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World Cup 2018 Qualification

Don’t know if there is anyone else like me on here, but over the years I have enjoyed keeping track of the World Cup Qualifying for countries (especially the minnows) outside of Europe… As mentioned in some of my Match Previews, last weekend saw the end of qualification for Euro 2016 yet for many countries, the attempt to qualify for the World Cup in Russia has already begun (and for some countries, that attempt is already over).

Over the next two years I want to cover the Continental qualifying hopes for these nations, partly because I’m sure many people only realise a team has qualified once they have actually made it to the Finals and don’t realise the lengths and miles that they’ve had to travel to get there… i.e. in 2018 might we see Iran and Reza Ghoochanniejad add to the Charlton scoring charts for a World Cup Finalist… Will we see another Jamaica make their first appearance, only time will tell…

Note: I won’t be covering Europe in the below, partly because we all know what happens there and secondly am sure a separate thread will be created.

** ** **
Starting the furthest away from our shores…

The 1st Round has been completed and the first three nations will have to look to Qatar and 2022 for their first appearances, in a single group of four teams: Samoa were the sole side that qualified for the next stage, although unlike previous years it wasn’t all plain sailing… Fans of the Documentary: Next Goal Wins and American Samoa will be delighted and disappointed after the tiny nation won two games in qualification leaving them on joint points with Samoa, sadly for them (and the Cook Islands) goal difference stopped them from advancing to the next stage, with the 31-0 defeat against Australia still fresh in many minds they should beware; American Samoa are getting stronger!!

As already mentioned; Samoa will advance to the 2nd Round which’ll see New Zealand enter the competition, doubling up as the OFC Nations Cup, eight teams will be split into two groups of four (with matches being played home and away), this round being played between May and June in 2016.

Eliminated: American Samoa … Cook Islands … Tonga

** ** **
Moving closer to Europe, we cross the Tasman Sea and into Australia where we find ourselves in the Asian Qualifying Zone.

Once again the 1st Round has already happened, in a round robin format, the twelve lowest Asian sides played a home and away match with the winners going through based on the aggregate score (Almost like the early days of the League Cup), the big surprises were certainly Bhutan, who in 2002 were the second worst country in the world, beating Sri Lanka, they advanced to the second stage for the first time in their history.

Having to play catch up here, the second stage of qualification is already underway and this is where the big nations enter (Iran / Australia etc…), there are 40-teams in total who are divided into eight groups of five teams (the top two nations from each group will go through to Round Three), teams have already fallen at this stage (including Bhutan) yet other minnows such as Guam (a tiny nation in the Pacific Ocean) stand a chance of continuing as do hosts of the next World Cup: Qatar and war-torn: Syria

The next round of matches are due to be held in November (should Reza be fit, you’d expect him to travel for Iran’s next matches against Guam and Turkmenistan), the last group matches from this stage will be held in March with the Third Round (two groups of six teams) beginning shortly thereafter, the top two teams from those groups will then qualify for the World Cup.

Eliminated (First Round): Brunei … Macau … Mongolia … Nepal … Pakistan … Sri Lanka
Eliminated (Second Round): Bhutan … India … Cambodia … Yemen

Note: Indonesia were disqualified from Qualification due to Government interference in the Indonesian Football Association

** ** **
Have started writing this article at just the right time…

The first round of Qualification has just been completed in Africa, where once again a home and away round robin match up was played… South Sudan appearing in their first World Cup have gone straight out of the competition yet made headlines by drawing their first match against Mauritania (they lost the second match 4-0)… The match between Djibouti and Swaziland is still to be decided (with the second leg being played on Saturday), although Swaziland did win the first leg: 6-0 so should go through.

The draw for the Second Round has already been made, and is played in the same format as the first round; Charlton fans may take an interest in this round with Ahmed Kashi and Algeria facing Tanzania whilst the lowest side left in the competition; Comoros (ranked 187th in the World) look to be going no further as they host: Ghana, the matches will be held during the November International Break.

The winners of these matches will go through to the final round of Qualification which involves five groups of four teams; the sole winners of each of these groups will qualify for the Finals in 2018.

