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 Post subject: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 18 Jan 2015, 11:30 
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The World Cup qualifying draw takes place on July 25th in St Petersburg, just under three years before the finals, but there will be a number of teams already knocked out before that.

Asia is expected to be the first continent to have teams knocked out, having announced a first round of knock out (2 legged) matches to be played on 12/17 March. The draw is on 10 February, and the expectation is there will be six ties, reducing the Asia contingent to 40 teams for group matches. The seeded teams (Asia rank 35-40) would be India, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Cambodia, Chinese Taipei (aka Taiwan) and Timor-Leste (aka East Timor), while the non-seeded teams will be Nepal, Macau, Pakistan, Mongolia, Brunei and Bhutan.

There is a caveat, as these matches are also part of the qualification process for the 2019 Asian Cup. There is a possibility that AFC associate member North Mariana Islands could take part, although their games would not be official World Cup games. A team could be knocked out of the World Cup by North Mariana, but the Islands cannot qualify. If NMI take part, they will be unseeded and one extra seeded team, Bangladesh would be added to the draw.

The group matches in Asia's second round, (8 groups of 5 teams) start in June, so the second round draw will be in April.

Meanwhile, CONCACAF have got further ahead in the process, making their first and second round draws last week (15 January). 17 teams will be knocked out The first round draw, with the matches taking place from 23 to 31 March is
Bahamas v Bermuda
British Virgin Islands v Dominica
Barbados v US Virgin Islands
Turks and Caicos Islands v St Kitts and Nevis
Nicaragua v Anguilla
Belize v Cayman Islands
Curacao v Montserrat

The seeded teams are in bold

The second round draw, ten games to take place 8-16 June is
St. Vincent and the Grenadines v Guyana
Antigua and Barbuda v St. Lucia
Puerto Rica v Grenada
Canada v British Virgin Islands/Dominica
Dominican Republic v Belize or Cayman Islands
Guatemala v Bahamas or Bermuda
Aruba v Barbados or US Virgin Islands
Turks and Caicos or St Kitts and Nevis v El Salvador
Curacao or Montserrat v Cuba
Nigaragua or Anguilla v Suriname

The main draw in St Petersburg will set up a CONACAF third round, (10 winners from round 2 plus Jamaica and Haiti) in another knock out round, and the fourth round, (six third round winners and six byes - Costa Rica, Mexico, USA, Honduras, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago) which has a group set up


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 18 Jan 2015, 11:30 
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Mods - can this be sticky?


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 22 Jan 2015, 17:04 
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leohoenig wrote:
Mods - can this be sticky?

Done. Sorry for the delay - don't think i can do it on Tapatalk so had to wait until I remembered while logged in on a PC.


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 08 Mar 2015, 20:00 
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ON Thursday, just 1221 days from the World Cup Final, the World Cup will commence.
The first game will also be the first international in East Timor, while later in the day, Bhutan are scheduled to play their first World Cup game. If you do not think 9000 words is too many, then read more at www.leohoenig.com


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 12 Mar 2015, 19:41 
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First day results - in order

East Timor 4-1 Mongolia. First game of 2018 World Cup, First International Game to be played in East Timor. First (and second) world cup scorer is Chiqito Felipe do Carmo

Cambodia 3-0 Macau All goals in the last 30 minutes, with Chan Vathanaka steadying the home side nerves.

Sri Lanka 0-1 Bhutan Bhutan's first world cup match, and prior to this 209th in FIFA's national team rankings (out of 209). Tshering Dorji of Ugyen Academy scoring the late winner. Bhutan have never conceded a goal in a home match, (but they have played only three games).

Chinese Taipei 0-1 Brunei Brunei, who were banned from the last world cup have lost all 12 previous qualifying games. Adi Said, a member of the DPMM side that represents Brunei in the Singaporean League gets the goal.

India 2-0 Nepal Indian coach Stephen Constantine is an Englishman who has coached Nepal as well. Sunil Chettri, the best known Indian player, currently with champions Bengaluru scored both goals.

Yemen 3-1 Pakistan Security concerns means the game was switched to Qatar, but still a good win for Yemen that sets them up for the return game

It should have been next week, for the second legs when the first six teams out of 209 got knocked out, but Zimbabwe have consistently ignored a debt owed to the Brazilian coach Valinhos, who managed their team in 2008. They have not appealed against two earlier rulings from FIFA that they must pay, and also not payed, so FIFA have sanctioned them with a ban qualifying.

I guess it is possible that Zimbabwe could pay this debt and appeal before the draw on 25 July, but for moment it is
209. Zimbabwe. No games played - banned


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 12 Mar 2015, 21:26 
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why were Brunei banned Leo?


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 13 Mar 2015, 04:26 
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Ralph wrote:
why were Brunei banned Leo?

