Heidi Klum always says, “In the world of fashion, one day you’re in and the next day you’re out.” So, leaving that said, the World Cup qualifiers is no different. Today, CONCACAF and CONMEBOL disputed their final games to get their ticket to Brazil. Also, I cannot forget that UEFA and CAF confederation also played tonight.
The Qualified Teams: OCT 15
Russia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Spain, England
With tonight’s victory, the Bosnian team makes history because it is their first World Cup entry. The 2010 World Cup was almost a close win until they were defeated by Portugal; however, this past loss is now history. Personally, I’m excited to watch their performance in Brazil because this team have gone through several changes not only sport wise, but also politically. Now, Spain, England, and Russia have qualified too. It would have been a shocker if the still reigning champion would have not qualified. Yet, that outcome is not-likely because like Bosnia and Russia, Spain is the leader of their group.
Chile and Ecuador
In other confederations, CONCACAF and CONMEBOL have closed its doors for qualification rounds. First, the South American showdown between Chile vs. Ecuador and Uruguay vs. Argentina. Out of all the mentioned CONMEBOL teams, Argentina had the upper hand because they qualified on September, so the team could have easily just laid flat on their back if they wanted to. Yet, Uruguay vs. Argentina is a South American classic. In other words, the game as expected was filled with drama. Yet, Uruguay’s immediate ticket to Brazil was stopped by Chile’s victory. One might ask, what does Chile’s victory mean exactly? Well, Chile’s victory was not a clean slate because Ecuador managed to score one goal; therefore, mathematically speaking, between Chile and Ecuador, a tie or either team scoring hindered Uruguay’s instant qualification. Hence, Chile vs. Ecuador had no losers, just winners. As for Uruguay, they have to compete against New Zealand next month.
CONCACAF’s final games were also theatrical because Mexico, Panama, and Honduras fought to get their ticket to Brazil. The ultimate winner is Honduras by beating the already eliminated Jamaica. Still, their victory fortified a solid third place in comparison to Panama and Mexico. Both teamed played against the qualified teams of USA and Costa Rica. Still, the qualified did not make this journey easy for Panama or Mexico. Costa Rica vs. Mexico was not an easy game for Mexico because los Ticos (nick name for Costa Rica) came in ready to rumble. Clearly they intimidated the Mexican team, yet Mexico also gave it their all. Although Mexico did lose this game against Costa Rica, the USA victory against Panama gave Mexico the opportunity to enter the CONCACAF – OFC play-off. As for Panama, they were close to stop Mexico from advancing from to the World Cup, but they lost. In the end, the only team that officially qualified for the third place is Honduras.
What’s the Next Round and Final Round before 2014?
Here’s the sad part of the qualifiers because the following teams heading for the play-offs have this opportunity and there are no second chances. Not all teams blew their chances by losing a tons of times, per say, in UEFA there are 13 spots. It may seem too many spots for the European nations, in reality, UEFA is the largest confederation; therefore, it is tougher and much more challenging to get in. While a second place may get a team qualified, in the UEFA confederation – a second place equals to play-offs. A third place and below is immediately eliminated.
On October 21st in Zurich, the second places will be determined based on their FIFA rankings which teams will face next month. The following teams will play their first leg between November 13-14 and the final leg on November 19th.
Iceland, Romania, Ukraine, France, Sweden, Portugal, Greece, and Croatia
Another large confederation is CAF (Confederation of African Football) and like UEFA, the second place of each group will face each other. CAF confederation played the first leg of their play-offs and the second leg is played on November 16th – 19th. Unfortunately, the first leg was a bittersweet victory for Nigeria because they won against Ethiopia 2-1, but Real Betis midfielder, Nosa Igiebor was attacked after the game and taken to the ER. According to BBC Sports, Igiebor is currently injured. Hopefully Nosa recuperates triumphantly and FIFA takes action to avoid another violent act. Football is not war nor it should provoke shameful acts like the one Nosa had to suffer through.
November 19th is a crucial date for CAF because the final run will determine the final five. Clearly, the first leg determined several winners will enter the second leg with a slight advantage, yet no one can sing victory until the referee blows the final whistle.
OCT 15 * Bolded names won the first leg*
Burkina Faso vs Algeria (3-2)
Ghana vs Egypt (6-1)
Ivory Coast vs Senegal (3-1)
Ethiopia vs Nigeria (1-2)
Tunisia vs Cameroon (0-0)
Don’t miss the finale this November. 32 teams from around the world will head to Brazil from June 12 to July 13, 2014.
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