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http://www.bigsoccer.com/forum/blog.php?b=11064

Good news for us I think, the 6 highest ranked teams get to go directly to the semi-final

If I understand we apparently have to play a home and home (?) and then advance out of another group to make one of the 3 groups that sends two each to the hex. Good news for us I think, I would hate for us to just sit around and wait for matches it will be good for us to play more WCQs leading up to the semis where we have always struggled.

Or maybe we are thrown directly into one of the 6 groups before the semis Im not sure

Edited by Keegan
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From what I undertand this means we need to win our group to qualify to the 1/2? 6 groups of 4 teams and the winner gets to the 1/2 with the other 6 teams. There's a possibility of getting Guatemala in our group and getting eliminated before the semis....

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I don't like it one bit. We have to play in a group of 4 teams (against a bunch of minnows) and have to finish first to advance to the SF round. Then we're back in a 4 team group with either US, Mexico or Honduras as the seeded team, either Costa Rica, Jamaica or Cuba as the 2nd seed and one of Panama, El Salvador, Grenada, T&T and Haiti rounding out the group. Basically a 67% or greater of another group of death scenario for us. Wonderful!

Yes, Loyola, we could face Guatemala in the 1st round grouping. I edited that out of my post because I didn't want to be a negative Nelly and to avoid everyone pointing out how we need to beat teams like Guatemala anyways if we want to qualify. Not to mention we could have drawn Guatemala under the old format in a home-and-home before the SF round like we did in 1990 (and lost to them then).

Edited by jpg75
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The only way for us not to be in a group of death is to play more matches, win them, get more points and voila we will be in the top 6.

This new format means a lot of matches for us and I don't think it's that bad. As for who get get paired with in the semi (if we make it), I don't care. We are not going to get any easy match at that level.

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Dates listed in the Mexican Article

PRELIMINARY - 2011

June 3

June 7

FIRST ROUND - 2011

September 2

September 6

October 7

October 11

November 11

November 15

SECOND ROUND - 2012

June 8

June 12

September 7

September 11

October 12

October 16

THIRD ROUND - 2013

February 6

March 22

March 26

June 7

June 11

June 18

September 6

September 10

October 11

October 15

Edited by Ryan
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From what I undertand this means we need to win our group to qualify to the 1/2? 6 groups of 4 teams and the winner gets to the 1/2 with the other 6 teams. There's a possibility of getting Guatemala in our group and getting eliminated before the semis....

I'm not overly opposed to that, Canada needs to be pushed, or we will never get out of the hex.

Canada has no chance of making a World Cup until we can win a group when Guatemala is in it. That's a disgusting situation when we are afraid of Guatemala cause if that's so we shouldn't even send a team. It's pathetic.

I see this as a good chance to put heavy emphasis on early stages of the tourney, and more CONCACAF Friendlies. I don't want Canada to be handed berth's into competitions where they will be demolished because they qualified by beating Grenada or some other country the size of Kitchener. Lets get some balls here and start playing to our potential.

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To summarize for reference:

Preliminary stage:

The 10 teams ranked 26-35 play home and home series to give 5 winners.

First stage:

The 5 winners from Preliminary Stage join the 19 teams ranked 7-25 in a round robin stage, with 6 groups of four teams each. Top team from each group advances.

Second stage (semifinals):

The 6 group winners from the First Stage join the teams ranked 1-6 in a round robin stage, with 3 groups of four teams each. Top two teams from each group advances.

Third stage (the "hex"):

The 6 advancing teams from the Second Stage play a final round-robin stage, with 1 group of six teams. Top three teams qualify directly for the World Cup, and the 4th place team plays off against a team from a TBD confederation to qualify for the World Cup.

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If the original UEFA plan is rejected (which it was) I find this to be a suitable replacement. I agree with the sentiment that this is a good thing, everyone is happy.

I would also say that I have no issue if we're not in the bye to Round Two, I think the games against minnows would do us good for climbing FIFA rankings. It's points we can earn, as opposed to not playing at all. I have enough confidence in our current club that we're not to fall apart in Round One since we'd be the strongest in our group.

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When will the seeding for top 6 be decided? How good are our chances to get in the top 6 seeds? Do we think its a good thing to be in the top 6, and avoid games?

Assuming they use the May 2011 rankings, zero. We are currently looking at being in 8th in May, far behind 6th-place Cuba, but both El Salvador and Grenada are very close behind. We are probably going to be somewhere between 8th and 10th.

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Maybe I am a simpleton but with 3.5 WC spots for CONCACAF, don't we need to be consistently better than Honduras, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Cuba etc. regardless of format? They can tweak the qualifying tourney all they want, but if we are terrified of a format that pits us against these teams, I think the qualifying process is the least of our worries. Maybe I am missing something.

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So the qualifying for us will most likely begin in September 2011 after the gold cup? I think thats a positive, the gold cup should give us lots of time together and we should be in a great place to win our group. Def think the gold cup has even more importance now and hopefully we can get the majority of our squad together for the tourney (including MLS guys) and build some momentum heading into this WCQ cycle.

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I'm not overly opposed to that, Canada needs to be pushed, or we will never get out of the hex.

Canada has no chance of making a World Cup until we can win a group when Guatemala is in it. That's a disgusting situation when we are afraid of Guatemala cause if that's so we shouldn't even send a team. It's pathetic.

