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The Road to Qatar.

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38 minutes ago, CanadianSoccerFan said:

The obvious answers are 2 groups of 4 or 3 groups of 4.  I've been thinking that with limited matchdays the most fair thing is to use a version of the Matchvision pot format that they used for Nations League qualifying but instead of 34 teams, only include 8,10, or 12 teams.  

Say you only have 6 match days to work with.  With any combination of 8, 10, or 12 teams each team plays 6 games against 6 different opponents of varying strength and are measured against each other in a single table (3 home and 3 away).  Instead of having a draw for groups, you instead have a draw for fixtures.  

For an example of 12 teams, each team (including Mexico and USA) would have a schedule like this

Game 1 vs #1 Mexico or #2 USA

Game 2 vs #3 Costa Rica or #4 Jamaica

Game 3 vs #5 Honduras or #6 El Salvador 

Game 4 vs #7 Canada or #8 Curacao

Game 5 vs #9 Panama or #10 Haiti

Game 6 vs #11 Trinidad or #12 Antigua

 

I prefer this for several reasons

1) Removes the unfair advantage of being a top seed.  Group systems have a self fulfilling prophecy where top seeds do not have to face other top seeds.  In a system with 3 groups of 4, Mex, USA, and Costa Rica would play ZERO games against their fellow top seeds.  Meanwhile, everyone else has to play two games against top seeds.  If 33% of your games are against top seeds, you are being required to clear a higher bar than teams playing 0% of their games against top seeds.  Contrast that with the pot system where the average strength of fixtures is mathematically even for ALL teams.  There is zero advantage to being seeded.

2) Play a larger sample size of opponents.  The chances of drawing a group of death are far higher than drawing a schedule of death in the pot system because the sample size is doubled. 

3) Easier to compare teams against one another in a single table.  The criticism would be "not all teams have played each other so how is that fair".  Many of the formats proposed using groups have some element of "best 2nd place finisher" which already has the exact same problem but worse.  In that case you are not only comparing teams guaranteed not to have played each other, you are comparing teams with zero common opponents.    

 

If I had to guess on a possible schedule, assuming the rest of this year is out the window and they still had to finish qualifying by the end of 2021 it could look something like this.

March 2021:  2 leg knockout round with bye for top 5.  Nations League final 4 would happen concurrently which Vic has stated will still happen

June 2021: Another 2 leg knockout round 

July 2021: Gold Cup (Vic insists it is happening)

Sept, Oct, and Nov 2021: 6 game pot system involving 10 or 12 teams.  (To do it with less than 10 teams you need more than two preceding knockout rounds)

That's 10 games to sort everything.  The top 5 ranked teams would only play 8 games.

 

 

 

Definitely looks good

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On 5/6/2020 at 9:09 PM, TGAA_Star said:

Then what would you suggest as an alternative 

Tea leaves, chicken bones and waving a monkey head on a stick...there might be some nudity

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For the people suggesting a group or 2 of 5 teams to replace the hex, remember that with an odd number of teams you have byes. I am not sure about the math, but I think everyone plays 8 games and has 2 byes, which makes 10 match days, same as the hex, so it doesn’t save time. Plus if it is the 2 groups of 5 you likely have to have the 2nd place teams play off to decide third place.

There are lots of ways for this to go down, many of them mentioned here. But we still have no idea how many match days there will be so it’s a near impossible task to guess it, but it is fun to read everyone’s suggestions.

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4 hours ago, Kent said:

For the people suggesting a group or 2 of 5 teams to replace the hex, remember that with an odd number of teams you have byes. I am not sure about the math, but I think everyone plays 8 games and has 2 byes, which makes 10 match days, same as the hex, so it doesn’t save time. Plus if it is the 2 groups of 5 you likely have to have the 2nd place teams play off to decide third place.

There are lots of ways for this to go down, many of them mentioned here. But we still have no idea how many match days there will be so it’s a near impossible task to guess it, but it is fun to read everyone’s suggestions.

