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jtpc

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  1. Given the possible disparity between the groups, I think archer21's suggestion upthread is a great one. If time permits in terms of match days and scheduling, take all 3 second place teams and the lower tier winner, have the best second place team play the lower tier winner, have the other 2 second place teams play each other, with the winners playing each other to see who goes to the intercontinental playoff. In terms of the 13-35 side of qualification, if we found ourselves playing the lower tier winner at some point in the qualification process, I don't even need to scan the list of countries to know where I'd like to attend a CanMNT away match. With that incredible ocean view from their stadium, I hope Montserrat emerges as the 13-35 winner. 😀
  2. You're right, Obinna, maybe we should be careful what we wish for regarding the best 2nd seed. If our group was Mexico, El Salvador, plus Antigua and Barbuda, I think we'd all be hoping they only took the best 2nd place team. If this is the format that gets used, Guatemala finds themselves in quite a favourable position. No one could have guessed 4 years ago that things might end up this way now, but they get suspended for a few years, no 2017 Gold Cup, no 2019 Gold Cup, no Nations League Qualifying, and look at what might fall into their lap, the potential lower tier top seed (in terms of FIFA ranking anyway) with a pretty good chance to play the top 2nd place team from the group stage of the top 12. Who knew in 2016 that getting suspended for a few years could put you in such an enviable position? 😂
  3. Completely agree that depending on the draw, there could be a huge variance in the groups, greatly impacting a country's chance to earn an automatic spot or be the best 2nd place team. I really like CanadianSoccerFan's best case scenario group, so let's just go with that for CanMNT. 😀 Best case scenario if you had to be drawn in a group with Mexico would probably be to have El Salvador and A&B with you. That way, you'd have a better chance I think to be the best 2nd place team, as it seems more likely the other groups would have multiple teams taking points off each other.
  4. 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.
  5. Iceland has defeated El Salvador 1-0. Really hope El Salvador wasn't successful in changing this to a training match.
  6. Thinking of the lower-seeded 7-35 side for a moment, it's too bad the intercontinental playoff matchups are still TBD. What a difference between the prospect of facing the 5th place South American country or New Zealand as your final hurdle to get to the World Cup. If it's the former, I would want to be in the Hex no matter what. If it's the latter, the 7-35 side looks fantastic. Saint Kitts and Nevis + Suriname might be scheduling a few friendlies between now and July as one of them will end up in pot 1. They're currently separated by only 1 ranking point for that final seeded spot. If you wanted to be guaranteed in the first round not to play any of the 7 countries ranked ahead of you, it's worth fighting for. Apart from that and whether we catch El Salvador or not, the pots on the 7-35 side look pretty much set. If you're a lower-ranked country, there really isn't any incentive to try to get into pot 2 instead of 3, so I don't see a lot changing there. Assuming things stayed the same as they are today, once you gave us, Curacao, Panama, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Guatemala, and Saint Kitts and Nevis their own group, the FIFA ranking of the next 8 countries range from 141 to 168. Quite a drop. Not only would that be your closest competition ranking-wise in that initial group stage, but 5 of the 8 groups would also have 2 countries ranked even lower than that.
  7. I'll be shocked if we don't give up a goal trying to play it out of our own end. El Salvador has to be loving this. We go to the trouble of scheduling 3 friendlies and hardly gain anything on them at all, 0.56 of a ranking point.
  8. I like Antigua and Barbuda as a possible opponent for us if we were looking to set something up within CONCACAF. They're right underneath Trinidad and Tobago, in that next tier underneath Curacao, Panama, and Haiti. They lost 8-0 to Guatemala in November, but their ranking is still high enough that we would get 3 points from a win against them. Play them twice and you're looking at a great chance for 6 more points.
  9. Well done, boys! 1333 points now for CanMNT. Just like that, the 15 point deficit has been narrowed to 13. Those footsteps you hear behind you, El Salvador, are getting louder!
  10. If we were looking at CONCACAF opposition, I still like Trinidad & Tobago as a potential matchup. They're right underneath similarly ranked teams to us (Curacao, Panama, Haiti) and they're high enough that we would still receive 4 points for a win. We defeated them 2-0 just last year, right before the Gold Cup. Just my own gut feeling, but I would rather take a little less risk and have an excellent chance to gain 4 points than try for a 5 or 6 point team and end up with a draw or a loss.
  11. We began the night 15 points behind El Salvador and now we've cut it to 14. Well done, boys!
  12. I don't think I've ever wanted 1.13 FIFA ranking points so badly in my life. Let's go CanMNT!
  13. I'm quite pessimistic about our chances against Iceland as I feel their players will have had developmental systems in place that will result in better cohesion even though they're not the A squad. When I first saw that we were playing Iceland, my reaction was: "We're trying to gain points, right, and not lose them?" I don't have any confidence that without our international players, we would defeat even a domestic Icelandic side. So, I'm glad to see the 2 additional matches against Barbados. I think we don't come out of this any further ahead points-wise. I wouldn't be surprised if what we gained against Barbados (+2.25) was basically given back against Iceland (-1.89). I'd be ecstatic with two 1-0 wins over Barbados (+1.13 and 1.12 points) and a 0-0 draw with Iceland (+0.61 points), giving us an additional 2.86 points (3 with rounding).
  14. Confirmation on ELO that El Salvador will play Iceland on January 19th and the US on February 1st. Best case scenario, they lose both and drop 3.5 points (hopefully 4 full points with rounding). Instead of a 15-point difference between them and us, it would be down to 11, 1342 to 1331.
  15. I'm hoping El Salvador keep those friendlies they've scheduled as I'm not convinced they'd be overly successful given who they're playing. If the intercontinental playoff is against South America, forget it, we need to be in the Hex. If it's against one of the other 2 regions, I don't mind the 7-35 side, especially if it's Oceania. In addition to what we schedule, I'll be interested to see what Saint Kitts and Nevis and Suriname schedule between now and June 2020. There's a real incentive for one of those countries to be ahead of the other in the June 2020 rankings. Of the countries on the 7-35 side, Saint Kitts and Nevis is currently 8th with 1074 points and Suriname is only 1 point behind them. The benefit to finishing 8th is you're a top seed for the first round and you don't have anyone in your group that is ranked higher than you are. One of those 2 countries will avoid the likes of Canada, Curacao, Panama, and Haiti in the group stage, while the other could potentially be in a group with one of them. That's quite a significant difference for only being 1 point apart right now in the rankings.
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