Government interference according to Wikipedia.


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 13 Mar 2015, 12:20 
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Doesn't that sort of happen with other countries too :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 17 Mar 2015, 11:54 
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208. MongoliaBY losing 1-0 at home, 5-1 on aggregate to East Timor, the Mongolians are the first to be knocked out of the World Cup on the field of play. An early goal by Patrick Alves confirms the unsurprising news.

Four more matches today, but the Pakistan v Yemen second leg has been postponed due to security fears after Sunday's Lahore bombings.


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 17 Mar 2015, 18:05 
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Further results from the day.

207. Nepal A scoreless draw means India hold their 2-0 lead from the first leg
206. Sri Lanka Sri Lanka become the first away team to score in Bhutan, but it is not enough. Two goals from Chenco Gyeltshen give Bhutan a 2-1 win, for a 3-1 aggregate and movement away from that bottom slot in the FIFA rankings
205. Macao The 3-0 defeat in Cambodia left Macao with a metaphorical mountain to climb. There are no actual mountains in Macao. Cambodia extended the lead, but a penalty allowed Macao to have a 1-1 draw on the night
204. Brunei. Chinese Taipei (aka Taiwan) turned the tie around. Brunei had won the away leg 1-0, but a goal in each half meant this was the only match where both sides won a game.


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 17 Mar 2015, 20:32 
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I love looking at these games. This is what it's all about. International park football

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 23 Mar 2015, 20:59 
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203. Pakistan Losing 3-1 to Yemen (in Qatar) in the first leg. Second leg delayed after bombings in Lahore and played in Bahrain. No goals here, so Yemen go through on aggregate.

Meanwhile, CONCACAF has started with a surprise result. A 1-0 win for the US Virgin Islands in Barbados. I was expecting Barbados to win both games and consign USVI to replace Bhutan at the bottom of the FIFA rankings in the summer. Instead Jamie Browne scored the only goal of the game in the 16th minute to set up a more interesting home leg for the American team. Browne also scored when he last played in the World Cup qualifyers, but on that occasion USVI lost 8-1 to Antigua and Barbuda

The next two games kick off at midnight (our time).
St Kitts and Nevis v Tuks and Caicos Islands, and Nicaragua v Anguilla.


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 24 Mar 2015, 07:44 
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Two more results
Nicaragua 5-0 Anguilla
St Kitts and Nevis 6-2 Turks and Caicos Islands

A partial update on Caribbean Fixtures at www.leohoenig.com


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 26 Mar 2015, 07:13 
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You have got to love the fact that Happy Hall gets sent off for the Bahamas in a 5-0 home defeat by Bermuda. I guess his name was not apposite.

Followed by a scoreless draw in Belize, where the Cayman Islands were the visitors.
Both sets of Virgin Islands, US and British playing at home tonight, as well as Turks and Caicos Islands


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 29 Mar 2015, 21:04 
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The first of the CONCACAF teams to go, I won't say nations as its
202. US Virgin Islands The US territory not being able to capitalise on their 1-0 away in Barbados. Barbados took four minutes to level the scores on aggregate, added another before half time and two more in the last fifteen minutes

201. Turks and Caicos Islands Hardly a surprise here as the British territory had already lost 6-2 in the away leg. At home, they led by 1-0 and 2-1 against St. Kitts and Nevis, both goals coming from the penalty spot, but they ended up with another 6-2 defeat

The field is now narrowed to 200, with five more dropping out in the next few days.
Other results since my last post were
Belize 0-0 Cayman Islands
British Virgin Islands 2-3 Dominica. BVI ceded home advantage,so this game was played in Dominica, with the second leg due at the same stadium. BVI did well to lead twice, Leek Town's Jordan Johnson one of the goalscorers.
and
Curacao 2-1 Montserrat.
Montserrat's goal was scored by Partick Thistle's Lyle Taylor (born in Staines)
The winning goal was scored by Felitciano Zschusschen, who had recently signed for his home team club, NAC Breda.

(reposted to correct a type)


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 29 Mar 2015, 21:06 
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200. Bahamas after the 5-0 home drubbing, Bahamas held out at 0-0 until the last ten minutes of the second leg. Two goals from Nakhi Wells (Huddersfield Town) sealed their fate.


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 30 Mar 2015, 05:50 
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199. British Virgin Islands after narrow defeat in the "home" game, BVI draw the second leg in Dominica 0-0. With the scores this close, a 3-2 aggregate, BVI should question their logic in playing away twice.

198. Anguilla No come back or surprise. Nicaragua win 3-0 in Anguilla to complete an 8-0 rout.

197. Cayman Islands After a 0-0 draw in Belize, a real chance for the Cayman Islanders, 1-0 up through a Mark Ebanks goal after five minutes. Elroy Kuylen levelled the scores and the final score was 1-1, meaning Belize carry through on away goals.

