2014 FIFA World Cup Qualification Criteria
The build up for the 2014 World Cup, in Brazil is heating up. While Brazil is leaving no stone unturned to complete all the renovations and construction of stadiums in time for the mega event, the rest of the world is busy trying to make the cut by giving their best in the World Cup Qualifiers.
With the draws for the next round of World Cup qualifiers slated to take place tonight in Rio De Janeiro, SportsKeeda takes a look at each of FIFA’s six confederations and how their qualifiers are being played.
With two confederations AFC and CONMEBOL already having played two and one rounds respectively with more than half the contenders eliminated, about 175 countries from all over the world are still vying for the 31 spots available for the final round while one spot goes to host Brazil.
AFC (ASIA): 4 or 5 Places
43 out of the 46 Asian countries took part in the competition, that began with the first round in which the bottom 16 teams participated to qualify for the second round. The Winners were determined by two leg tie played in Home and Away format.
The second round already had teams ranked 6-28 in the fray and they were joined by the eight winners of first round. Matches in Home and Away format were played by each team from where 15 winners will join Asia’s Top 5 ranked teams in the third round.
They get a direct bye in to the third round. Here the twenty teams will be divided into five groups of four teams each. Matches will be played in a round robin format, amongst the group members and the top 2 teams from each group will enter the fourth round.
The fourth round, has ten teams divided into two groups, with five teams each. The top two teams from each group will get a place in the World cup at Brazil. while the two third placed teams will clash each other in a playoff to determine the winner.
The winner will be involved in an intercontinental face-off and a win there would confirm the teams participation at the world cup.
CAF (AFRICA): 5 Places
52 out of the 53 African Nations will vie for the 5 slots available to the continent for the 2014 Brazil World Cup. CAF will begin its qualifying campaign with a two-legged knock-out tie, to be played among the 24 least ranked teams on the continent, according to the FIFA ranking.
The twelve winning teams will join the remaining twenty eight teams, to make round two a forty team affair. The forty teams will be divided into ten groups of four teams each, and fight in a round robin format.
The top team from each group qualifies for the third round, where they will play in a knock-out tie, spread over two legs. The winner directly qualifies for the world cup.
CONCACAF (NORTH AMERICA, CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN): 3 or 4 Places
A total of 35 countries will pursue their World Cup dream. The first round involves the bottom 10 nations playing a two leg knock out ties. The winners join the top 7-25 nations, who get a bye to the second round.
The 24 teams are then divided into six groups of four teams each and play in a round robin format. The winner of each group qualifies for the third round where the top 6 nations await them to make the third round a twelve team affairs.
In the third round, the twelve teams are divided into three groups of four teams each and again play in round robin matches, where the top two teams from each group advance to the fourth round.
The six teams in the fourth round play a round robin game among themselves and the top three qualify for the World Cup while the fourth placed team will have to take part in an intercontinental face off.
OFC (OCEANIA) 0 or 1 Place
Eleven nations take part from the South Pacific confederation with the lowly ranked teams (four) playing a round robin format in the first round.
The winner joins the top 7 nations in the 2012 OFC Nations Cup, which will also double as the second qualifying round. The four semi-finalists of the cup advance to the third round.
In the third round, the four teams play in a double round-robin held on a home-and-away basis before the winner eventually takes part in the intercontinental face off.
UEFA (EUROPE): 13 Places
With 53 nations participating in the qualifications, Europe has the highest number of World Cup quota with as many as 13 places up for grabs. However UEFA follows its long-established group system, with eight groups consisting of six teams and another one group consisting of five teams.
All the teams within each group play in the round robin format and nine teams which top each group directly qualifies for the World Cup.
The second round is a clash between the best eight runners-up teams involve in a playoff against each other in home and away format. The four winners of these ties join the nine group winners in the finals.
CONMEBOL (SOUTH AMERICA): 4 or 5 Places
Following a simple qualification process, CONMEBOL usually follows a one league qualification process with ten teams. However this time it will be 9 teams with Brazil already qualified as the host.
The nine teams will compete in a round robin league from which, the top 4 teams directly qualify for the World Cup. While the fifth placed team will have to play a inter-continental face-off. If the fifth place team emerges as the winner, then CONMEBOL will have six nations playing in the 2014 Brazil World Cup.
2014 is far ahead, till then we must be content with the World Cup qualifiers taking place between now and then. Brazil’s last world cup Triumph was way back in 2002, since then it was a down hill for the samba dancers. Life after Ronaldo and Ronaldinho has been a struggle for Brazil. If the likes of Kaka and Dani Alves remain till 2014, Brazil will mature as a side with Neymar, Pato and even the likes of the Da Silva twins. Hope they bury their defeat at the recently held Copa America and act as the perfect host in 2014.