Yeah it is but apparently qualifiers are still set for September/October time around there but who even knows if that will happen given the whole COVID-19 debacle. Originally, qualifiers were set for March/April but because of what happened, it got pushed back. Honestly I just hope that this crisis is over and we all can have that sense of normalcy again.

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27 minutes ago, neuker said:

Mt. Vic mentioned 3 components that will be needed for a revised World Cup format.

1) The need to use FIFA rankings.

2) Some sort of elimination process.

3) And eventually a group stage process.

The first point implies that there will be a seeding process.

The second point implies that there will be knock out matches, presumably home and home matches.

The third point implies that an undetermined number of seeded countries will be joined by an undetermined number of knock out countries in an undetermined number of groups.

Prior to Covid 19 many here would have preferred to see Canada going the 7 to 35 knock out route instead of competing in the HEX. And the momentum that Canada would have built up in the knock out phase would carry over and see them beat the 4th place HEX finisher in a home and home knock out series as well as another knock out home and home series against an intercontinental opponent. Well, all that seems to have gone right out of the window now, as everyone wants to see Canada get seeded. Obviously, the number of seeded countries will have to be increased from the 6 seeded countries that would have been required for the HEX. So the big question now is how many countries will Mt. Vic seed into the group process, and how many countries will advance from the elimination process into the group process?

So now how is it that Canada has suddenly become off better at competing in a group than going at it head-to-head? There better be a lot of Caribbean countries in Canada's group if we are going to qualify for Qatar like Herdman promised we would.

Yeah put up or shut up time because Herdman is basically charged with getting us to Qatar and anything less than that equals automatic firing 

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7 hours ago, neuker said:

Prior to Covid 19 many here would have preferred to see Canada going the 7 to 35 knock out route instead of competing in the HEX.

Many here? So we're just making stuff up now huh.

People discussed our chances of us making it through the 7-35 gauntlet. Many preferred that though? We both know thats not true Robert.

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13 minutes ago, Kyle_The_Hill said:

Many here? So we're just making stuff up now huh.

People discussed our chances of us making it through the 7-35 gauntlet. Many preferred that though? We both know thats not true Robert.

7-35 route doesn't make things any easier but really what other choice is there right now? Canada isn't doing themselves any favors right now especially because of CONCACAF/FIFA World rankings

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8 hours ago, neuker said:

Mt. Vic mentioned 3 components that will be needed for a revised World Cup format.

1) The need to use FIFA rankings.

2) Some sort of elimination process.

3) And eventually a group stage process.

The first point implies that there will be a seeding process.

The second point implies that there will be knock out matches, presumably home and home matches.

The third point implies that an undetermined number of seeded countries will be joined by an undetermined number of knock out countries in an undetermined number of groups.

Prior to Covid 19 many here would have preferred to see Canada going the 7 to 35 knock out route instead of competing in the HEX. And the momentum that Canada would have built up in the knock out phase would carry over and see them beat the 4th place HEX finisher in a home and home knock out series as well as another knock out home and home series against an intercontinental opponent. Well, all that seems to have gone right out of the window now, as everyone wants to see Canada get seeded. Obviously, the number of seeded countries will have to be increased from the 6 seeded countries that would have been required for the HEX. So the big question now is how many countries will Mt. Vic seed into the group process, and how many countries will advance from the elimination process into the group process?

So now how is it that Canada has suddenly become off better at competing in a group than going at it head-to-head? There better be a lot of Caribbean countries in Canada's group if we are going to qualify for Qatar like Herdman promised we would.

Some people may have said they prefer 7-35 but they were definitely in the minority. I like group stage because over a larger sample size, the chances are higher that the best teams will go through. It eliminates some of the randomness. Hopefully we can prove to be one of the top teams in concacaf. If we can’t do that, then we don’t deserve to go to the World Cup and I’m fine with that.