Tonight, Montserrat are at home to Curacao, trying to overturn a 2-1 deficit


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 30 Mar 2015, 16:21 
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Can we fly CBB out to help them?


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 01 Apr 2015, 07:29 
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196. Montserrat A team with many non-league players from England almost took the mighty(? :?: :?) Curacao to extra time.
The Montserrat keeper plays in Cyprus, while the team also included players listed as with Hinckley AFC, Carlisle United, QPR, Alfreton and Corby. The goalscorer from the first game plays for Partick, while the subs that came on in this game were with Lowestoft, Maidenhead and Hastings.

2-1 down from the first leg, Curacao extended the lead just before half time, through Darryl Lachman (Twente). They turn turned the game on the head as both Jamal Willer (Hastings) and Bradley Woods-Garness (Lowestoft) came off the bench and scored.

AT the end, Curacao also had a super-sub, Lachman went off and was replaced by Charlton Vicento, (Willem II) who almost immediately scored the decisive goal. 2-2 on the night. 4-3 to Curacao on aggregate


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 01 Apr 2015, 19:18 
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Love the fact they have players from the likes of Hastings in the same team as players from Twente


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 09 Jun 2015, 21:24 
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195. Indonesia Suspended by FIFA, so not opening their campaign this week. I do not believe they will be re-instated and allowed to play catch up. There have not yet been any moves to clean up the most chaotic of FIFA's 209 members.

Meanwhile, the CONCACAF second round started with a 1-0 win for Nicaragua over Suriname. There is enough to say about Suriname to be worthy of a post http://leohoenig.com/?p=1058


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 11 Jun 2015, 22:36 
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The Asian second round started with one very notable result.

Guam 1-0 Turkmenistan.
Played in front of around 3000 in the small American Island, this was Guam's first win in World Cup competition. Having said that, it was only their third game.

In November 2000, Guam were drawn to play Tajikistan and Iran, a single round robin group with all games played in Iran. They lost the first game, 19-0 to their hosts, and scarcely did better in the second, going down 16-0 to the Tajiks.

For the 2006 World Cup, they withdrew from their first round match against Nepal. Nepal actually managed to withdraw first so neither made it to the second round. In 2010, Guam withdrew again after being drawn against Indonesia,and they did not enter the 2014 competition.

The group favourites, Iran did not play today, while the other match in the group saw India lost 2-1 at home to Oman. Guam are at home again on Tuesday, against India, while Turkmenistan play Iran.

In Group A, it was injury time goals that counted. East Timor (Timor Leste) scored late to draw in Malaysia, while Palestine scored an injury time equaliser in Suadi Arabia only to lose to an even later goal. Timor Leste will be hindered in their attempts to progress, as despite playing their first ever home game in the last round, they are not staging home matches - the game against seeded team UAE on Tuesday is at Shah Alam in Malaysia, playing in the afternoon so as not to clash with Malaysia's game against Palestine.

Group B saw away wins for Kyrgyzstan in Bangladesh and Jordan in Tajikistan. Both results were 3-1. Australia will open their account in Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday.

Group C saw Hong Kong thrash Bhutan 7-0, while Qatar's winner in the Maldives was timed as the 9th minute of injury time. China travel to Bhutan on Tuesday.

Group D is Guam's group. Group E saw two easy away wins, with 63,000 watching Cambodia lose 4-0 to Singapore. A more modest, but commendable 7647 saw Syria beat Afghanistan 6-0. The game was played in Iran. Japan open against Singapore on Tuesday, while Afghanistan travel to Cambodia.

No game in Group F. On Wednesday last week, the Asian Confederation confirmed that Indonesia's suspension by FIFA means they have been disqualified. The other game in the group, Thailand 1-0 Vietnam was played last month.

Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) play Thailand on Tuesday, while Iraq do not start until September.

Laos were watched by only 1500 at home to Myanmar, they recovered from 1 down to 2-1 up thanks to two goals by Khampheg Sayavutthi i the 81st and 83rd minutes. Myanmar levelled the scored two minutes later. Kuwait won 1-0 in Lebanon, while South Korea start with a game against Myanmar on Tuesday. This will be played in Bangkok as Myanmar are banned from playing at home after crowd violence in the last World Cup.

Finally, Group H, where Yemen are another not playing at home, North Korea beat them 1-0 in Qatar. The Philippines scored an unexpected 2-1 win over Bahrain in the other game, while Uzbekistan sit on the sidelines until Tuesday's trip to Pyongjang


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 15 Jun 2015, 20:43 
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Indonesia were formerly disqualified by the Asian Confederation on June 3rd.

