnia (again, assuming they all make it). Chile will not be allowed to draw another South American team, skewing the draw probabilities slightly towards England drawing a South American as the seeded team in their group.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 17 Oct 2013, 13:47 
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Who are the smallest countries liable to be making up the group numbers Leo


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 17 Oct 2013, 22:51 
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It is not certain whether FIFA will divide up the countries according to ranking, or if they will place them geographically as they did in 2010. I feel they are liable to go for ranking, which will give a more even spread of quality of teams in each group. They are still liable to limit the geograhical spread so as you cannot get two teams from the same Confederation in a single group, with the exception that UEFA, providing 13 teams provides one to each group, and no more than two in any group.

In 2010, the "top seeds" pot was made up of South Africa (hosts), plus Two South American countries and Five Europeans.
The other groups were
2) Asia, CONCACAF and Oceania (Australia, New Zealand, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Honduras, Mexico, USA)
3) Five African Countries, Three South Americans
4) Europe.

This gave a lack of balance in the groups, as can be seen by adding up the total ranking places in each group (rankings used at time of qualification draw)

Group A - 137
Group B - 102
Group C - 96 (includes England)
Group D - 89
Group E - 84
Group F - 141 (and the higest seed, Italy came bottom)
Group G - 121 (but if North Korea is excluded, this is the srongest group)
Group H - 65

So far, the only FIFA announcement has been of the top seeds.
Brazil as hosts are included, although only ranked 11th, but even FIFA recognise their rankings discriminates againsts hosts in the run up to a tournament, as they do not play qualification games and friendlies add less points to the total
So the seeds are (with FIFA ranking in brackets)
Brazil (11)
Spain (1)
Germany (2)
Argentina (3)
Columbia (4)
Belgium (5)
Switzerland (6)
Uruguay (7) or Netherlands (8)

Also qualified are
Italy (9), England (10), Chile (12), USA (13), Bosnia (16), Russia (19), Ecuador (22), Costa Rica (31), Honduras (34), Japan (44), Iran (49), South Korea (56) and Australia (57)

The teams in play offs are
Europe (seeded quartet). Portugal (14), Greece (15), Croatia (18) and Ukraine (20)
Europe (unseeded). France (21), Sweden (25), Romania (29) and Iceland (46)

The African Play Offs have played the first legs, so I am showing the first leg scores with rankings in brackets.
Ivory Coast (17) 3-1 Senegal (64)
Ethiopia (95) 1-2 Nigeria (33)
Tunisia (47) 0-0 Cameroon (59)
Ghana (23) 6-1 Egypt (51)
Burkina Faso (52) 3-2 Algeria (32)

The Intercontinental Play Offs are
Jordan (70) v Uruguay (7) and
Mexico (24) v New Zealand (79)

If FIFA go for a rankings position system, then the second pot contains at least two non-Europeans, in Chile and USA. If they go for a more geographical spread, then Chile and USA face a potentially harder task - which would also be true of those European who found these higher ranked teams in their group.

There is the potential next summer for all the top 20 in the FIFA rankings being in the finals, and the higest missing team being France (21). This allows FIFA to give more publicity to their rankings. By comparison, in 2010 three of the top twenty according to the rankings used to draw the Finals, Croatia (8), Russia (12) and Czech (15) were missing.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 18 Oct 2013, 10:53 
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In the play-offs, what's the chances of Portugal v France? Both would be favourites against any other team I'd imagine, on France's recent form at least.


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 Post subject: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 18 Oct 2013, 11:09 
 
Silly question sorry Leo. But are the play offs seeded at all from the league table that decided which team would miss out? Ie top plays bottom 2nd plays next one up etc.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 18 Oct 2013, 15:38 
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The European play offs are seeding on FIFA ranking, not the "second place" table - anyone of the first quartet mentioned can play anyone of the second section

The teams in play offs are
Europe (seeded quartet). Portugal (14), Greece (15), Croatia (18) and Ukraine (20)
Europe (unseeded). France (21), Sweden (25), Romania (29) and Iceland (46)

That makes the odds of France playing Portugal as 3 to 1 against.
If the draw is made in public, then it is likely to be honest.
(First rule of conspiracy, do not tell anyone)


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 18 Oct 2013, 17:58 
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:D I just meant that it quite often seems to work out that two of the bigger teams would play each other, or the tie that stands out comes about. Personally I'd like to see France & Portugal at the WC and have it as strong as possible. Unless either get beaten by different countries and then they will deserve to be there as stronger teams - unless Greece are still defending for their lives and hitting teams on the counter.