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15 minutes ago, TGAA_Star said:

7-35 route doesn't make things any easier but really what other choice is there right now? Canada isn't doing themselves any favors right now especially because of CONCACAF/FIFA World rankings

Let’s see what new format is announced and what dates are available. There’s not much use speculating, threatening Herdman should be fired or complaining about the rankings right now. September dates could be cancelled entirely or used for friendlies to get teams back into it and used to playing together after what will be 10 or so months off.

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3 minutes ago, neuker said:

With 110 posts to your credit, you obviously haven't been around long enough, nor gone back far enough in this thread to know that. There were many here who did express that they thought Canada had a better chances of qualifying for Qatar via the 7 to 35 route. I happen to agree with them. It was a softer, easier route barring a inter-confederation match-up against a CONMEBOL opponent. However, according to Mt. Vic that format will have to be changed now because of Covid 19. However, I would have much preferred to see Canada qualify for the HEX because we would be playing far more attractive opponents and in the long run our players would have benefitted more from playing such opposition.

Now, with the forced change of plans, I really don't like Canada's chances of qualifying for Qatar because if we get seeded into a group. For one, Canada will be one of the lowest seeded countries in their group, which means that our first match will be against one of the highest, if not the highest seeded country in our group. Being known for not being able to come from behind either in a match or when trailing in a group does not bode well for Herdman's team. The pressure will be on to get a victory in Canada's opening group match against a top-seeded country. Sure we will still be mathematically in contention if we do lose our opening match, be the all-too-familiar looking at the out-of-town scoreboard will have begun, soon to be followed by the getting the calculators-out stage. We've all been there, done that. Canada must 1) win its opening group match, 2) must have at least two Caribbean nations in its group, and must 3) win at least three matches in a row. None of these three would have been required if we had been able to go the 7 to 35 route. We better pray to God that things return to normal very quickly and that CONCACAF World Cup qualifying can commence in August/September as originally planned.

I lamented that the 7-35 route could have been the easiest path to the World Cup we’ve ever seen. IF we played an intercontinental playoff vs New Zealand. I think most people thought the hex was best because there’s room for error. The gauntlet so to speak leaves no room. The other opinion as to why the hex was better was because it puts Canada in the spotlight and in big games vs the big teams, which is what we want even if we finished 5th. But none of that really matters because there won’t be a hex this time around. 

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34 minutes ago, TGAA_Star said:

7-35 route doesn't make things any easier but really what other choice is there right now? Canada isn't doing themselves any favors right now especially because of CONCACAF/FIFA World rankings

I was on the fence about it.  I think we are the 4th or 5th best team in CONCACAF generally speaking.

 I think outside the teams in the Hex only Haiti would have a decent chance to beat us so I really liked our chances to get to play the 4th place team in the 7-35 tournament.  I think we would end up playing Honduras for the final spot.

In the Hex style it would still be a tough qualifying to get that 4th spot. 

I don’t like our chances in any conceivable seeded format as well because as the 7th seed we will have to face both the US and Costs Rica to get to even the 4th spot.  Either way we have a tough qualification.

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Does FIFA mandate a minimum number of match dates for each region's WCQ process or do they leave it up to each confederation to decide? Just thinking of a scenario where we get a format and a schedule finalized, but there need to be some tweaks along the way (country A is scheduled to play in country B at some point, but close to the match day, country B has to put border restrictions back in place and the match has to be pushed back, moved to a neutral site at a later date, or cancelled). I wonder if FIFA stipulates anything on a minimum number of match dates so that at least we would have an idea of what the bare minimum could look like.

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Posted (edited)

The 7 to 35 route wasn't a death sentence and I shared my opinion on that. I always felt that we could make it through that route. We would go into the 4th place Hex playoff with greater momentum than our opponent. You'd be going in on a winning streak, essentially.

Conversely, I think finishing 3rd our of 6 hex teams was always optimistic, especially considering how we handled the Haiti game and the USA game away.

