Monday, February 11, 2008

World Cup 2010

One of the things I learned as a novice fan following the 2006 World Cup is that the World Cup as I knew it was not the World Cup Competition as such, but merely the finals. This really got me, the very idea of an international competition with over 200 teams. This tickled the political and social chords of interest at least as much as the sporting spectacle.

Since the Qatar game the other night, Australia has entered the fray of the 2010 World Cup, and I've had some fun checking out how the competition is going so far. This is just some random notes.

Of 201 teams who officially began (or are yet to begin) the qualifiers, 31 have already been knocked out.

In October and November last year a preliminary knock out round in Africa claimed Comoros, Guinea-Bissau and Somalia. The rest of the federation has been drawn in 12 groups of four, to begin the round on the 30 May with Cameroon vs Cape Verde Islands and other games. They play for 5 places in the finals, including South Africa which has it's place as host guaranteed.

New Zealand has all but won Oceania but definitely out in that Federation are American Samoa (remember them), Cook Islands, Tuvalu, Samoa, Tonga and Solomon Islands. On 23 June New Zealand will most likely defeat Fiji bringing them to 12 points and claiming the Oceania 0.5 chance, knocking out Fiji, New Caledonia and Vanuatu. Then they'll have to wait for the Asian Federation to get sorted before they can play off Asia's number 5. Oh what delicious irony if they have to play Australia.

A lot of teams were knocked out in Asia before we got to play, seeded as we were in the third round of play-offs. They are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chinese Taipei, Macau, India, Vietnam, Palestine, Nepal, Maldives, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, East Timor, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Yemen, Tajikistan, Indonesia and Hong Kong. The remainder are in five groups of four, playing for our 4.5 places.

Europe is divided into nine groups of six and their opening match on 6 September is between Albania and Sweden. Europe is playing off for a whopping 13 places in the finals.

Games have already been played in the North, Central America and Caribbean Federation, but teams will not start dropping out until 26 March, when Dominic and Barbados play their second home-and-away to decide who will play off against the USA (good luck to either of them) along with a few other parallel games between minnow hopefuls. They go for 3.5 places in the finals,

South America may be one of the top two Federations but it is the smallest in numbers. They are one big home-and-away group of 10. Everyone's already played 4 games but there's a long way to go. Paraguay is on top with 10 points and Bolivia is trailing on one. The next games are on 14 June, with Argentina (on 9 points) vs Ecuador (3), Uruguay (4) vs Venezuela (6), Peru (2) vs Columbia (8), Paraguay (10) vs Brazil (8) and Bolivia (1) vs Chile (4). They are playing off for 4.5 places in the final, the 5th having to play off against the 4th from Africa.

I intend to maintain at least a watching brief of this meta-competition, and will no doubt stream a few of the games, and more as the stakes in the big federations heat up. I do this with a globe on my desk. Really, this game is cool.

However sparsely, I intend to follow an entire World Cup for the first time.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

g`day -

it didn`t feel like we were a part of the whole process before - just walk through oceania and then get knocked out in a sudden death match once every four years.

but now - a 14 to 18 game campaign
we get the full world cup experience.

being so new to the whole process, i think we will be naive at times. the reaction to the italy game is an example. not making the next world cup is very possible. and it wouldn`t be the end of the world.

at present there are 6 heavyweight asian teams - us, japan, korea, iran, iraq and saudi arabia. and the 6 of us are fighting for 4.5 spots. somebody is missing out on the next WC. china, thailand and oman are `second tier` teams that could take one of those spots if they have a good run ...

in recent times there have been a couple of cinderella teams whose stars burnt out very very quickly ... senegal were the darlings of japan/korea, greece were the euro champions, turkey were in the final 4 (i think?) at japan/korea as well, USA made a final 8 ... its very easy to go backwards

the interesting thing with europe is looking at the teams that don`t make it ... denmark (who weren`t good enough to get to the WC) shellacked us last year. turkey was watching the last WC on TV too. holland weren`t good enough to participate in the one before that ...


February 12, 2008 9:45 am  
Blogger Mike Salter said... of the great appeals of football. It is the only real world game.

You might be interested in this site's gone pretty much to sleep of late, but when the WC qualifying gets into top gear, plenty of interesting stories start appearing (check out the archive, too, there's some great stuff there).

Having just been to Barbados, I'm hoping they can make it through that first round tie against Dominica. Playing the US would be a plum tie for them. :-)

February 13, 2008 6:53 pm  
Blogger Mike Salter said...

Sorry, stuffed up the HTML, I'll give the URL of that website below:

February 13, 2008 6:54 pm  
Blogger Hamish said...

Not making the next world cup is very possible. and it wouldn`t be the end of the world.

Agreed Clayton. Excellent soccer would continue for us to watch and enjoy whether we're in it or not. Think 2002, which is the first World Cup myself, and many Australians, got into at all. Meanwhile Australia's goals are clearly long-term.

What's also very possible is us having to face New Zealand in a home-and-away play off. I just think that would be a hoot. As long as we paid due attention to detail and did not take their sheer enthusiasm and will for granted, we would beat them away and plaster them across the East Coast at home.

Apologies. That was indulgent and hubristic, but a fun dream nevertheless.

Thanks for that link Mike. Bookmarked and will be linked. The Asia Cup stuff was good, and I'm sure it will be getting going re: WC qualifiers before too long.

February 13, 2008 11:00 pm  

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