194. Dominican RepublicA great win for Belize to reach the third round. As noted, it too away goals to get the Belize past the Cayman Islands in round 1. Missing from that game was the country's leading goalscorer, Deon McCauley. McCauley was the joint leading scorer i qualifying for 2014, with 11 goals. A tally that put him in company with Luis Suarez and Robin van Persie.

McCauley signed for Atlanta Silverbacks in 2014, but was not retained at the end of the season. He stayed in the USA, and the Belize Football Federation said their rules prevented them paying air fare or a weekly stipend for players who did not have a club abroad.

After the first games, a fans campaign raised the $5000 required to bring him home for the second round. It immediately paid dividends, with McCauley scoring both goals in the 2-1 away win, and the final goal in second leg. So will the fans have to pay again to bring him home for the next round?

193. CubaAfter a scoreless draw, Cuba were favourites to beat Patrick Kluivert's Curacao. While the match started two hours before the game in Belize, the fact it took four hours from start to finish means the other clearly finished first.

The two hour delay was due to a thunderstorm, with lightning striking the away team dressing rooms. Before the storm, Cuba had taken an early lead through Yenier Márques Molina, and Vidarrell Merenciaof Den Haag had leveled the scores.The Cuban goalkeeper was sent off just before half time. On a muddy field, Cuba pushed hard after the break, but the score remained 1-1 and the Dutch territory went through on the away goals rule.

192. Guyana(Actually with the same kick off time as the next game, this could be 191).
While Flackwell Heath were pondering over which division to play in next season, one player was literally miles away. Gavin James spent the evening sitting on the bench for St. Vincent and the Grenadines in Georgetown, Guyana. The stadium is better known for cricket, having been built for the 2007 World Cup and having hosted two test matches.

Curiously, for a match between Caribbean nations, four of the players are playing in Finland. Cornelius Stewart and Reginald Richardson for St. Vincent, Walter Moore and Trayon Bobb (*OK, he was also on the bench) for Guyana. Guyana also had two more English non-league players on their bench, former Cheltenham loanee Sam Cox, and his current Boreham Wood team mate Ricky Shakes. Shakes played in the second half. Other British interest for Guyana included Bolton's Neil Danns, and Leicester teenager Marcel Barrington, who is listed as being booked, even though he did not come on to the field. Guyana also fielded Chris Nurse, now in the USA with Carolina Railhawks, but with a non-league career that has seen him feature for nine different teams. He has also played for five teams in American Leagues, including FC Edmonton (Canada) and Puerto Rico Islanders.

The first game had finished 2-2, if Guyana thought this gave them the edge, they soon had to think again, with St.Vincent ahead after 16 minutes, and 2-1 ahead at the break. Guyana equalised at 2-2, but then went 4-2 down. Guyana pulled back to level, but went down on the away goals rule.

191. St Lucia One would not have given much hope to St. Lucia when they decided to cede home advantage and play two games in Antigua. Both were played at another Cricket venue, the Sir Vivien Richards Stadium.

St Lucia surprised many with a 3-1 win in the first leg, technically (and importantly) the away game.

Seventy minutes into the second leg, and it still looked good, still scoreless despite Malik St. Prix receiving his second yellow card in the 32nd minute. Finally, Antigua and Barbuda made a breakthrough, the scorer being Josh Parker, a Slough born player who has been with QPR, Oldham and Oxford before heading to Slovenia with Domzale and thence to Red Star Belgrade in the last transfer window.

St Lucia suffered the second red card on 77 minutes, when Jamil Jospeh got his marching orders. The FIFA team list does not show him coming on as sub, so I am not certain if his team was reduced to nine.

However many they had on the field, they scored a few minutes later from the penalty spot through Kurt Frederick, who like Joseph and Le Prix, plays professional football in Trinidad & Tobago.

Then it all fell apart. In the 85th minute, Tevaughn Harriette pulled another back for the home team, and then three minutes into injury time, when Josh Parker scored his second.

As the two teams thought extra time was looming, up stepped another English born player. Aaron Tumwa, who is probably currently unattached due to Farnborough's financial plight, hitting the winner in the fifth minute of injury time.

190. Aruba One might think that the Usain Bolt Sports Centre would be in Jamaica. One would be wrong. The principal of the University of West Indies in Barbados defended the name as the university and venue is supposedly for the West Indies, not just Barbados.

Barbados field a side that mainly comes from the local league, although they docall on New York Cosmos goalkeeper Keasel Broome, and Wigan defender Emerson Boyce. Lancaster's Raheim Sargeant stayed on the bench. They held a 2-0 lead from the first leg in Aruba, so were confident. Even though Aruba field seven players who are based in the Netherlands, only two are in the professional leagues there.

Barbados secured passage with a 1-0 win, the goal coming 12 minutes from time.


