As we mentioned in this post, there’s been some recently completed matches in qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. We did a major review of the AFC part, and now we’re moving on to Africa and North America.
The first round was made up of two-leg playoffs, as per the norm, which have all been completed bar one. The end results of these were:
SOMALIA0:6 NIGER SOUTH SUDAN1:5 MAURITANIA GAMBIA2:3 NAMIBIA SÃO TOMÉ AND PRÍNCIPE1:3 ETHIOPIA
- CHAD 2:2
SIERRA LEONE(away goals)
- COMOROS 1:1
- DJIBOUTI v SWAZILAND (SWAZILAND leads 6:0)
ERITREA1:5 BOTSWANA SEYCHELLES0:3 BURUNDI
- LIBERIA 4:2
GUINEA-BISSAU CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC2:5 MADAGASCAR MAURITIUS2:5 KENYA
- TANZANIA 2:1
The second round, which is going to be held in November, is made up of other two-leg playoffs. Assuming that SWAZILAND wins, then it will be have the following matches:
- NIGER v CAMEROON
- MAURITANIA v TUNISIA
- NAMIBIA v GUINEA
- ETHIOPIA v CONGO
- CHAD v EGYPT
- COMOROS v GHANA
- SWAZILAND v NIGERIA
- BOTSWANA v MALI
- BURUNDI v DR CONGO
- LIBERIA v CÔTE D’IVOIRE
- MADAGASCAR v SENEGAL
- KENYA v CAPE VERDE ISLANDS
- TANZANIA v ALGERIA
- SUDAN v ZAMBIA
- LIBYA v RWANDA
- MOROCCO v EQUATORIAL GUINEA
- MOZAMBIQUE v GABON
- BENIN v BURKINA FASO
- TOGO v UGANDA
- ANGOLA v SOUTH AFRICA
What happens next?
The winners of each playoff will make their way into the third round, which has five groups of four. Assuming that the winners of matches 1-4 are Group A, 5-8 are Group B, and so on, and the winners are the higher ranked team, we end up with the following groups:
- Group A: CAMEROON, TUNISIA, GUINEA, CONGO
- Group B: EGYPT, GHANA, NIGERIA, MALI
- Group C: DR CONGO, CÔTE D’IVOIRE, SENEGAL, CAPE VERDE ISLANDS
- Group D: ALGERIA, ZAMBIA, RWANDA, EQUATORIAL GUINEA
- Group E: GABON, BURKINA FASO, UGANDA, SOUTH AFRICA
The winner of each group will make their way to the World Cup, which, when plugging the world rankings through our groups, leads to TUNISIA, GHANA, CÔTE D’IVOIRE, ALGERIA, and GABON qualifying for the World Cup.
CONCACAF, the North American confederation, contains an awful lot of small countries and not a lot of big ones. It’s a strange place where a team as small as Trinidad and Tobago can be ranked higher than Canada. In fact, they started playing off in March this year, and have already motored through three rounds of two-leg playoffs. Let’s see how it’s all gone down.
Two-leg playoffs between the minnows of North America, where six of the teams competing have the Union Flag in the corner.
BAHAMAS0:8 BERMUDA BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS2:3 DOMINICA
- BARBADOS 4:1
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
- SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS 12:4
TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS
- NICARAGUA 8:0
- BELIZE 1:1
CAYMAN ISLANDS(away goals)
- CURAÇAO 4:3
This one contains nations that have actually qualified for a World Cup.
- SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADIES 6:6
- ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA 5:4
SAINT LUCIA PUERTO RICO1:2 GRENADA DOMINICA0:6 CANADA DOMINICAN REPUBLIC1:5 BELIZE
- GUATEMALA 1:0
- ARUBA 3:2
BARBADOS SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS3:6 EL SALVADOR
- CURAÇAO 1:1
- NICARAGUA 4:1
Bigger nations here, but still not completely ready to eliminate thrashings.
CURAÇAO0:2 EL SALVADOR
- CANADA 4:1
BELIZE GRENADA1:6 HAITI
- JAMAICA 4:3
- SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES 3:2
ARUBA ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA1:2 GUATEMALA
What happens next?
We’re now into the fourth round, where matches will start getting quite competitive. The teams have been divided into three groups of four:
- Group A: MEXICO, HONDURAS, EL SALVADOR, CANADA
- Group B: COSTA RICA, PANAMA, HAITI, JAMAICA
- Group C: UNITED STATES, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES, GUATEMALA
The top two teams in each group make their way to the fifth round. Based on the rankings, these will be MEXICO, HONDURAS, COSTA RICA, JAMAICA, the UNITED STATES, and TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO.
It’s now time for the famous fifth round: the Hex. This is, as always, a double round-robin six team tournament, with the top three qualifying for the world cup. Using the rankings, we get MEXICO, the UNITED STATES, and COSTA RICA.
The fourth placed team, JAMAICA, will have to play off against the winner of the playoff in the AFC, which turned out to be UZBEKISTAN by our reckoning. I reckon the Jamaicans should go through.