For a long time, the Asian Football Confederation has had an additional half a spot for World Cup Qualification. Similarly, the Oceanic Football Confederation has had a half a spot for World Cup Qualification for quite some time as well.
My proposal would finally see the merging of the AFC and the OFC into one football confederation. I believe that this would result in 5 World Cup Qualification spots, and leave the only half spots between CONCACAF and CONMEBOL.
Immediately merging the two confederations would result in one confederation of 57 teams, a bigger confederation than UEFA.
Obviously, this requires some juggling around to work out the process of World Cup Qualification.
I believe that the Asian Football Confederation has a solid model for qualification that would involve the smaller nations in the Oceanic Football Confederation.
Using the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification model for the Asian Football Confederation, I can show what I believe would be the fairest result for all the OFC nations.
- South Korea
- North Korea
- New Zealand
Countries who get a bye to the second round (these are teams ranked 7-31 in the AFC rankings as well as the three first round losers with the “best” results, and the three OFC teams who participated in the third round of World Cup Qualification but did not qualify for the World Cup finals)
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
- China PR
- Hong Kong
- New Caledonia
- Solomon Islands
Teams ranked 32 to 57 enter at the first round
- Sri Lanka
- Chinese Taipei
- Brunei Darussalam
- Papua New Guinea
- American Samoa
- Cook Islands
WORLD CUP QUALIFICATION MODELLING
Under this model, the first round would consist of 13 home and away fixtures. For the purpose of this modelling, I assume that Brunei, Bhutan and Guam are competing.
The seeded teams would be (based on FIFA World Rankings for June 2013):
- Vietnam (133)
- Afghanistan (140)
- Philippines (144)
- Palestine (151)
- Bangladesh (152)
- Mynamar (155)
- Malaysia (159)
- Laos (168)
- Pakistan (168)
- Nepal (171)
- Sri Lanka (172)
- Chinese Taipei (175)
- Guam (178)
The non-seeded teams would be:
- Fiji (182)
- Mongolia (182)
- Brunei Darussalam (185)
- Timor-Leste (185)
- Samoa (188)
- Cambodia (189)
- Tonga (190)
- Vanuatu (191)
- Papua New Guinea (194)
- American Samoa (197)
- Cook Islands (201)
- Macau (202)
- Bhutan (207)
Based on a random draw I conducted out of two hats, the thirteen games of the first round would be as follows:
- Vietnam (133) vs Fiji (182)
- Afghanistan (140) vs Bhutan (207)
- Palestine (151) vs Cambodia (189)
- Philippines (144) vs Brunei Darussalam (185)
- Malaysia (159) vs Cook Islands (201)
- Sri Lanka (172) vs Tonga (190)
- Bangladesh (152) vs Samoa (188)
- Chinese Taipei (175) vs American Samoa (197)
- Guam (178) vs Papua New Guinea (194)
- Pakistan (168) vs Macau (202)
- Mynamar (155) vs Vanuatu (191)
- Laos (168) vs Mongolia (182)
- Nepal (171) vs Timor-Leste (185)
If you call the winner of each of those games WX, where X is the game number (for example, the winner of Vietnam vs Fiji would be coded W1), the second round draw would be drawn at the same time as the first round. This would result in 19 games with the following draw:
- Iraq (98) vs W11 (winner of Mynamar and Vanuatu)
- Jordan (75) vs W2 (winner of Afghanistan and Bhutan)
- Saudi Arabia (108) vs W10 (winner of Pakistan and Macau)
- Thailand (142) vs W13 (winner of Nepal vs Timor-Leste)
- New Caledonia (97) vs W1 (winner of Vietnam and Fiji)
- Tajikistan (112) vs W8 (winner of Chinese Taipei and American Samoa)
- Tahiti (138) vs Singapore (165)
- United Arab Emirates (87) vs Maldives (157)
- Kuwait (111) vs W9 (winner of Guam and Papua New Guinea)
- Lebanon (131) vs India (147)
- Kyrgyzstan (143) vs Solomon Islands (166)
- Oman (101) vs Yemen (173)
- China PR (95) vs W6 (winner of Sri Lanka and Tonga)
- Turkmenistan (132) vs Indonesia (170)
- Hong Kong (147) vs W12 (winner of Laos and Mongolia)
- Iran (67) vs W7 (winner of Bangladesh and Samoa)
- Syria (138) vs W4 (winner of Philippines and Brunei Darussalam)
- Uzbekistan (58) vs W3 (winner of Palestine and Cambodia)
- Qatar (104) vs W5 (winner of Malaysia and Cook Islands)
The second round resulted in 19 winners. This combines with the 6 teams that got byes into the 3rd round which comes to a total of 25 teams.
I propose that the original 5 groups of 4 teams should become 5 groups of 5 teams.
I would rank the 6 teams who got the bye through to the third round in the following order:
- Japan (32)
- Korea Republic (40)
- Australia (47)
- New Zealand (57)
- Korea DPR (114)
- Bahrain (117)
The top 5 teams (Japan, Korea Republic, Australia, New Zealand and Korea DPR) would receive top billing in each group, and then the remaining 20 entrants would then be ranked in order of their FIFA World Ranking at the relevant time.
Each group would take part in a double round robin tournament, where the top 2 countries would go through to the fourth and final round.
As tempted as I was to make this one group of 10, I simply wasn’t convinced there was sufficient time in the international calendar for 18 matches in an 18 month period.
Therefore, I have opted to leave the AFC model as is – two groups of five teams, the top 2 teams automatically qualify and the third team in each group would play off for the fifth and final spot for World Cup Qualification.
This is just my idea – obviously there are many models for FIFA World Cup qualification that could be used.
I’m always interested to hear what people have to think about my thoughts and opinions – let me know.