Eliminated: Central African Republic … Eritrea … Gambia … Guinea-Bissau … Lesotho … Malawi … Mauritius … Sao Tome & Principe … Seychelles … Sierra Leone … Somalia … South Sudan

** ** **
South America
Only two more Continents to cover yet still a lot of Air miles to gain.….

The most simplistic continent when it comes to qualification for the World Cup… With only 10-nations registered under COMMEBOL, all are placed into one big group, everyone plays home and away with the top four nations automatically qualifying for the Finals (with the fifth placed side going into a Play-Off)… Two matches have been played by each country so far with Argentina having a poor start having gained just a single point (losing to Ecuador (2-0) and drawing with Paraquay (0-0).

Uruguay / Ecuador / Chile all lead the way having won both matches so far.

** ** **
North America
The final continent has been reached in Qualification so far and it’s the one I’ve got to catch up the most with…

Three rounds have been played so far (all round robin matches)… In the first round the biggest surprise came as Curacao beat Montserrat (who were ranked 17 places below their opponents) to advance to the second stage, they then beat Cuba on away goals yet sadly advanced no further as they lost to El Salvador (2-0)… The Fourth Round is ready to go (beginning in November) with there being three groups of four teams (Mexico and the United States amongst others enter at this stage).

The top two sides from each group will qualify for the Fifth and final stage which is a solitary group of six sides… the top three Nations will automatically qualify for the World Cup Finals whilst the fourth place side will enter an Intercontinental Play-Off against a side from Asia.

Eliminated (First Round): Anguilla / Bahamas / British Virgin Isles / Cayman Isles / Montserrat / Turks & Caicos Isles / US Virgin Isles
Eliminated (Second Round): Barbados / Bermuda / Cuba / Dominica / Dominican Rep. / Guyana / Puerto Rico / Saint Kitts & Nevis / St Lucia / Suriname
Eliminated (Second Round): Antigua & Barbuda / Aruba / Belize / Curacao / Grenada / Nicaragua

Thanks for reading… I’m off to recover from Jet-Lag


  • Love the World Cup from the very start to finish. Good work mate.
  • Heard this morning that 1/2 the Eritrean team have refused to get on the plane home from Botswana.
  • Excellent write up.

    I read the other day that in the entire history of World Cup Qualifiers, no team has ever lost their first 2 games (its happened 365 times up to last week) and gone on to qualify for that World Cup.

    Bolivia, Peru & Venezuela will all be hoping to be the first.
  • Just on a further note for anyone searching for Zimbabwe... they too were disqualified from the World Cup after they failed to pay a former coach.

    In addition much gets made over who scores the winner in the World Cup final with Andres Iniesta and Mario Gotze scoring the sole goal in the Final over the past two competitions... Credit must go to East Timor player: Chiquito do Carmo who scored the very first goal of the competition, coming in the fourth minute against Mongolia
  • Is Australia in the Asia group ?
  • PL54 said:

    Is Australia in the Asia group ?

    Yeah they've been in Asian Qualifying for a while now (Since 2006).

    Currently second in their Group 4-points behind Jordan yet only one point ahead of Kyrgyzstan so they've got a bit of work to do to reach the next stage (Tajikistan and Bangladesh make up their group)
  • Can't believe Syria have won 4 out of 5 games and are joint top of their group with Japan. What a time to have a golden generation!
  • Can't believe Syria have won 4 out of 5 games and are joint top of their group with Japan. What a time to have a golden generation!

    Going to be two big matches for them against Japan and Singapore... Get results against those two and they should reach the final stage...

    Football in South East Asia really seems to be getting better... Along with Singapore you've got Thailand who are surely going to qualify for the next stage, in the same group they've got Vietnam who are only a point behind Iraq, whilst Malaysia (depsite losing to the UAE 10-0) arent out of it either
  • Africa - Update
    Following on from the above... Swaziland played their 2nd Leg against Djibouti today, after winning the first leg 6-0, Swaziland had to ensure that they didnt allow complacency to happen and so give Djibouti a life-line, originally the 2nd leg had been due to be played last Tuesday yet for some unknown reason; Djibouti were stranded in Kenya and so the match was postponed.

