Category Archives: soccer

2022 World Cup Update – Playoffs

There’s three spots left in the World Cup. Who’s playing, where, and when, you ask? Well, here’s the low-down.


Due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine shortly before the UEFA Second Round started, the matches involving Ukraine were postponed (and Russia was kicked out). In Path A, Wales has already defeated Austria. The Scotland vs. Ukraine matchup is currently scheduled to be made up on June 1st in Glasgow. The winner will then play Wales in Cardiff on June 5th for a spot in the World Cup.

Since the World Cup draw has already taken place, the winner of the three will kick off the Finals against the United States on November 21st.


Meanwhile, in Asia there’s two teams playing off for a spot in the playoffs. On June 7th, the United Arab Emirates and Australia will play in Qatar for AFC’s “half” spot.

Interconfederation Play-offs

Four teams will contest the remaining two spots on June 13th and 14th. Along with the AFC Fourth Round, these contests are being used a dry-run for the World Cup, and will all be played in Qatar.

First, the AFC winner will play Peru. The winner of that match will kick off the World Cup Finals against France on November 22nd.

A day later, Costa Rica will play New Zealand. Each contest is a single leg, and the winner advances directly to the World Cup, completing the field. They’ll also play Spain in on November 23rd.

2022 World Cup Update – CONCACAF Clinch Scenarios

See my previous post for the update for every other confederation. Here’s what the US, Mexico, and Costa Rica need to do to make the World Cup in their last matches.

The situation:

Team           Pts     GD        GS
Canada         28      +17       23
United States  25      +13       21
Mexico         25       +7       15
Costa Rica     22       +3       11

All other CONCACAF teams have been eliminated. Canada has qualified directly, and the remaining three can do no worse than go to the inter-confederation playoff in June.

Here’s the scenario:

  • The United States will clinch with any win or draw at Costa Rica.
  • The United States will clinch with a loss at Costa Rica by less than 6 goals.
    • The United States can also clinch with a loss if Mexico loses by a greater margin than the US.
  • Mexico will clinch with any win or draw against El Salvador.
  • Mexico will clinch with a loss if Costa Rica loses or draws against the United States.
  • Mexico can clinch with a loss and Costa Rica wins, depending on the margin in both matches (i.e., Mexico loses 1-0 and Costa Rica wins 1-0 would still put Costa Rica in on goal difference, +6 to +4, as well as the United States at +12).
  • Costa Rica can only clinch with a win and either:
    • Defeating the United States by 6 or more goals, putting them through on goal difference.
    • Defeating the United States by a sufficient margin to overcome Mexico’s goal difference advantage with a Mexico loss.

2022 World Cup Update – Clinch Scenarios

Hey folks, so this is going to be short and sweet. Qualification is going on around the world in literally every region. I’ll sum up the current action and what teams need to do to clinch a spot in the World Cup. And don’t forget, my page with details for every member of FIFA is updated through today!


All of the automatic qualifiers in Asia are set: South Korea, Iran, Japan, and Saudi Arabia. The remaining action is in Group A to determine who will face Australia to then determine who gets to play a South American team for the World Cup. The contenders are the UAE, Iraq, and Lebanon, who have 9, 8, and 6 points, respectively.

Unfortunately, none of the three play each other, which would make this easier. Here’s the scenarios:

  • UAE clinches advancement to the 5th round with a win over South Korea.
  • UAE clinches advancement with a draw or loss AND:
    • An Iraq loss or draw AND
    • A Lebanon draw or loss or win by less than 5 goals
  • Iraq clinches advancement to the next round with a win over Syria and any UAE draw or loss
  • Lebanon clinches advancement to the next round with a win by at least 5 goals and a UAE loss and an Iraq draw or loss


Not really any scenarios here: the African third round features five home-and-home matches, and the winner on aggregate goes to the World Cup. Away goals are a tiebreaker.

  • Egypt leads Senegal 1-0 (0-0 away goals)
  • Algeria leads Cameroon 1-0 (1-0 away goals)
  • Ghana and Nigeria drew 0-0 after the first match in Ghana
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo drew Morocco 1-1 at home (so away goals favor Morocco 1-0)
  • Tunisia leads Mali 1-0 (with a 1-0 away goals advantage for Tunisia as well)

The second matches will all be played on Tuesday.


South America’s automatic qualifiers are set: Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, and Uruguay are all in. Peru, Colombia, and Chile are still in contention for the playoff spot, with 21, 20, and 19 points, respectively.

