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 Post subject: 211 to One - Countdown to the 2022 World Cup
 Post Posted: 17 Apr 2019, 12:27 
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Despite the number of teams to play in the finals in 2022 still being up for a vote at the next FIFA meeting, (June 5th), the draw has been made for the first round of Asian Qualification, to be played on June 6th and 11th.

The first two rounds of Asian Qualification are also used in qualification for the 2023 Asian Cup. No decision has yet been reached as to the venue of the latter competition, with the two bidders being China and South Korea.

Timor Leste are banned from Asian Cup 2023 for their ineligible players in the last World/Asian Cup qualifications, but FIFA did not extend the ban to the World Cup. They are therefore included in the draw

Qatar need to qualify for the next Asian Cup, so they will be in the second round draw, as will China and South Korea (for World Cup qualification) while one will host the Asian Cup

The draw is
Mongolia v Brunei
Macau v Sri Lanka
Laos v Bangladesh
Malaysia v Timor Leste
Cambodia v Pakistan and
Bhutan v Guam

The draw is seeded, with the higher seeded teams shown first (so I assume home in the first leg). Guam are the team most likely to beat the seeding.


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 Post subject: Re: 211 to One - Countdown to the 2022 World Cup
 Post Posted: 06 Jun 2019, 09:25 
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The first match of qualification for World Cup 2022 starts less than an hour after I post this.

The match is Mongolia v Brunei.
Mongolian coach Michael Weiss appears to be preparing excuses early, saying that Brunei are a good team, that playing away in a humid country for the second leg does not suit and that Brunei include two Singaporeans in the squad.

Brunei, under coach Robert Servais appear to have bigger problems, as it is reported that no less than nine players, all members of the DPMM team have pulled out of his squad.

In the last four World Cups, Mongolia have lost out at this first stage in a two legged game. Brunei have played in only one of those four competitions, not entering for 2006 or 2010 and suspended by FIFA for 2014. Last time out, they also lost in the first round


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 Post subject: Re: 211 to One - Countdown to the 2022 World Cup
 Post Posted: 06 Jun 2019, 12:14 
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The first match ended Mongolia 2-0 Brunei
The first goalscorer was Norjmoogiin Tsedenbal, who plays for Ulanbaatar City, current league leaders in Mongolia
As second goal was added by Naranbold Nyam-Osor.

Four more games later today, and one tomorrow
Second legs are on Tuesday, when the number of teams in the World Cup reduced from 211 to 205!


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 Post subject: Re: 211 to One - Countdown to the 2022 World Cup
 Post Posted: 06 Jun 2019, 15:24 
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Today's other results
Cambodia 2-0 Pakistan: Late goals from Sieng Chanthea and Sokumpheak Kouch - looks like a big turnover of players in Cambodia. Only 3 of the players I saw for them in September 2017 played in this game

Laos 0-1 Bangladesh: Goal on 67 minutes from substitute Robiul Hasan - Hasan plays for Arambagh and does not have his 20th birthday until later this month

Macau 1-0 Sri Lanka: Played in China, as the Macau stadium is under renovation (probably so some Premier League side can play there next month). Filipe Duarte scored early in the second half. Duarte is a Benfica player, and veteran of the squad at 34. OK then, Benfica de Macau if you want to be accurate.

Bhutan 1-0 Guam: Tshering Dorji scoring in the first half - as the return leg kicks off early (by UK time), one of these two teams will have the "honour" (or honor it is Guam) of being the first team to be knocked out of the 2022 World Cup


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 Post subject: Re: 211 to One - Countdown to the 2022 World Cup
 Post Posted: 07 Jun 2019, 16:22 
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Malaysia beat Timor Leste 7-1

Timor Leste (aka East Timor) are not finding life easy since they have been told they cannot sign 12 random Brazilians* to play for them.

Because of the ineligible players, they are actually banned from the Asian Cup, but not the World Cup. The officials concerned with bringing the players in were tried in local court as well as sporting sanctions, as they used falsified documents to gain nationality.

Meanwhile, with the second leg on Tuesday also to be played in Malaysia, I think we will wave goodbye to East Timor until the next World Cup

*It is possible that not all the 12 ineligible players were Brazilian


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 Post subject: Re: 211 to One - Countdown to the 2022 World Cup
 Post Posted: 08 Jun 2019, 15:42 
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Macau are refusing to travel to Sri Lanka for the second leg of their tie, citing the terrorist attack at Easter, and saying they are afraid for their security
Considering that FIFA and the AFC have not already moved it (and assuming Macau are accurate in stating they asked for a change a month ago), then we can expect the match to be forfeit - awarded 3-0 to Sri Lanka who then go through


As it happens, the FCO downgraded its advice to British citizens from avoiding travel to the island, to exercising caution while there.