    The match didnt begin well for Djibouti when home side: Swaziland took a 1-0 lead, yet the comeback started when the visitors grabbed an unexpected equaliser, their hopes of qualifying for the next stage were ended though when Swaziland grabbed a second just before half-time, no further goals were scored in the second half and so Swaziland advanced to the second round with an 8-1 aggregate win, as already mentioned, it'll be an impressive feat if Swaziland can advance any further as they face African giants: Nigeria in the next round.

    Eliminated (First Round): Djibouti
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  • Get in Swaziland. Swazi army!
  • Zuuuuluuuuuuu
  • With Europe set for November Friendlies and Play-Off matches to determine the last places for Euro 2016... The rest of the World are getting set for the next round of matches in their Qualification for the World Cup in 2018...

    Asian Qualifying Update
    Palestine drew 0-0 with Saudi Arabia on Monday... This leaves Palestine in third place and a point behind the United Arab Emirates (with the latter having played a game less), Saudi Arabia on the other hand have assured themselves of at least a place in the Asian Cup 3rd Qualifying Round which doubles up with World Cup Qualification.

    Closer to home... Reza Ghoochanniejad has been called up to the Iran side to face Turkmenistan this Thursday followed by a long trip to Guam next Tuesday, two wins should see Iran qualify for the next stage

    If Reza does appear against Guam, it'll be highly unlikely that he'll start for Charlton against Birmingham on Saturday week... A flight from Iran to Guam will take at least 30-hours (including two stops), whilst a flight from Guam to London will take 24-hours (with a single stop) meaning that Reza wont be back with Charlton until next Thursday at the earliest.

    For anyone now looking at Holidays to this remote location in the Pacific... It doesnt look the worst place to spend your Holidays

  • IAIA
    edited November 2015
  • Also, there may be a chance of stepping on unexploded Japanese or American ordinance. Suddenly, that beach doesn't look quite so idyllic.
  • Also, there may be a chance of stepping on unexploded Japanese or American ordinance. Suddenly, that beach doesn't look quite so idyllic.

    Fuc. it I'll give it a miss.
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  • When Qualification began, it started in Asia, it began in March 2015 and at the time we started with 208 Nations, 32 will go to Russia yet for sixty-four countries, that dream is already over, thankfully there are still 143 nations around the world that still hold the dream of lifting the World Cup trophy in Moscow.

    For those mathematicians on here, they’ll notice that there is one nation missing from that count, it wasn’t done accidentally, can Scotland really dream of lifting the World Cup, let alone qualifying?

    When Asia are represented in the World Cup, it is four or five teams (Depending on Play-Offs) that carry the hopes of that continent, 46-Nations start the process and already 18 countries have fallen by the wayside… after today, there are only two matches left (some sides only have the one) in the second round, this is where a win or a draw could mean everything:

    Group A: With Palestine not playing in the second set of matches this week, United Arab Emirates had the chance to increase the gap between themselves and third place, a narrow 2-1 win over Malaysia ensured that they now have a four point gap, Palestine must now win their last two matches which include beating the UAE in their next match, should they manage that, the UAE will still be in pole position yet will have it all do to, they finish at home to Saudi Arabia, whilst Palestine entertain East Timor.

    Group B: By beating Bangladesh (4-0), Australia have ensured that they have reached the next stage, the last place will be between Jordan and Kyrgyzstan, the two sides have just finished playing as I type my report with the latter winning 1-0, with Kyrgyzstan in third place they now sit just two points behind Jordan yet have played a game more, they must hope that Jordan lose to Bangladesh and Australia whilst they must beat Tajikistan in their final match to reach round three.

    Group C: The big match of the week was between Hong Kong and China which ended 0-0, China remain a place behind their opponents in third, yet have played a game less, with a superior goal difference, China next host the Maldives whilst Hong Kong visit Qatar who have already qualified for the next stage… If Hong Kong do wish to qualify for the next stage, they realistically must beat Qatar and hope that Qatar then beat China in the final match.