  • Peru advances to the playoff with a win over Paraguay
  • Peru advances with a draw and a Colombia loss to Venezuela and a Chile draw or loss to Uruguay
  • Colombia advances with a win and a Peru draw or loss
  • Colombia advances with a draw and a Peru loss and a Chile draw or loss
  • Chile advances with a win and a Peru draw and a Colombia draw or loss


CONACAF still has 2 matches remaining, so the scenarios will only cover the next matchday.

  • Canada clinches World Cup qualification with a win over Jamaica
  • Canada clinches with a draw or loss and a Costa Rica draw or loss to El Salvador
  • United States clinches with a win over Panama and a Costa Rica draw or loss to El Salvador
  • Mexico clinches with a win over Honduras and a Costa Rica draw or loss to El Salvador


The Oceania qualifying is finally underway. After a group stage that saw two more teams drop out, the final bracket is set. Papua New Guinea will play the Solomon Islands, and New Zealand will play Tahiti. The winners will then face off to determine who advances to the inter-confederation playoff against CONCACAF.


The three paths are not completely and likely may not be for a few more months due to world events.

  • In Path A, Wales beat Austria 2-1 but is waiting for their opponent, either Scotland or Ukraine.
  • In Path B, Poland got a walkover against Russia and Sweden beat Czechia 1-0, setting up a Poland-Sweden faceoff for a spot.
  • In Path C, Portugal beat Turkey 3-1 and in a shocker North Macedonia beat Italy 1-0, setting up a Portual-North Macedonia match for a World Cup spot.

So that’s the update. Action resumes tomorrow, check your favor score app for details.

2022 World Cup Update

Hey, I definitely haven’t done of these in a while. So here’s the situation.

The World Cup will happen in Qatar in November of this year. It’s pretty close! Plus, as you might guess, a certain worldwide pandemic delayed most confederation’s qualifying tournaments. Let’s review the action so far, broken down by confederation.

And don’t forget: I have the status of every member of FIFA right here, including the date they either qualified or were eliminated. Take a look!


46 countries from Asia began competing in 2019 for four spots directly in the final field of 32 and one playoff spot. Asian qualifying was some of the first qualifying to be played, with the first qualifier for the 2022 World Cup taking place on June 6, 2019 between Mongolia and Brunei. (Mongolia won 2-0.) This was part of the first round series of home-and-home legs between the bottom 12 teams in the AFC.

The winners of those ties joined the other 34 countries in the second round. These 40 teams were then drawn into eight groups of five, with each team playing the other teams in their group twice.  These matches were played starting in September 2019 and were disrupted by the pandemic. and were resumed in 2021. Qatar, as the host country, also participated since the matches doubled as qualifiers for the AFC’s cup competition. Qatar won their group, so their group’s runner up (Oman) advanced, along with 4 other second-place teams to the third round.

The third round drew the 12 remaining teams into two groups of six, playing a double-round-robin. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the World Cup, and the third place teams will playoff for a spot in the playoff. Currently, only Iran has qualified. Later on in this post I have the scenarios for the next matchday in the AFC.


The bulk of African qualifying has been competed. The first round began with the 28 lowest ranked teams competing in home-and-home legs with the winner on aggregate advancing to the second round. These matches were competed in September 2019.

The second round, originally scheduled for 2020, was moved to September 2021. The second round consisted of 10 groups of 4 playing double-round-robin matches, with the 10 group winners advancing to the third round.

CAF’s third round is particularly brutal. Africa gets five spots in the World Cup, and so the 5 home-and-home matches will determine who qualifies. These matches will take place in late March, and feature a mix of classically strong African teams and some newcomers:

  • Egypt vs. Senegal
  • Algeria vs. Cameroon
  • Ghana vs. Nigeria
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo vs. Morocco
  • Mali vs. Tunisia


The confederation that’s home to North and Central America, and the Caribbean, originally envisioned a crazy final round designed to keep the smaller teams interested. The pandemic scuttled those plans, so I’ll focus on the format that actually happened.

The first round took place in March and June of 2021. The 30 lowest ranked teams were drawn into 6 groups of five, and played 4 single-round-robin matches. The group winners advanced to the second round.