The Hex seemed less forgiving than 7-35 route, but not really. The lower route at least gives the team a group stage to work out the kinks. The quarter final should let you work out the kinks too. It likely wouldn't be until the semi and the final when you are facing the "big boys", someone like Haiti, Curacao, Panama, etc., and by then we'd be tuned up enough. Two legs is forgiving enough that a mistake may costs you the game, but it doesn't have to cost you the tie. In the Hex a mistake that may cost you the game could be the difference between 3rd and 4th place.

All of that is not to say I prefer the lower route. If we must play in the lower route, so be it. My perspective has always been it is not the end of the world and there are reasons why it may suit Canada well.

On a final note, I would say that 2 groups of 4 means we need to finish 2nd, but this is the same situation we faced cycle after cycle in the old semi-final round, to no avail. Yes we are much more talented overall and the team spirit is better, the depth is better, but will things be different this time?

I like to think that if we can only finish second (still a very large "if"), we have enough weapons to pull through a 3rd/4th place play-off and qualify automatically, and if not we get a second crack at it at a half spot.

2 groups of 4 may just be our best chance. 

Edited by Obinna

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7 minutes ago, Obinna said:

The 7 to 35 route wasn't a death sentence and I shared my opinion on that. I always felt that we could make it through that route. We would go into the 4th place Hex playoff with greater momentum than our opponent. You'd be going in on a winning streak, essentially.

Conversely, I think finishing 3rd our of 6 hex teams was always optimistic, especially considering how we handled the Haiti game and the USA game away.

The Hex seemed less forgiving than 7-35 route, but not really. The lower route at least gives the team a group stage to work out the kinks. The quarter final should let you work out the kinks too. It likely wouldn't be until the semi and the final when you are facing the "big boys", someone like Haiti, Curacao, Panama, etc., and by then we'd be tuned up enough. Two legs is forgiving enough that a mistake may costs you the game, but it doesn't have to cost you the tie. In the Hex a mistake that may cost you the game could be the difference between 3rd and 4th place.

All of that is not to say I prefer the lower route. If we must play in the lower route, so be it. My perspective has always been it is not the end of the world and there are reasons why it may suit Canada well.

On a final note, I would say that 2 groups of 4 means we need to finish 2nd, but this is the same situation we faced cycle after cycle in the old semi-final round, to no avail. Yes we are much more talented overall and the team spirit is better, the depth is better, but will things be different this time?

I like to think that if we can only finish second (still a very large "if"), we have enough weapons to pull through a 3rd/4th place play-off and qualify automatically, and if not we get a second crack at it at a half spot.

2 groups of 4 may just be our best chance. 

I agree

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1 hour ago, baulderdash77 said:

I was on the fence about it.  I think we are the 4th or 5th best team in CONCACAF generally speaking.

 I think outside the teams in the Hex only Haiti would have a decent chance to beat us so I really liked our chances to get to play the 4th place team in the 7-35 tournament.  I think we would end up playing Honduras for the final spot.

In the Hex style it would still be a tough qualifying to get that 4th spot. 

I don’t like our chances in any conceivable seeded format as well because as the 7th seed we will have to face both the US and Costs Rica to get to even the 4th spot.  Either way we have a tough qualification.

I still think this is better than being in a group with Mexico, Honduras and Jamaica. 

Mexico I don't think we take points off, home or away.

Jamaica is a toss up, home or away. I don't think either team takes maximum points.

Honduras we can beat at home, but away is another matter.

Now my case for the other group...

USA is very tough but we are more capable to take points off them, as nations league shows. Not a guarentee, but more of a chance than Mexico.

Costa Rica we always do well against in gold cups and friendlies, but they will still be tough away. They know how to get results when it matters. Let's call it a draw compared to Honduras in terms of difficultly.

El Salvador is where I think we can and must take maximum points. Other teams will feel the same. I would rather play them than Jamaica. So would the other teams. I think they'll take points from someone, but we can't let it be us. Costa Rica or the USA could slip up here, and so could we, but that could just as easily open up the group up as it could doom us.