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 16 Jun 2015, 07:27 
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189. Bermuda
Dissapointing for Bermuda, after getting a scoreless draw in the away leg. Bermuda were missing Huddersfield's Nahki Wells (injury), but played young Stoke goalkeeper Dale Eve and Mansfield's Reggie Lambe. Many of the Bermudan players play in lower leagues in the USA, but Jonte Smith is with Floy, a Norwegian second division side - he was subbed by Lejuan Simmons who has been playing for Ilkeston.

By contrast, a large portion of the Guatemala side plays in the local professional league, with a smattering of more distant souls, including goalkeeper Ricardo Jerez who plays in Columbia, three players in the MLS and the only goalscorer in the tie's two games, Stefano Cincotta of Chemnitzer (3. Liga Germany)


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 17 Jun 2015, 07:26 
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Pushed for time this morning, but four more went down last night.

188. Suriname
The politically challenged team (see my blog on the fact they do not select from Netherlands Leagues) scored an early goal to level the aggregated scores, but the conceded three, with Roxey Fer sent off close to the end.

187. Puerto Rico
The American territory could not copy the heroics of Guam, 1-0 up from the first leg, the scores were leveled by an own goal.Jamal Charles gets the winner for Grenada about ten minutes from time.

186. Dominica
Dominica were 2-0 down from the first leg, and let in two more goals in each half to make up a 6-0 aggregate. With a team now anchored in American Leagues (especially the Canadian teams), and a fair scattering in Europe, Canada may well do better this time than in recent competition

185. St. Kitts & Nevis
Any hope that the visitors could build on a 2-2 home win were dashed when El Salvador scored in the second minute. Three more in the second half plus one for St. Kitts means an aggregate of 6-3


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 06 Jul 2015, 21:26 
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190. Barbados
Originally shown as Aruba, after a 3-0 aggregate defeat. Barbados goalscorer Hadan Holligan was cautioned both in the first leg, and in their previous game, against the US Virgin Islands.
The sanction is that the game was awarded to Aruba by 3-0, giving then a 3-2 aggregate win.

Similarly, Yemen's 1-0 defeat by North Korea has been awarded as a 3-0 defeat, Mudir Abdurabu Ali Al Radaei was booked in both the games against Pakistan, and should have sat this one out. He was booked against North Korea as well, but at least did not play the next game, which Yemen lost 2-0 to the Philippines.


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 10 Jul 2015, 19:35 
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saw a great documentary called "Next goal wins" about the American Samoa team trying to qualify for Brazil when they were the worst team in the world rankings and had been tonked 34-0 by the Aussies. They brought a dutch coach in and .. stories in the documentary.. good viewing if you see it


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 25 Jul 2015, 00:03 
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The draw in this Saturday (25 July).

Some discussion of rankings, showing the Welsh advantage in suddenly being declared 10th in the World can be found on my recent blog at http://leohoenig.com/?p=1060
Current fifa ranks http://www.fifa.com/...table/men/index.html

The thread above shows how 25 teams have been knocked out of the competition even before the draw, (23 in match play, Indonesia and Zimbabwe due to suspension from FIFA).

The limitations of the draw have already been imposed by FIFA rules. Within those, the draw itself is fair. Too many people are involved for a conspiracy to be effective.

FIFA would in fact prefer all six of the nations regarded by UEFA to be the big TV audiences to qualify. (England, Netherlands, France, Italy, Germany and Spain), but they are hampered by their own rankings and cannot prevent France and Italy being in the same group as others from the sextet. UEFA, who control the TV rights for qualification may prefer it if two of these six met in qualifying.

Asia Six countries were knocked out in an initial knock out round. With the exception of Indonesia (disqualified), the remaining 40 teams are in eight groups of four or five. The eight group winners and four best runners up play in two groups of six and also qualify automatically for the next Asian Cup. The top two from each group make it to the finals, and will have played 18 games in most cases.

As the third placed team in each group plays off (two legs), for a place in a two legged inter-continental play off, and taking the first knock out into account, it is possible that a team plays 24 matches in qualifying.

The second round in Asia has started, so they are not directly involved in the draw

Africa 54 countries, but Zimbabwe disqualified. Two knock out rounds will reduce numbers to 20, followed by five groups of four, with the group winners qualifying. That means only 8 or 10 matches required

CONCACAF 35 countries. Two knock out rounds have knocked out 17 teams already. 12 teams will be involved in a third knock out round, with only 12 reaching group stages, and six of these have played no knock out games. The six are Costa Rica, Mexico, USA, Honduras, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago.

The fourth round is three groups of four. The fifth and final round is one group of six. Hence a minimum of 16 games for teams to qualify. Fourth place in the final group goes into the intercontinental stage, which in theory means a maximum of 24 games.

CONMEBOL 10 countries in a straight league table. 18 games, with an extra two in intercontinental games for the country finishing 5th. The draw decides the match order.