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 Post subject: Re: 211 to One - Countdown to the 2022 World Cup
 Post Posted: 09 Jun 2019, 10:14 
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A message, reportedly signed by the full Macau squad and a large number of youth players has stated that they want to play in Sri Lanka on Tuesday and asked the FA to change its tune. This may allow the AFC to permit the match to go ahead at a later date.

Meanwhile, here is a summary of what to expect in the qualifying process

With the 2022 World Cup to be played later in the year, the dates available for qualifying games are changing.

As FIFA has given up on increasing the number of teams in the competition, the number of places for each confederation remains unchanged

That is
AFC (Asia): 4.5+Qatar
CAF (Africa): 5
CONCACAF: (N/C America + Caribbean): 3.5
CONMEBOL (S. America): 4.5
OFC (Oceania): 0.5
UEFA (Europe inc Israel and Kazakhstan): 13

".5" indicates a place in intercontinental play-offs

Expectation is that similar qualifying formats will be used to those for 2018, except changes in UEFA (small) and CONCACAF (major)

CAF - last time around, two rounds of knock out matches to reduce numbers to 20, then five groups of four with the top of each group qualifying. How this will fit in with a CAF Nations League remains to be seen. For that matter, whether or not the Nations League starts in Autumn 2019 is still open to conjecture

OFC - last time around, a preliminary round in a single venue followed by 8 teams playing the "OFC Nations League" in a single country. This was followed by two groups of three (home and away) and a final (home and away). It could be simplified depending on whether the countries still want a Nations League now it is not required as qualification for the Confederations Cup

CONMEBOL - have confirmed a home and away league for all ten members.

AFC - The formula appears to be the same as last time. The two legged ties this week reduce the field to 40 teams in 8 groups of 5, from which 12 teams make it to the next round. Qatar are included, despite being automatically included as this also qualifies for AFC 2023 in China. The final 12 play off in two groups of six for places in 2022. These are exempt from further qualification for 2023. If Qatar makes the 12 it is not clear whether they will play on, or give up their place to team 13. If they fail to make the 12, then they have to play on (in the lower groups) for a place at China 2023. Expect both China and Qatar to make the final 12.

CONCACAF - have yet to announce a revised format. This needs to fit in with the new CONCACAF Nations League which is expected to use the Autumn international dates this year.

UEFA - Certain to use a group format with ten groups of 5/6 teams playing through 2021. The Autumn 2020 dates will be used for the second edition of the Nations League with the final four play-off in Summer 2021, (the teams concerned playing in five team groups). The most likely further scenario I have seen is that the ten group runners-up and top two unqualified teams from Nations League will play in three separate knock out series in March 2022 for the final three places in Qatar.


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 Post subject: Re: 211 to One - Countdown to the 2022 World Cup
 Post Posted: 11 Jun 2019, 15:04 
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211. Bhutan

The first contender to be knocked out of competition for the 2022 World Cup is Bhutan, by virtue of being in the first match to complete it's second leg. The winners of the tie were Guam, who despite being 1-0 down from the first leg, cruised to a five goal win in the return. Hero was veteran Jason Cunliffe who scored a hat-trick. Working on wiki for detail, the Guam side does remain mainly on Guam born players (and those playing in the territory). I make it that four players play in the USA or Canada at the moment, and these four players are the ones listed as born in the USA or Jamaica.

There are four more matches today, and then the Sri Lanka v Macau result to be relayed by an AFC/FIFA decision.
The Macau players have been up in arms over their football association's decision not to travel and there has been much accusation, mainly centered on whether the FA had been lax in failing to insure the trip, with many players saying they would travel without insurance!

Almost the entirity of Macau's senior and youth squads have said they will no longer play for their country as a result.


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 Post subject: Re: 211 to One - Countdown to the 2022 World Cup
 Post Posted: 11 Jun 2019, 16:49 
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210. Brunei
2-0 down from the first leg in Mongolia, Brunei found hope in the first half of their game, and by the break, scores were level. Mongolia won a penalty at the start of the second period which as converted by Norjmoogiin Tsedenbal, (who already had scored the first goal of this World Cup). No further score, so Mongolia progress. Brunei were troubled by a number of players, all from the country's one professional club being missing from the squad. DPMM are current leaders of the Singapore League - checking the players in each game suggests that half the team were actually DPMM players with half from the local amateur league.

209. Timor Leste
No surprise here. Timor Leste were not playing in Dili and had to return to play a second leg at the Bukit Jalil stadium where they had lost 7-1 on Friday. This time they went down 5-1

208. Laos
The Laotians had lost their home leg by 1-0, so may see the scoreless second leg to be a credible result, but still enough to see Bangladesh through to the next round


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 Post subject: Re: 211 to One - Countdown to the 2022 World Cup
 Post Posted: 11 Jun 2019, 18:16 
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leohoenig wrote:
210. Brunei


Damn.

