CAF MODIFIES WC QUALIFIERS SYSTEM

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) have announced modifications to the qualifying system for the World Cup 2022 in Qatar. The continental football governing body decided to drift from the system used to select participants in the 2018 World Cup.

The current system will see the top 26 sides in the FIFA rankings skip the first stage. The rest of the 28 teams will be split in two with the top 14 playing against the lower rung. The lower half will host the higher ranked counterparts in the first leg before the return leg – a move that seems to give an advantage to the higher ranked sides.

The 14 sides that qualify from this will join the exempted 26, making a list of 40 sides to slug it out. The 40 teams will be shared into 10 groups, 4 teams each based on the prevailing FIFA ranking. This list will have all the top, mid and low ranked sides to ensure a balance.

The final stage will see the top teams in each group, making 10split in half. The top five ranked national teams will face the lowest ranked sides hosting – this means the higher ranked sides will have to prove their mettle to get the nod.

CAF modified this system as against putting 20 teams in 5 groups. The 20 teams were selected via two knockout stages. The current system was used for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. With the 2022 World Cup being the last to take 32 teams, the next World Cup qualification method is expected to be altered again to fit the expended 48-team system.

England’s 1966 World Cup hero fancies country’s chances in Qatar

England’s 1966 hero Geoff Hurst believes the Three Lions have a good chance of lifting the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, considering the matches would be played between November and December. The schedule for the global tournament was postponed to the winter period to avoid the heat wave in the host nation and Hurst feels the same could benefit the Three Lions.

Speaking to FIFA.com, Hurst said that England players generally find their peak form during the month of November and that could be advantageous for the nation at the tournament in Qatar, he said: “Yes, I do – November is the peak of the season for us. After starting in August, the players will be at their peak – they should not be tired – so I can only see a benefit to our country.
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Carlos Queiroz announced as Colombian’s new head coach

Colombia have announced that Carlos Queiroz has been assigned with the head coach role following his departure from Iran earlier in the month. The Portuguese tactician had been with the Asian heavyweights for the past eight years but he has now been given a fresh challenge with Colombia, who are keen to make progress in the Copa America as well as qualify for another World Cup.

Speaking to reporters, the former Manchester United assistant revealed that it’s an honour to take up the job and he is hoping to keep up with the country’s recent uptrend in terms of results, he said: “For me it’s an honour, and I’m happy to have the trust of the federation. First off, I intend to take care of the great tradition here that has grown larger over the years.
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ENGLAND EARNED RESPECT IN RUSSIA

In recent years, England have been derided by other top footballing nations due to their consistent below-par performances at major tournaments. The self-styled ‘inventors of the game’ only won the World Cup in 1966, and even then with some dubious refereeing decisions.

In modern soccer, despite the advancements in the Premier League, England regularly had issues reaching knockout stages in major events. Despite the abundance of talents, youth, finesse, support, and exposure some reason would hinder them. And then Gareth Southgate came along. Continue reading “ENGLAND EARNED RESPECT IN RUSSIA”

What Did the International Break Tell Us?

It is fair to say that you should not read too much into the results of international friendlies. This is especially true when they are matches scheduled just after the qualification process for the 2018 World Cup has ended.

All the qualified nations were in action at the start of November and most won’t now play again until the spring. Many of the countries had depleted or understrength sides on display – and although winning a match eight months ahead of a major tournament against weaker opposition doesn’t mean that side will win the World Cup, there is still some insight that can be taken. Continue reading “What Did the International Break Tell Us?”

Can Any of the UEFA Play-Off Nations Win the World Cup?

After a long and gruelling group stage there are eight European nations still dreaming of booking a place at next year’s World Cup in Russia. Italy, Sweden, Croatia, Greece, Northern Ireland, Switzerland, Denmark and the Republic of Ireland are all only two games away from qualifying. But can any of them go on to win the whole thing next summer?

As half of these sides won’t even make it to the finals it may seem a little early to predict glory for any of them. But once the play offs are decided the victors will be eagerly awaiting their first game in Russia and dreaming of winning the ultimate prize… Continue reading “Can Any of the UEFA Play-Off Nations Win the World Cup?”

Will Spain overpower Italy?

Spain take on Italy in a crucial World Cup qualification game on Wednesday night, and this match could potentially decide the winner of the group.

Both teams come into the game level on points after having taken 16 from the six matches so far. The only factor that has kept Spain at the top of the table is the slightly better goal difference. Italy, though, will be aware that any negative result at the Santiago Bernabeu will end hopes of reaching the World Cup 2018 through the automatic qualification places. Only the team that finishes top of the group will be able to reach the finals, while the second placed team will have to reach the competition by winning a play-off. Continue reading “Will Spain overpower Italy?”