The second round took place in late March 2021. The six group winners were paired off and played home-and-home matches, with the winner advancing on aggregate goals. None of these were particularly close: El Salvador advance 6-0 on aggregate, Canada advanced 4-0 on aggregate, and Panama advanced 2-1 on aggregate (with a shutout in the second leg). These three joined the top five ranked teams in CONCACAF for the third round, which is still on-going. The eight teams are playing a double-round-robin with the top three teams advancing directly to the World Cup, and the fourth place team advancing to a playoff. While no one can clinch in this window, Honduras has been eliminated and Jamaica can be eliminated on Wednesday. (See below.)


South America yet again has the most elegant qualifying format. The 10 teams play a double-round-robin. The top four advance directly to the World Cup, while the fifth place team goes to a playoff.

Despite a dustup in a match where Brazilian health officials tried to arrest Argentine players five minutes after the game started, both of South America’s top teams have already qualified. (Both are also undefeated.) The 10 teams will play again in the current international window, and then wrap up in March.


Many countries in Oceania have been the most cautious about the pandemic. Therefore, OFC qualifying hasn’t actually started yet. Of the 11 full members of the OFC, two (American Samoa and Samoa) did not enter, and Tonga withdrew after the recent volcanic disaster that hit the country. This leaves eight teams, including World Cup debutantes Cook Islands. The eight teams are divided into two groups of four. They will then play a single-round-robin and the two group winners will advance to a knockout tournament.

The tournament will take place entirely in Qatar from March 17 through March 30. The winner of tournament will then advance to a playoff against the 4th place team from CONCACAF. To put it mildly, if New Zealand is not the team that comes out of the OFC it will be one of the greatest shocks in the history of international soccer.


The major part of European qualifying is complete. Eight groups of 5 or 6 teams competed in the first round from March through November of 2021. The group winners qualified directly for the World Cup. The group runners up, and two third place teams that won their UEFA Nations League groups (trust me, figuring out when anyone in Europe was eliminated was complicated) advanced to the second round.

The 12 second round teams were drawn into three “paths”, where each path is essentially a 4 team knockout tournament that will take place in March. The three path winners will advance to the World Cup. And let me tell you, there’s some doozies. Here’s the three paths:

Path A

  • Scotland vs. Ukraine
  • Wales vs. Austria

Path B

  • Russia vs. Poland
  • Sweden vs. Czechia

Path C

  • Italy vs. North Macedonia
  • Portugal vs. Turkey

So yeah, probably Italy vs. Portugal with the World Cup on the line. Should be fun!

With that, we’ve completed our tour of the confederations’ formats. Let’s take a look at what could happen in the current window.

On the next matchday:

AFC (Tuesday, February 1)

Group A
South Korea can clinch with with a win over Syria.
South Korea can clinch with an United Arab Emirates loss or draw to Iran.
Syria will be eliminated with a loss.
Syria will be eliminated with an United Arab Emirates win over or draw with Iran.
Iraq will be eliminated with an United Arab Emirates win over Iran and a loss to Lebanon.
Lebanon will be eliminated with an United Arab Emirates win over Iran and a loss to Iraq.

Group B
Saudi Arabia can clinch with a win over Japan and an Australia loss to Oman.
Oman will be eliminated with a loss to Australia.
China will be eliminated with an Australia win or draw over Oman.

CONCACAF (Wednesday, February 2)
Jamaica will be eliminated with a Panama win over Mexico.
Jamaica will be eliminated with a loss to Costa Rica.

CONMEBOL (Tuesday, February 1)
Ecuador can clinch with a win over Peru and an Uruguay loss to Venezuela.
Bolivia will be eliminated with a loss to Chile, a Peru win over Ecaudor, and an Uruguay win over Venezuela.
Paraguay will be eliminated with a loss to Brazil and an Uruguay win over or draw with Venezeula.
Venezuela will be eliminated with a loss to Uruguay.

2018 World Cup Update: That’s a Wrap

Qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup is complete.

Knocked out since October: Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, South Africa, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Honduras, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Greece, Italy, and Ireland.

Qualified: Australia, Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco, Peru, Croatia, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark.

211 teams entered the qualifying tournament, starting with East Timor and Mongolia playing back on March 12, 2015. 979 days later, only 32 remain. The first team eliminated was Mongolia on March 17, 2015. The first team to qualify (other than the hosts) was Brazil, on March 27, 2017. The last team eliminated was New Zealand on November 15, 2017, and the last team to qualify was Peru, on the same date.

The status page with all teams has been updated for the final time.

This concludes our coverage of World Cup 2018 qualification. We’ll be back in two years, likely for the final time as the 48-team World Cup will render the drama of qualification obsolete.