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WC 2006 Half-Spot Playoff Decision on Wed Dec 3


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The decision on how the half-spot playoffs in November, 2005, between the sole Oceania winner, 4th place CONCACAF, 5th place Asia and 5th place South American teams will be rendered this coming Wednesday, Dec. 3, in Frankfurt, 2 days prior to the

qualifications draw on Friday. From the latest press announcement, sounds like everything is up in the air:


My prediction[:o)] is that they change the "current" format of CONCACAF/Asia and SouthAmerica/Oceania home-and-aways to one of:

1. CONCACAF/SouthAmerica and Asia/Oceania home-and-aways , mainly to keep Oceania (and especially Australia) happy. This is my bet, and it will be justified as "making sense"[xx(] geographically, as the alignment follows macro-regions. It is the simplest and less controversial option, though will on paper make it tougher for whomever (Canada/CostaRica/Cuba/Honduras/ElSal) comes in fourth in the CONCACAF 2005 hex, as the opposition can be anyone other than Brazil and Argentina. I don't expect that any of the four confederaions would complain, other than the continuing lingering bitterness from Australia et al about the reversal last winter. However, there is so much parity now, the only practical result will be to avoid further bad blood between Oceania and South America.

2. The Oceania proposal to have a round-robin competition between the four haf-spots at a neutral territory. This is very intriguing, and would be as interesting as hell. The drawback is both

the extra match day required in a busy Novemebr 2005 calendar (albeit, it could be easier to fit together three match-dates over 6 or 9 days in neighbouring cities, such as Nice/Monaco or Pretoria/Johannesburg, than to have a trans-global

home-and-away two-match series), and the risky financial aspect concerning TV markets and attendance. This is the sort of vision that can intrigue the schemers in FIFA, however it may be a bit much additional to chew in an overly complex organizational morass that already exists. Over 3 matches, South America would probably come out on top, with the second position decided on goal-difference, but it would be highly competititve and unpredictable.

If desertfox2 were running a prediction contest for this on Big Boards now, I would stick my neck out and say:

November 12, 2005

Montevideo- Uruguay 2 Canada 2

Tehran- Iran 1 Australia 1

Novemeber 16, 2005

Vancouver (only because the spoil-sports in FIFA will allow CONEMBOL's protest for the CSA to have the match in Edmonton's below-zero weather)- Canada 1 Uruguay 1

(Canada advances on away-goals)

Sydney- Australia 2 Iran 1

(Australia advances)

Time will no doubt make fools of us all:D.

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I really like Oceania's proposal. I would rather try our luck (if we got there)against an Asian team than a South American team, for instance. It would just be 6 matches in total at a neutral location and may benefit us rather than going to some crazy atmosphere where anything could happen (ie. South America, crazy refs etc.).

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Who cares what the Aussies bitch and moan about. If they had any weight to go with all the mouth we'd still have an automatic spot for Oceania. If they want to qualify automaticaly let them join the Asia federation and earn a spot. Sheesh.

But hey, I've an idea. Throw all the names in a hat, and draw for a home and home series. Could be fun. Certainly interesting.

Sure would be easier flying to SA than the Far East, or Australia, but what the hey.

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Well, it was done at the executive meeting yesterday (Thursday).


Last winter it was announced that Oceania would get an automatic spot, and that the CONCACAF 4th and Asia 5th would play off for an extra spot taken from Europe. Then, under pressure from South America, this past June, Blatter did a flip-flop and decided to to give South America an extra half-spot with a playoff with Oceania. Oceania was upset, and proposed either a 4 team round robin of the half-spots or series with Asia/Oceania and CONCACAF/SouthAmerica. The decision on this was put off to Qatar in October, then to this week. So, Blatter basically decided on the status quo yesterday. Asia didn't have much to do with it, other than the initial decison last winter to take the 14th European spot.

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