    Group D: Guam for me have deserved some of the biggest plaudits for this campaign, they’d never won a World Cup match prior to this campaign yet have won two games this time out, their hopes of qualification have ended after losing 6-0 to Iran (Reza was left on the bench), that result sent Iran into the next round with Oman and Turkmenistan left to fight it out for the last spot, Oman remain a point ahead and have played a game less, so will surely qualify as their next game will be against Guam.

    Group E: Despite all the negativity that has surrounded Syria in the last few days; some good news involving their National Team and the innocent civilians caught up in war… Syria today beat Singapore (2-1) to qualify for the next stage of qualification (Along with Japan), for obvious reasons; Syria are unable to play their matches in their own country and will be going further in qualification than ever before.

    Group F: Another Nation going further than ever before are Thailand, who have cruised to top spot in a group which included the 2007 Asian Cup Champions: Iraq, the latter currently occupy second spot and are four points ahead of Vietnam, if the latter can beat Chinese Taipei (who were eliminated from Qualification today), they’ll be hoping that their East Asian neighbours; Thailand can avoid defeat against Iraq, should that happen, victory in the final match for Vietnam over Iraq will see them too go further than ever before… I don’t know if we have any Vietnam members on CharltonLife but I hate to burst your bubble… Iraq have yet to lose a match this time round.

    Group G: Powerhouses; South Korea are safely through to the next stage of Qualifying after being Laos (5-0) earlier today, the final spot is between Kuwait and Lebanon on who on equal points yet Kuwait have played a game less (they are due to play Myanmar who have been eliminated yet the match is still to be arranged), because of that fixture, you’d expect Kuwait to advance to the next stage.

    Group H: The final group in this stage of Qualification, North Korea have qualified for the next stage after winning 2-0 against Bahrain (Kim Jung-Un scoring both the goals), the last spot is currently between; Uzbekistan and the Philippines yet with the former currently winning 2-0 against Yemen, the Philippines must hope for a miraculous turn around, should the scoreline remain the same then Uzbekistan themselves will qualify for the next stage.

    Eliminated: Bahrain … Chinese Taipei … Guam … Myanmar … Singapore

    Africa / North America / South America will be covered tomorrow, just with a lot to cover for Asia I wanted to get that out the way early.
  • edited November 2015
    In addition to the above... After Saudi Arabia beat East Timor (10-0) this morning we have a new Top-Scorer across all the Continents; Mohammad Al-Sahlawi of Saudi Arabia now has 13-goals after scoring five times in the match (He's no Karim Bagheri thats for sure)
  • edited November 2015
    Apologies to all my fanatic readers, in technical terms I have made what is called an almighty f**k-up

    Qualification to the Third Round in Asia is not automatic for all second place teams, as there are only 12-places up for grabs in this stage, only the top four second place sides will qualify

    Because Indonesia were thrown out, their group only has four teams (compared to all other groups which have five teams), like with Qualifying for the Euros, matches against the team in fifth place in each group do not count towards any points gained when determining the top four second placed sides.

    At present; SyriaJordanUzbekistanIraq are the sides that occupy the all-important spots yet only three points sit between Iraq (in the last qualifying position) and the other four sides which are currently: Hong Kong … United Arab Emirates … Kuwait … Oman.

    I do apologise to any CharltonLifers from any of those countries, I did not mean to get your hopes up, and then ruin them so badly, instead please direct your complaints to the b*****ds at FIFA for making qualification so bloomin’ difficult to work out!!
  • Thanks

    I know that they've played a game less, but it's still hilarious that China are currently behind Hong Kong in the group.

    What a weird selection of countries the Asian groups contain, massive economic powers, war torn middle eastern countries, tiny Pacific islands.
  • Goes to show the quality of the Asian Qualifying Nations at the moment... Lebanon have beaten Macedonia in a Friendly
  • Continuing on from last night… The latest round of fixtures have been completed across the majority of Continents, there is now a long break for International Football which means we won’t see any Qualifiers now until March 2016 (although there will be one brief update once the draw for the African Third Round has been made).

    Thankfully due to all other Continents being straight forward, there will no mistakes made like with Asia yesterday.