Oceania 11 countries. Four will play in a single venue event - this should be on Tonga starting 31 August. The other three countries will be American Samoa, Samoa and the Cook Islands.

The winners join the other seven nations in the OFC Nations cup 2016, again in a single country (but as yet unnamed). This starts with two groups of four, and is scheduled to start on 28 May 2016.

All but the group losers from the 2016 tourney then play in two home and away groups, with the two group winners meeting, and the winner of this goes into the intercontinental play-offs.

That means the team playing the final matches will probably play 11 games, but could conceivably play 14. The knock out matches of the OFC Nations cup do not double up as World Cup games, even though the group games do.

UEFA 53 countries, of which Russia qualify automatically as hosts. A group winner from a group of five gets to the finals after eight games. Playing in a group of six, and then the play off brings a team's match total to 12.

The numbers qualifying for each confederation is unchanged. (Number after + sign indicates a team in the inter continental play offs)

Asia 4+1, Africa 5, CONCACAF 3+1, CONMEBOL 4+1, UEFA 13, Oceania 0+1.
This adds up to 29+4, with the hosts making up to 32 in the finals.


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 26 Jul 2015, 20:28 
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Comments on the draw, and the unevenness of FIFA rankings, including stats that suggest England's group isn't as easy as some say are on the blog at http://leohoenig.com/?p=1062


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 02 Sep 2015, 16:13 
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184. Tonga
Despite enjoying home advantage in the single venue group, Tonga have lost both their opening matches - to the Cook Islands and Samoa and hence are out. The Cook Islands, under the influence of Welsh Coach Drew Sherman beat Tonga 3-0, and have gone on to beat Samoa by 1-0. Taylor Saghabi has scored all their goals to join Sunil Chhetri of India as the leading goalscorer. Tonga now only need to draw against American Samoa on Friday reach the next round.
American Samoa lost their first match against Samoa by 3-2 - a recovery of sorts as they were 3-0 down on 30 minutes. They then came back again after conceding at the start of the second half against Tonga. The US territory being 2-1 up within minutes of being 1-0 down.

If the Cook Islands lose to American Samoa, then goal difference and goals scored sort out the placings. If Samoa beat Tonga at the same time (played on pitch 2, but at the same venue), then it would be a three way tie. To date, the Cook Islands goal difference is +4, with both Samoa teams on zero, although the Americans have scored four to Samoa's three.


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 03 Sep 2015, 06:13 
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184. Tonga
Despite enjoying home advantage in the single venue group, Tonga have lost both their opening matches - to the Cook Islands and American Samoa and hence are out. The Cook Islands, under the influence of Welsh Coach Drew Sherman beat Tonga 3-0, and have gone on to beat Samoa by 1-0. Taylor Saghabi has scored all their goals to join Sunil Chhetri of India as the leading goalscorer. The Cook Islands now only need to draw against American Samoa on Friday reach the next round.
American Samoa lost their first match against Samoa by 3-2 - a recovery of sorts as they were 3-0 down on 30 minutes. They then came back again after conceding at the start of the second half against Tonga. The US territory being 2-1 up within minutes of being 1-0 down.

If the Cook Islands lose to American Samoa, then goal difference and goals scored sort out the placings. If Samoa beat Tonga at the same time (played on pitch 2, but at the same venue), then it would be a three way tie. To date, the Cook Islands goal difference is +4, with both Samoa teams on zero, although the Americans have scored four to Samoa's three.


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 04 Sep 2015, 07:01 
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183. Cook Islands
182. American Samoa


Actually, then end for this pair was simultaneous, with the final whistle of the game producing the double knock out blow.

The match schedule was changed, and instead of kicking off together, Tonga played Samoa first with the Cook Islands against American Samoa following. The hosts, Tonga were already eliminated, so it was up to Samoa to set targets for the second game. An early goal from Andrew Mobberley set them on their way, and a second followed with John Hall scoring midway through the half. There is some resistance, and despite pressure, Samoa do not score again until the 77th minute, with John Hall again on target.

The result meant that the Cook Islands still needed a draw in the last game - a single goal defeat was only enough if they scored three of more goals. (A 2-3 defeat would mean drawing lots for a place in the next round). American Samoa needed to win, and by three clear goals. At half time, it is still 0-0, but then American Samoa take control and score in the 58th and 67th minute. Now the Americans need one more goal, while the Cook Islands need two - but none are forthcoming and so Samoa go through


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 06 Sep 2015, 16:42 
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World Cup qualification has been continuing in Asia and CONCACAF. The third series of Asian matches took place on Thursday with a further set of fixtures next Tuesday. There were some serious mis-matches as top seeded teams took on the bottom seeds, but it has helped the group tables to take shape. We may see some teams confirming exit from the competition next month when the half way mark is passed. There are pairs of fixtures dates in October and November this year, and then the final set in March next year.

