East Fork Utd
Reserve Team Regular
Jul 21, 2019, 5:17 PM
Thanks for the explanations on the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers, Leo! Asia have now drawn the teams for its next phase of qualifying. Here are the participants left for the 4.5 slots to Qatar.
Group A: China, Syria, Philippines, Maldives, Guam
Group B: Australia, Jordan, Taiwan, Kuwait, Nepal
Group C: Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Cambodia
Group D: Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Palestine, Yemen, Singapore
Group E: Bangladesh, Afghanistan, India, Oman, Qatar
Group F: Japan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Myanmar, Mongolia
Group G: United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia
Group H: South Korea, North Korea, Turkmenistan, Sri Lanka, Lebanon
Here in the 'Land of CONCACAF', there's been some spirited debate about the new qualifying system for 2022. Many people think it unfair that the confederation is using FIFA rankings to determine the final Hex. Others argue it is fair since lesser teams won't have to go up against the likes of Mexico, USA, or Costa Rica (the so-called Big 3 of CONCACAF) and take a terrible beating that benefits neither the winning or losing side. To get to the final Hex in the past, CONCACAF used 6 groups of 4 with the winners advancing to the final stage of qualifying. There have also been 3 groups of 4 with the top 2 teams in each group making the last stage. Over the past 3 cycles for the World Cup, a definite pecking order has been established, as 5 of the final 6 teams have always been the same (USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama).
So, we'll see how things play out for 2022. The team that emerges from the Nations League competition to meet the 4th placed Hex team will certainly have earned its position. I'm not sure how this year's Gold Cup automatic qualifiers were determined. It could have been based strictly off the final Hex participants for the 2018 World Cup, or it could have been the Top 6 teams in the confederation based on FIFA rankings at a certain point in time. If so, then it was just coincidental that the 6 automatic teams in the Gold Cup were also in the final Hex in 2017. The other 10 participants earned their chances by doing well in Nations League play. So between now and the end of 2020, it will be interesting to see how teams schedule their international friendlies and how well they perform in those games to try and boost their rankings. In this year's Gold Cup, Honduras and Trinidad & Tobago failed to get out of the group stage. Haiti and Jamaica, who came through Nations League qualifying, were semifinalists, so that good showing has to help their cause when the next FIFA rankings come out.