[Tears up sweepstake ticket]


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 Post subject: Re: 211 to One - Countdown to the 2022 World Cup
 Post Posted: 11 Jun 2019, 20:50 
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207. Pakistan.
Another team that cannot play at home for security reasons, and so this match was played in front of 300 people in Qatar. I am sure that Qatar has a quite large migrant Pakistani population, but it seems they cannot get to the game, (or do not care for it). 2-0 down from the away leg, Pakistan did pull back the deficit with a first half penalty, but then conceded two in the second period to go out by 4-1 on aggregate.

Attendances:
Pakistan: 300 (in Qatar)
Macau: 901 (in Zhuhai, China - which is about 10km from downtown Macau)
Guam: 1,029
Mongolia: 1,685
Malaysia: 4,244
Laos: 4,572
Bangladesh: 7,453
Bhutan: 8,000
Timor Leste: 12,776 (in Malaysia) - note same location as first leg which drew only 4,244
Brunei: 17,210 (4% of the population)
Cambodia: 33,706


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 Post subject: Re: 211 to One - Countdown to the 2022 World Cup
 Post Posted: 12 Jun 2019, 17:01 
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 Post subject: Re: 211 to One - Countdown to the 2022 World Cup
 Post Posted: 28 Jun 2019, 21:54 
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Unsurprisingly, FIFA have awarded the tie that Macau did not turn up for as 3-0 to Sri Lanka, hence Sri Lanka progress to next month's draw and it is

206. Macau


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 Post subject: Re: 211 to One - Countdown to the 2022 World Cup
 Post Posted: 16 Jul 2019, 19:33 
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The next preliminary draw for Qatar 2022 takes place on July 17, but it appears there is uncertainty over the systems to be used for qualifying, meaning no grand draw. FIFA themselves appear not even to know who is entered into the competition. If you look at the list of competing nations on their web site, the numbers for four of the confederations include teams that are not FIFA members, and therefore and not eligible to play in the World Cup. The CONCACAF page even includes a team not affiliated to CONCACAF, and mentions another (non-FIFA member) twice.

The one area where it is clear what is happening and when is Asia. They have already played one knock out round, reducing the numbers from 46 to 40. Tomorrow’s draw will divide these into eight groups of five teams each, playing in groups that will finish next June.

After that, the eight group winners and four “best” runners-up will go into the third round, played as two groups of six. This dozen is automatically qualified for the 2023 Asian Cup in China, as well as continuing their World Cup odyssey. There is still some room for complication, which concerns the hosts of the two competitions.

Should Qatar finish in the “Top 12”, as expected, then it is uncertain if they will continue to play in what are only World Cup matches, as they will have already qualified. In this case, a 13th place team may be invited to take their place, (and reducing the number of other places available in the Asian Cup). Similarly, should China not make the “Top 12”, they are not required to carry on qualifying for the Asian Cup and will almost certainly take that option to avoid further embarrassment.

Two confederations, OFC and UEFA have not made any announcement of the format of their competitions. The OFC are liable to use a similar system to that in the past, with an early round (or two) of single venue groups, followed by a home and away group (or two).

UEFA will play their second edition of the Nations League in the autumn of 2020, so World Cup qualifying will not start until March 2021. There is certain to be ten groups of five or six teams, and as for the 2020 Euros, the four Nations League finalists will be excused from six team groups in order to play the finals. The most likely format is that the ten runners-up from the groups and two teams selected by their Nations League rankings will then play off over two rounds for the final three slots in Qatar

Africa has announced its format, but not the dates. There will be ten groups of four teams at their group stage, so the First Round will be a direct knock out to reduce numbers from 54 to 40. They will then have a final play off between the ten group winners. This means that more teams are getting to play group matches, so more experience for more players – but whether this can arrest the decline in the continent’s fortunes compared to previous Cups remains to be seen.

In South America, there is no change to the format – they remain with the single group, 18 games each for their ten teams. The games will start in March 2020 and run through to November 2021

CONCACAF has announced the biggest change to qualifying, which enables them to give more matches to more teams, while reducing the length of their qualifying tournament. They commence their version of the Nations League this autumn, and hence will not start their World Cup qualifying campaigns until September 2020. The old system was a long-winded process of knock out and group matches finishing with the “Hex”, where six teams have won through to the final group which decided who made it to the finals.
The “Hex” remains, but teams will be selected for this, based on 2020 rankings, which means the Nations League will have a large input into finding these six. The remaining 29 teams will be placed into 8 groups of three or four teams, with knock out matches only after these have been completed. One team will come through these group matches and three following knock-out rounds, (each two legs). This team will then play the one that finished fourth in the “Hex”, (the three above having directly qualified for the finals). The winner of that match will then play in the intercontinental play-off.