Only twelve of the 40 teams in the current stage make it through to the next one, which means that a team needs to win the group to be certain of progressing. The terms who finish second have the lottery of comparative performance with a 50% chance of going through (and no play off)

In group A, UAE (at home to Malaysia), and Saudi Arabia (at home to Timor Leste) ran up big scores as each won their second game (of two). The two losers have played three games each, and have one point each thanks to their meeting in Kuala Lumpur on day 1.
Palestine sat out the day, coming back into the action next week, when they are at home to UAE - their first home game. Mohammed Al-Sahlawi became the leading scorer in this World Cup to date, with his hat-trick in Saudi's 7-0 win. He already had a brace, including the late winner against Palestine. For the UAE, Ahmed Khalil Al-Junaibi scored four of the ten goal haul.

Around 19.500 watched Australia put five past Bangladesh in Perth, while Jordan were held to a scoreless draw by Kyrgyzstan. Tajikistan, who sat out the day are at home to Australia on Tuesday. The Aussies have made a solid start with two wins.

Group C saw a bit of a surprise, with China being held scoreless by the territory of Hong Kong. The match was held in the border town of Shenzhen, (the equivalent of switching an England game to Bristol if Wales were the opponents). 26,000 were in attendance, whereas only 2000 saw Qatar beat Bhutan 15-0. (In true teletype tradition, lets spell that out. F-i-f-t-e-e-n). Bhutan have gained no points from three games, with 28 goals conceded, so will be pleased to sit out next week's round. The Maldives are also pointless, having sat out the day. They should be at home to China on Tuesday, but the game has been switched to Shenyang in China. With two wins (both at home) and a draw (a few miles from home), Hong Kong lead the group on 7 points, Qatar have won both games, while China's tradition of failing to get onto the big stage is still holding true. Hong Kong, China and Qatar all have no goals conceded, while Bhutan and Maldives have not scored!

Guam's surprising two home wins in the early matches have been put into perspective by their first road trip, as they went down 6-0 in Iran. They are at home again next week when they face Oman - the Omanis recorded their second win by beating Turkmenistan 3-1. India sat the games out, and will try again to get some points on the board when they face Iran in Banglalore on Tuesday.

The security situation (there is a war going on, in case you had not noticed) means Syria decamped to Oman for their home game against Singapore. Only 100 saw them win 1-0. By contrast, nearly 55,000 saw Japan beat Cambodia 3-0, the three goalscorers all play in Europe - Honda (Milan), Yoshida (Southampton) and Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund). Afghanistan sat the day out - there "home" match against Japan on Tuesday is to be played in Iran. Cambodia, pointless after three games play at home to Syria.

Group F is lop-sided thanks to Indonesia's expulsion from competition. The match played saw Chinese Taipei (aka Taiwan), lose 5-1 to Iraq. The game was played in Iran, which seems a surprising place to switch Iraq's game to. Iraq's other two home games, both scheduled for March are also to be played in Tehran. This was Iraq's first game, while Thailand have won two. Taiwan have lost twice, while Vietnam have lost their only game to date. All four play on Tuesday, with Iraq travelling to Bangkok and the others meeting in Taipei.

IN Group G, 30,000 watch South Korea beat Laos 8-0, but only 550 saw Kuwait beat Myanmar by 9-0. The later game was played in Qatar, although the wikipedia page says this is for "unspecified reasons". Both South Korea and Kuwait have won both games to date, South Korea travel to Lebanon in mid-week while Kuwait are in Laos. Lebanon have won one and lost one to date, while Myanmar and Laos drew their meeting on the first day

Finally, Group H also sees a Korean team in the lead - this being North Korea. Their 1-0 win in Bahrain precedes missing out on playing next week, but they have nine points from three games, the Philippines, who sat out last week also have a 100% record from their two games. The are at home to Uzbekistan on Tuesday. The Uzbeks did not play on the opening day, and then lost in Pyongyang. They got a less than convincing 1-0 win over Yemen, and need to get something from the trip next week to get back on track. Yemen, playing home games in Qatar have lost three times and play Bahrain on Tuesday

I'll say more about CONCACAF next week, when second legs sees six teams knocked out. There was one stand out result from the first legs, as Jamaica lost at home to Nicaragua. The Jamaican team is made up mainly from players in the MLS, but also includes Adrian Mariappa (Crystal Palace), Simon Dawkins (Derby) and former Cheltenham loanee Michael Hector. They were 2-0 down in 8 minutes, which was increased to three just after half time, but they recovered to 3-2 which at least means they have a chance in the second leg.


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 08 Sep 2015, 18:55 
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We reach the half way stage in Asia with the first set of fixtures in October - and generally this sees the top seeds play each other. The teams that completed their first half today (i.e. have played four games) are the lowest seeds in the rankings as drawn.