I see this as a good chance to put heavy emphasis on early stages of the tourney, and more CONCACAF Friendlies. I don't want Canada to be handed berth's into competitions where they will be demolished because they qualified by beating Grenada or some other country the size of Kitchener. Lets get some balls here and start playing to our potential.

The problem is that Guatemala, while weaker than a few years ago, are stil a very capable team and this format (if we are drawn with them) puts you in a tough situation since only the first team qualify for the next round. Basically, it becomes a home and away serie between us and Guatemala and that's a bad scenario. Worst, we could tie them twice and it would come down to who gave the biggest beating to Turk and Caicos.

Yes, we need to be able to compete with the best of CONCACAF but there's no margin of error in the scenario I just described (which has a 20 % of chance of happening).

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The problem is that Guatemala, while weaker than a few years ago, are stil a very capable team and this format (if we are drawn with them) puts you in a tough situation since only the first team qualify for the next round. Basically, it becomes a home and away serie between us and Guatemala and that's a bad scenario. Worst, we could tie them twice and it would come down to who gave the biggest beating to Turk and Caicos.

Yes, we need to be able to compete with the best of CONCACAF but there's no margin of error in the scenario I just described (which has a 20 % of chance of happening).

As hinted at by dsylexic nam, we cannot be afraid of a home-and-home vs Guatemala if we want to play in the freakin World Cup.

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As hinted at by dsylexic nam, we cannot be afraid of a home-and-home vs Guatemala if we want to play in the freakin World Cup.

I would prefer a bigger margin of error, like playing in a group of 4 decent teams with 2 teams advancing.

For the record, I think we are better than Guatemala, but I don't like this format at all.

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Based on January 2011 and a rotational group creation...

Round 2

Group A --> USA, Panama, TBD, TBD

Group B --> Mexico, Cuba, TBD, TBD

Group C --> Honduras, Jamaica, TBD, TBD

Group 1

Group A --> Costa Rica, Dominica, Nicaragua, TBD

Group B --> Canada, St. Kitts, Caymans, TBD

Group C --> T&T, Guatemala, Neth Antillies, TBD

Group D --> Haiti, El Salvador, St. Vincent, TBD

Group E --> Grenada, Suriname, Puerto Rico, TBD

Group F --> Antigua, Guyana, Barbados, Dominican

Prelims

Who cares.

I'm sorry, but if we can't get out of that stage we deserve to be laughed at like we are. You want it to be too easy, and it shouldn't be. Yeah there's no room for error, but I don't care, we need to be better, we need to get results against these teams consistently. If we can't, again, we deserve to be what we are.

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Just for fun, here's a sample draw, using the current (March 2011) rankings as a guide, assuming all higher-ranked teams beat lower-ranked teams:

Preliminary Stage:

Belize - Bahamas

Dominican Republic - Aruba

British Virgin Islands - US Virgin Islands

St. Lucia - Anguilla

Turks and Caicos Islands - Montserrat

First Group Stage:

Group A:

Panama

Antigua & Barbuda

Puerto Rico

Bermuda

Group B:

Canada

Guyana

Barbados

Belize

Group C:

El Salvador

Suriname

Curacao

Dominican Republic

Group D:

Grenada

St. Kitts and Nevis

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

British Virgin Islands

Group E:

Trinidad & Tobago

Guatemala

Cayman Islands

St. Lucia

Group F:

Haiti

Dominica

Nicaragua

Turks and Caicos Islands

Second Group Stage:

Group G:

USA

Jamaica

Panama

Grenada

Group H:

Mexico

Costa Rica

Canada

Trinidad & Tobago

Group I:

Honduras

Cuba

El Salvador

Haiti

Third Group Stage:

USA

Mexico

Honduras

Jamaica

Costa Rica

Cuba

Edit: heh heh, great minds and all.

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The problem is that Guatemala, while weaker than a few years ago, are stil a very capable team and this format (if we are drawn with them) puts you in a tough situation since only the first team qualify for the next round. Basically, it becomes a home and away serie between us and Guatemala and that's a bad scenario. Worst, we could tie them twice and it would come down to who gave the biggest beating to Turk and Caicos.

Yes, we need to be able to compete with the best of CONCACAF but there's no margin of error in the scenario I just described (which has a 20 % of chance of happening).

Exactly, anything can happen and when your margin of error is small bad things tend to happen.

As far as needing to beat these teams when it matters, yes that's true, but in CONCACAF being a weaker seed tends to mean you have to beat these teams TWICE and that's not easy. Say we finish second in a group with Honduras, Jamaica and Haiti we then have to turn around and beat Honduras again in the HEX and beat Costa Rica and maybe even Panama etc. It would have been much easier under the proposed format to be in a group with either Mexico, US, Honduras or Costa Rica and then have the weaker seeds be a team in the 9th-12th and another in the 13th-16th. Then in the final group you have to beat out one of Hon or CR and one of Jamaica and another top 8 team to finish 2nd place in the final group and cross-over for a head-to-head for 3rd place.

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As far as we're concerned, the main difference between 2014 WCQ and 2010 WCQ is this:

Last time we played a 2-game series against one minnow.

This time we play a 6-game round-robin against three minnows, and need to be better than them all.

This time can only be better for us, as it gives us more games to get rolling before we hit the semi-final.

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