As we’ve done in our last two posts, this is another catchup for the World Cup qualification, taking a look at the powerhouse confederation, CONMEBOL, and the minnow confederation, the OFC.
The round robin
CONMEBOL is unique, in that the entire qualification is just one double round-robin featuring all 10 CONMEBOL teams. There’s been two matches played, and this is the current standing:
- URUGUAY, 6 pts, +5
- ECUADOR, 6 pts, +4
- CHILE, 6 pts, +3
- PARAGUAY, 4 pts, +1
- BRAZIL, 3 pts, 0
- COLOMBIA, 3 pts, -1
- ARGENTINA, 1 pt, -2
- PERU, 0 pts, -3
- VENEZUELA, 0 pts, -3
- BOLIVIA, 0 pts, -4
What happens next?
Were FIFA to inexplicably decide that qualifying would stop right now, then URUGUAY, ECUADOR, CHILE, and PARAGUAY would qualify directly for the World Cup. BRAZIL, being 5th, would enter an inter-confederation playoff against the OFC team.
The first round
The OFC is the minnow confederation of FIFA. It’s the second smallest, with 11* teams (only CONMEBOL is smaller), the smallest population (combined 6,967,952, of which two-thirds is NEW ZEALAND. For comparision, that’s the population of PARAGUAY), and the least skilled (the highest ranked team, NEW ZEALAND, is 148th overall). Nonetheless, they do have a decent qualification procedure.
The first round featured SAMOA, AMERICAN SAMOA, the COOK ISLANDS, and TONGA. It was held in Tonga as a round robin, with the winner making it to the second round.
- SAMOA, 6 pts, +3
- AMERICAN SAMOA, 6 pts, +2
- COOK ISLANDS, 6 pts, +2
- TONGA, 0 pts, -7
What happens next?
The next round is also the 2016 OFC Nations Cup. It has two groups of four. The top two in each group go through to the next round of the Cup, but the top three will make it to the third round.
- Group A: TAHITI, NEW CALEDONIA, SAMOA, PAPUA NEW GUINEA
- Group B: NEW ZEALAND, SOLOMON ISLANDS, FIJI, VANUATU
Based on ranking order, SAMOA, NEW CALEDONIA, and TAHITI will go through from Group A, and NEW ZEALAND, FIJI, and the SOLOMON ISLANDS from Group B.
The third round is like the second, just with three-team groups instead of two. Randomly rolling a dice to help me decide, the end groups were:
- Group A: TAHITI, NEW CALEDONIA, FIJI
- Group B: SAMOA, NEW ZEALAND, SOLOMON ISLANDS
Based on the rankings, TAHITI and NEW ZEALAND would win, and go on to the final round: a two-leg playoff. NEW ZEALAND should win, which takes them to a play-off against the CONMEBOL side, which we calculated to be BRAZIL.
Sorry, New Zealand.