So overall, I like USA, Costa Rica and El Salvador better.

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24 minutes ago, Obinna said:

I still think this is better than being in a group with Mexico, Honduras and Jamaica. 

Mexico I don't think we take points off, home or away.

Jamaica is a toss up, home or away. I don't think either team takes maximum points.

Honduras we can beat at home, but away is another matter.

Now my case for the other group...

USA is very tough but we are more capable to take points off them, as nations league shows. Not a guarentee, but more of a chance than Mexico.

Costa Rica we always do well against in gold cups and friendlies, but they will still be tough away. They know how to get results when it matters. Let's call it a draw compared to Honduras in terms of difficultly.

El Salvador is where I think we can and must take maximum points. Other teams will feel the same. I would rather play them than Jamaica. So would the other teams. I think they'll take points from someone, but we can't let it be us. Costa Rica or the USA could slip up here, and so could we, but that could just as easily open up the group up as it could doom us.

So overall, I like USA, Costa Rica and El Salvador better.

Yeah but honestly Canada beating USA I could see it but Costa Rica I don't know about that. I mean Costa Rica for an aging team in CONCACAF, they are still dangerous. But for El Salvador, you absolutely have to win that. But let's say Canada drew Mexico, Honduras and Jamaica. Could Canada beat Mexico home or away? Definitely not. Against Honduras home and away most definitely but against Jamaica they are a wild card especially because Jamaica is a team on the rise in CONCACAF.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, neuker said:

I wouldn't put too much stock into that 2-0 victory over the USA in Toronto. This proved to be an off day for the United States, in which they took Canada too lightly. One month later there were no more surprises. The biggest difference being the insertion of Sergino Dest into the US line-up. His explosive speed to get to the ball and deftly chip it through to Jordan Morris in the second minutes was nothing short of world class. Game, set and match! Because from that moment on there was no way that Canada was going to get a result, just as sure as Ajax won't be able to hang on to him after this season.

Off day or not Canada still got the job done but now USA is at full strength now and are a much better team after that 2-0 loss to Canada so honestly can I see Canada beating the US again? If it is a home game probably even though I doubt it but away game then most definitely not

Edited by TGAA_Star
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3 hours ago, neuker said:

I wouldn't put too much stock into that 2-0 victory over the USA in Toronto. This proved to be an off day for the United States, in which they took Canada too lightly. One month later there were no more surprises. The biggest difference being the insertion of Sergino Dest into the US line-up. His explosive speed to get to the ball and deftly chip it through to Jordan Morris in the second minutes was nothing short of world class. Game, set and match! Because from that moment on there was no way that Canada was going to get a result, just as sure as Ajax won't be able to hang on to him after this season.

Fair enough. In Toronto it was an off day for the states and a good day for Canada. The reverse was true in the return match. Had they not scored early the game in Orlando may have played out differently, but that’s football.

I am not convinced they figured us out in Florida more than we set ourselves up for defeat for a variety of reasons, such as tactics, going down early, and perhaps some arrogance/overconfidence from our players and coaching staff. However, that is not to take credit away from them. They put us to the sword, so they get just as much as we get for taking them by surprise at home. 

I think on the balance they are still better than we are, deeper than we are, and more experienced than we are, but beating them is a huge notch in our belt psychologically.

We will believe we can do it again.

 

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9 hours ago, neuker said:

With 110 posts to your credit, you obviously haven't been around long enough, nor gone back far enough in this thread to know that. There were many here who did express that they thought Canada had a better chances of qualifying for Qatar via the 7 to 35 route. I happen to agree with them. It was a softer, easier route barring a inter-confederation match-up against a CONMEBOL opponent. However, according to Mt. Vic that format will have to be changed now because of Covid 19. However, I would have much preferred to see Canada qualify for the HEX because we would be playing far more attractive opponents and in the long run our players would have benefitted more from playing such opposition.