This schedule, and the introduction of the Nations League means we have seen the last of the Copa Centroamericana and the Caribbean Cup last used in 2017 as a qualification route for the Gold Cup. How qualification for the 2021 Gold Cup is won has yet to be announced, but it is sure to be based on the 2019 Nations League and the World Cup qualification procedure.


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 Post subject: Re: 211 to One - Countdown to the 2022 World Cup
 Post Posted: 09 Sep 2019, 07:40 
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205. Lesotho
The first African country to make its exit, goes out on away goals, having drawn 0-0 in Ethiopia, before a 51st minute goal by Nkau Lerotholi gave broke the deadlock in the second leg. To make matters worse for the home team, this was an own goal and despite the scores finishing level, this was enough to see Lesotho out


204. Burundi
Kicking off at the same time at Lesotho v Ethiopia, Tanzania had the advantage of an away goal from a 1-1 draw in the first leg. They went ahead midway through the first half only for Burundi to level just before the break. No goals in the second half, nor extra-time, but a 3-0 win for the home side on penalties.

Burundi changed goalkeepers in the final minute of extra time as well, to no avail


203. South Sudan
After a 1-1 draw in South Sudan, a single goal was enough to push Equatorial Guineau into the group stage

202. Sierra Leone

Liberia had won their home leg by 3-1, so a 1-0 win was not enough to propel Sierra Leone onwards

Ten more to drop out on Tuesday, plus another round in Asia, incuding Qatar v India


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 Post subject: Re: 211 to One - Countdown to the 2022 World Cup
 Post Posted: 19 Nov 2019, 19:05 
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This has been left behind a little, so here are the numbers from September 10.

201. Botswana
A penalty goal ten minutes from time gives Malawi the win, 1-0 on aggregate over two games

200. Eswantini
No goals in the second leg here, so Djibouti's 2-1 win in their home leg sees them through to the group stage

199. Somalia
Somalia held onto their 1-0 lead from the first leg until the 77th minute, and then went back ahead on aggregate when Omar Mohamed scored in the 85th, but two late goals, from Admiral Muskwe and Khama Billiat turned the tie and sent Zimbabwe into the group stage. The first Zimbabwe goal was scored by Marshall Munetsi, but I believe these are names, not ranks

198. Mauritius
A straight forward progression for Mozambique, who won 1-0 away, and then 2-0 at home to move through

197. Gambia
Angola also won both legs of their tie to go through, 1-0 away and then 2-1 in Luanda

196. Comoros
After a 1-1 draw, an own goal set Togo on their way early in the second leg, another goal midway through the second half completed the scring

195. Seychelles
In the most one sided of the games, Rwanda cruised through 7-0 at home, and 10-0 on aggregate

194. Sao Tome e Principe

I like the fact that Sao Tome e Principe name both Iniesta and Pogba in the line up. This did not stop them losing 1-0 at home to Guinea-Bissau. It was Iniesta that gave them hope with a goal in the 11th minute to level on aggregate, but two goals in the second period from Ajaccio's Joseph Mendes turned the match in favour of Guinea-Bissau

193. Eritrea
Another comfortable one, with Namibia winning in each leg, to secure a 4-1 aggregate win

192. Chad
Sudan could not add to the 3-1 lead they had built up in the first leg, but of course 0-0 today took them through


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 Post subject: Re: 211 to One - Countdown to the 2022 World Cup
 Post Posted: 19 Nov 2019, 19:06 
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And onto today, where they were back in action in Asia and we lost four more.

191. Sri Lanka will have to save their hopes for Cricket for the next few years as they become the 21st team knocked out of the World Cup. Alhough a 2-0 defeat in Turkmenistan left them only nine points behind the current group leaders, (with nine points more possible), the number of games between the leaders, South Korea (8 points), Lebanon and North Korea (7 points each) means it is not possible for three out of four to not reach the ten point mark. In all probability this evening's game, Lebanon v North Korea will send one team to that mark.

A good crowd, 26,304 in Ashgabat for the Turkmenistan game, but this was dwarfed by the 75,000 that saw Malaysia play Indonesia in Kuala Lumpur. The same group also boasted 40,000 for Vietnam v Thailand. No goals in Hanoi, but Safawi got one in each half for Malaysia which means that

190. Indonesia having like Sri Lanka lost five out of five, cannot qualify.

Then, as a consequence of other results as well as their own failings

189. Guam.
This is compex, as I believe Guam can still finish second in their group - however in at least five groups the second placed team must end up with ten or more points and hence even in the unlikely event of Guam and Syria winning all remaining games, the other games all ending in draws and Guam scoring a hat full of goals, they still cannot make it to the next round.

And then, after a few minutes wait after typing the above

188. Chinese Taipei.
Simpler here for the Chinese island, who fall by 5-0 in Jordan and remain without a point. They can only finish fourth or fifth in the group


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