Saying that, I'd love Iceland to make it there as well. My preferential 4 winners would be France, Portugal, Iceland and Sweden.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 18 Oct 2013, 23:34 
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leohoenig wrote:
Group B results come in, first from Denmark, who beat Malta by 6-0, and end the mathematical chance of
48. Armenia whose match kicks off 30 minutes later.

Armenia actually took the lead in Italy, but it was 1-1 at the point they were knocked out.
Meanwhile, Bulgaria who would take second place with a draw went 1-0 down at home to Czech Republic through Borek Dockal and then had Pavel Zanev sent off for his second yellow card.
47. Bulgaria cannot recover, but then
46. Denmark are also out, confirmed as the worst second placed team


That bloody Aquilani injury time goal at Parken turned out to be heart break then.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 13 Nov 2013, 19:55 
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Even though Luis Saurez has been on a rich form of scoring recently, he did not make the scoreboard as Uruguay went to Jordan for the first leg of the intercontinental play offs. Still it was a stroll in the park for the South Americans, from the moment midway through the first half when Benfica's Max Pereira opened the scoring.
Stuani (Espanyol) added the second just before half time, while Lodeira (Botafogo), Rodriguez (Atletico Madrid) and Cavani (PSG) added to the scores to give them a 5-0 lead before the home game.

One notices a lack of Uruguayan club names in that list, and a quick scan shows not one of the 14 players fielded play in their home country. 10 of the 14 play in Europe, leaving a goalkeeper in Paraguay, two in Brazil, and Egidio Arevalo at Chicago Fire. By comparison, the whole of the Jordanian starting line up play in the middle East, mainly in Jordan but with a couple in Saudi Arabia and a couple in Kuwait. Tha'er Al Bawab, who plays in Romania came on as substitute.

Still, Jordan stand to be the last team to be knocked out before the world cup starts - their return match in Montevideo will be the last of the play offs to finish! Next up, Mexico v New Zealand.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 13 Nov 2013, 23:13 
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New Zealand the only unbeaten team in the last world cup of course.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 14 Nov 2013, 08:44 
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but beaten last night, borrowing some comments made from PaulH in the USA

And Mexico put their difficult year behind them with a thumping 5-1 win in the Azteca over a NZ side missing key defender Winston Reid and who were indebted to their keeper for keeping the score semi-respectable. Mexico bravely fielded a team drawn entirely from their own domestic league (and mostly from Club America - managed by interim national team coach Miguel Herrera!) rather than having to acclimatize their underperforming overseas contingent in such a short period of time, but they rampaged all over their limited opponents, whose late consolation came when they were already 5 down.

Huge relief for the home side - and it showed - after a largely abysmal performance in the qualifiers.


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 Post subject: Re: 208 to 1. The Countdown to the 2014 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 16 Nov 2013, 00:31 
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The only away goal in European play offs tonight was Romania's 19th minute equaliser in Greece. Of course, as the away goals rule applies it may be crucial, but the Greeks added a second soon afterwards, and made it 3-1 in the second half.
Constin Lazar, who came on a substitute on 74 minutes got a booking on 88 minutes, and a second yellow in injury time - so he will not be available in the second leg. Will this make him more popular in club football? He plays in Greece for PAOK.

Olafur Skulason of Iceland is another who misses the second leg, getting a straight red after 50 minutes of their scoreless draw against Croatia.

The detail will be in the cards from Kiev as well. Ukraine have a 2-0 lead over France thanks to second half goals from Roman Zuzulia and Andriy Yarmolenko (pen). Then in injury time, Laurent Koscielny was sent off. I understand that Arsene Wegner was not watching at that moment. Oleksandr Kucher got a yellow at the same time as Koscielny went off, and picked up his second yellow four minutes later.

In Portugal, Christian Ronaldo's goal marks the difference between the hosts and Sweden.

Just under 68,000 watching in Kiev, just under 10,000 in Reykjavik. 28,200 watching in Piraeus, I don't have the figure from Lisbon yet.

Tomorrow, two second leg play offs in Africa. Nigeria start 2-1 up against Ethiopia, while Senegal are 3-1 down to Cote d'Ivoire. Senegal are currently banned from playing at home, so of all the stadiums in all the world, this match is in Casablanca. On Sunday, Cameroon will start as slight favourites against Tunisia, after a scoreless away draw last month.


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