Now, with the forced change of plans, I really don't like Canada's chances of qualifying for Qatar because if we get seeded into a group. For one, Canada will be one of the lowest seeded countries in their group, which means that our first match will be against one of the highest, if not the highest seeded country in our group. Being known for not being able to come from behind either in a match or when trailing in a group does not bode well for Herdman's team. The pressure will be on to get a victory in Canada's opening group match against a top-seeded country. Sure we will still be mathematically in contention if we do lose our opening match, be the all-too-familiar looking at the out-of-town scoreboard will have begun, soon to be followed by the getting the calculators-out stage. We've all been there, done that. Canada must 1) win its opening group match, 2) must have at least two Caribbean nations in its group, and must 3) win at least three matches in a row. None of these three would have been required if we had been able to go the 7 to 35 route. We better pray to God that things return to normal very quickly and that CONCACAF World Cup qualifying can commence in August/September as originally planned.

Someone having 128 posts accusing someone with 110 posts of not being around long enough is rather rich.

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The way in which we beat the USA gives me hope we can do it again. It wasn’t a fluke and they did have their best players minus Dest. When our 2 best players are 20 it makes it even more likely that we can beat them again because Davies and David will only get better. 

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1 hour ago, neuker said:

Good post and I agree with most of what you said, however, has Canada ever beat the United States when it really mattered? Obviously the game in Orlando was the one that mattered in the Nations League and not the one in Toronto, as it was them who advanced to the semi-finals and not us. Don't you think that it should have been Herdman's job to ensure that our young players would not be overcome with arrogance and overconfidence after that first match, especially considering that the objective had not yet been achieved? How long can you retain a coach who continues to make rookie mistakes that cost us so dearly? Given the fact that Canada had not beaten the United States in the previous 30 years any good coach would have recognized the danger and done everything possible to temper that youthful enthusiasm. Twice now, John Herdman has been solely responsible for denying our young players a taste of what its like to play in the semi-finals of a major international com[petition. In most respected soccer countries such a coach would not get an opportunity to fail for a third consecutive time, especially when has track-record lacks any positive noteworthy successes with that team.

Some might consider beating the USA for the first time in more than 30 years a positive noteworthy success. Losing to the USA in USA is meeting expectations.

The loss to Haiti is the only time we underperformed, and as you know about our lack of win streaks historically, we have underperformed less frequently than we usually do. With as many games against minnows as we have had you would typically expect us to trip up a couple times at least.

But whatever. Fire Herdman, fire Montagliani, fire everyone who works at the CSA and you will take over and lead Canada to glory. I wish you all the luck in the world.

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5 hours ago, neuker said:

Minus Dest? Try taking Davies out of the Canadian line-up and see what you have left. Take a look at how Dest beats lazy defending to the ball and in that same motion chips in a perfect and  unmissable assist.

Here's the "you can kiss your HEX goodbye" moment:

 

I still feel that with Dest playing we can win.

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4 minutes ago, TFC2017 said:

Just wanted to pop by to say Happy Mother's day and I hope that you are all doing well and staying safe. I cannot wait for the resumption of soccer once it's safe to do so. 

Thank you, great post 

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I think we are being a bit myopic with our formats of top 8  and forgetting the remaining 27 Concacaf teams ...

I could actually see them going with top 12 ... three groups of four with winners moving on to World Cup and second place finishers along with the sole survivor of the 13-35 pool having a play-off to determine 4th place and who plays Oceania for final berth.

In ideal situation groups based on latest FIFA rankings (April 2020) would go as follows

Group A Mexico (1), El Salvador (6), Panama (9), Haiti (10)

Group B USA (2), Honduras (5), Curacao (8), Trinidad (11)

Group C Costa Rica (3), Jamaica (4), Canada (7),  Antigua (12)

Of course they could also switch 7 and 12 into Group A and 9 and 10 into group C, or do their so called "blind" POT selections.  Regardless I am good with any of the above and even any of the old systems - just equally anxious and excited to see our guys in action again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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