    Continuing on from the theme yesterday… There are 54-African Nations that begun qualifying, there are five automatic places in the World Cup for Africa (with no teams having to go into a Play-Off), thirty-four teams have been eliminated and must now look to Qatar and 2022 if they wish to appear at a World Cup Finals, for twenty teams there is still hope…

    So basically the African Second Round is a Round Robin, team play home and away with the winners going through on the aggregate scoreline (Similar to the League Cup format from the 90s), as mentioned in my last African Update, the biggest shocks involved Comoros / Ghana and Chad / Egypt, sadly though there was no FA Cup style giant killing with Ghana defeating Comoros 2-0 in the second leg whilst Egypt easily overturned their 1-0 defeat from the first leg, winning 4-0.

    For any Ahmed Kashi fans out there, they’ll be pleased to know that Algeria have continued to the next stage, beating Tanzania 9-2 on aggregate whilst continuing the huge link between the Addicks and South Africa, the latter have also advanced having defeated Angola 4-1…

    The Third Round will begin in October next year and will end in November 2017… It’ll involve the remaining teams going into five groups of four teams; matches will be played home and away with the winners advancing to the World Cup, the African section of the World Cup has reached the all-important stage, now is not the time for slip ups, there are no prizes for second place here.

    Eliminated (Second Round): Angola … Benin … Botswana … Burundi … Chad … Comoros … Equatorial Guinea … Ethiopia … Kenya … Liberia … Madagascar … Mauritania … Mozambique … Namibia … Niger … Rwanda … Sudan … Swaziland … Tanzania … Togo

    South America
    Probably the easiest Continent to cover, yet at the same time if ever I got this stage wrong maybe I shouldn’t be covering the road to the World Cup… the next stage of matches have been played and normality has been resumed… So much attention has been placed on Argentina so far after their poor start yet they recorded their first win of Qualification after defeating Colombia (1-0), this victory moves Argentina up to 6th place and just two points outside of the qualification placings.

    Ecuador have continued their impressive 100% start after defeating Venezuela (3-1), they now sit on 12-points and must almost be assured of a spot in Russia after narrowly qualifying last time out with only 25-points, of course this is Football so a lot can still change.

    North America
    In the CONCACAF region, there are 35-Nations that start qualifying, there are a minimum of three places up for grabs in Russia, whilst a fourth side can qualify through the Play-Offs, so far 23-countries have been eliminated whilst there are still 12-nations that can qualify for the Finals, at the present stage there are three groups of four, the top two sides will qualify for the next stage of the competition, once each team has played their opponents home and away.

    Group A: Has Mexico and Canada leading the way, the former kept up their 100% record by beating Honduras (2-0), whilst Canada sit on four points having drawn 0-0 with El Salvador, the two nations that occupy the top two spots will face each other in Canada in the next round of matches which will be played in March.

    Group B: Costa Rica and Panama lead the way in this group, the former also have a 100% record after defeating Panama (2-1) in the latest round of matches, the latter sit on three points, so at present are only ahead of Jamaica on Goal Difference who recorded a 1-0 victory over Haiti, Jamaica next host Costa Rica.

    Group C: The United States and Trinidad & Tobago both share top spot; the two sides both won their first matches yet drew with each other (0-0) yesterday, Guatemala sit just a single point behind these two after defeating St Vincent & the Grenadines 4-0, Guatemala next play host to the United States.
  • Great write up. I follow Concacaf closely as my wife is from Guatemala. Last night's result was great but losing to Trinidad and Tobago in the first match will be costly. Massive game coming up against USA.
  • This weekend there is no Championship Football, no Charlton Football and no Match Preview to eagerly anticipate (ohhhhh I hear you cry)... The good news is that I still get to waffle at you all because World Cup Qualification returns this week.

    Because of the Easter Weekend I'll be providing a single write up next Tuesday so there will be a good number of matches to cover.

    There is a break in any African Qualifying new until the summer, whilst Oceania wont commence its next stage until June. That leaves me with just North / South America to cover whilst we reach the end of the 2nd Round of Qualifying in Asia.

    The Chinese hopes hang by a thread... Would love to know if our Chinese fans (@JessieAddick etc.) think they can qualify.
  • A simple, direct answer to your question: no :wink:
  • edited March 2016
    Given my extensive knowledge of Chinese football, I must concur with Jessie.
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