Of these, the first up was Guam - one of those who have beaten the seedings after winning their first two games (both at home). They drew scoreless with Oman, and so are unbeaten in the three home game. Still, less than 3,000 saw the game - it appears their small dreams were shattered by the 6-0 defeat in Tehran last week. Iran themselves faced India in Bangalore, and ran out 3-0 winners. This means that Iran, Oman and Guam all have seven points, with Oman at home to Iran next month. India have lost three out of three, and travel to Turkmenistan (one point to date) for their fourth game

The other "bottom" seed to have a good start are Hong Kong. However, they could not repeat their success from he game against China, playing at home to Qatar. Qatar won their third game, being 3-0 up with five minutes to play but in the end holding on to a 3-2 win. China recovered with a 3-0 win - an away match against the Maldives but played at home. Qatar have nine points and play at home to China (the top seed) in the next game. China, like Hong Kong have seven points. Bhutan play at home to the Maldives next month, when one or both of them pick up their first points.

No surprises in Group B, Australia and Jordan both winning comfortably away before their meeting in Jordan next month. The Australians have won all three, while Jordan have two wins, but were held last week by Kyrgyzstan. Bangladesh and Tajikistan have just one point each, from their meeting in June. Bangladesh are the lowest seeds, and have reached the half way mark, while Tajikistan play Kyrgyzstan (4 points) away next month

Cambodia lost their fourth successive game, 0-6 at home to Syria - clearly happy to forget the troubles at home. The top seed in the group, Japan matched this with a 6-0 away win against Afghanistan (in Iran). Next month they play the away game against Syria, although this is in Oman. Japan are not 100% as they were held at home by Singapore. This means Singapore have a point advantage on Afghanistan ahead of their meeting in Singapore.

In Group F, where Indonesia's disqualification means there are only four teams, Chinese Taipei lost at home to Vietnam, and so have not secured a point in the first half of the campaign. Thailand came back from 2-0 down to draw with Iraq, and top the group. The Thais, however have reached the half way stage with seven points from three games. Iraq have four points, Vietnam three - and they meet in Vietnam next month.

Group G saw South Korea win 3-0 in Lebanon, while Kuwait won 2-0 in Laos. Both have nine points from three games, with Kuwait staging next month's meeting. Laos have one point from four games, gained in the first game when they were at home to Myanmar. It is also Myanmar's only point, although they still have one game to reach half way, at home to Lebanon (3 points) next month.

At the time of writing, Yemen have not lost to Bahrain, but they are 4-0 down, so I am confident they will reach half way without a point, while Bahrain's only points in three games come today. Uzbekistan won by 5-1 in the Philippines today, while group leaders North Korea sat the day out. North Korea have won all three games, and are at home to Philippines next month. The Philippines had won twice before today's heavy defeat. Bahrain are second seeds and therefore play at home to Uzbekistan next month.

I have left group A to last. Top seeds, UAE were held to a scoreless draw in Palestine, and travel to Saudi Arabia next month with seven points from three games. Saudi Arabia have six points from only two games. It will almost certainly be nine points before the next game. Malaysia were 2-1 down to Saudi Arabia with only minutes to play when the game was abandoned due to crowd violence. The protest was not so much over this game, but at their own FA with Malaysia (bottom seeds in the group) suffering the indignity of a 10-0 defeat in UAE last week. Almost certainly, Saudi Arabia will be awarded a 3-0 win, while Malaysia should find a delay before their next home game. Malaysia do have a point from their first day match against Timor Leste, while the East Timorese also on one point play Palestine (four points) at home next month.


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 Post subject: Re: 209 to One - the Countdown to the 2018 World Cup.
 Post Posted: 09 Sep 2015, 07:18 
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181. Grenada
Having won 3-1 in the away leg, Haiti had no problems in getting through, with a 3-0 win at home, 6-1 aggregate

180. Aruba
Aruba were 2-0 from the away leg, in St. Vincent & The Grenadines, but two goals from Erixon Danso, at the start of each half had brought the scores level. An 84th minute goal by Tevin Slater pushed St.Vincent through

179. Belize
No coming back from a 3-0 defeat in Toronto. Belize did take the lead through Deon McCaulay, but Canada leveled by half time, and no goals were added in the second half

178. Nicaragua
Nicaragua won 3-2 in Jamaica. Darren Mattocks scored early to level the aggregate, but Nicaragua continued to lead on away goals until the 90th minute when Derby County's Simon Dawkins scored the winner

177. Curacao
Lost 1-0 in each leg against El Salvador

176.Antigua and Barbuda
A&B went to Guatemala to defend a 1-0 lead. Two goals in the second half meant they didn't do it.


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