Sunday, July 31, 2011

The 2014 World Cup alternative draw

The draw for the 2014 World Cup was made by FIFA based on the FIFA rankings to make up the following groups in Europe:
Group A
Croatia, Serbia, Belgium, Scotland, Macedonia, Wales
Group B
Italy, Denmark, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Armenia, Malta

Group C
Germany, Sweden, Republic of Ireland, Austria, Faroe Islands, Kazakhstan

Group D
Netherlands, Turkey, Hungary, Romania, Estonia, Andorra

Group E
Norway, Slovenia, Switzerland, Albania, Cyprus, Iceland

Group F
Portugal, Russia, Israel, Northern Ireland, Azerbaijan, Luxembourg

Group G
Greece, Slovakia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Lithuania, Latvia, Liechtenstein

Group H
England, Montenegro, Ukraine, Poland, Moldova, San Marino

Group I
Spain, France, Belarus, Georgia, Finland

The above groups were created by placing teams into pots according to the FIFA rankings and drawing one from each pot to create a group.
Pot 1: Spain, Netherlands, Germany, England, Portugal, Italy, Croatia, Norway, Greece.
Pot 2: France, Montenegro, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Slovenia, Turkey, Serbia, Slovakia.
Pot 3: Switzerland, Israel, Republic of Ireland, Belgium, Czech Republic, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Belarus, Ukraine, Hungary.
Pot 4: Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia, Lithuania, Albania, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Austria, Poland.
Pot 5: Armenia, Finland, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Moldova, Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Faroe Islands.
Pot 6: Wales, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Malta, Andorra, San Marino.

Based on the Ziaian ranking system the pots would have taken a different look, resulting in a different outcome.

Pot 1: Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, Italy, Sweden, France, England, Croatia.
Pot 2: Republic of Ireland, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, Turkey, Ukraine, Greece, Russia, Czech Republic.
Pot 3: Serbia, Slovenia, Romania, Israel, Belgium, Poland, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Hungary.
Pot 4: Scotland, Belarus, Slovakia, Georgia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Lithuania, Austria, Northern Ireland, Finland.
Pot 5: Armenia, Estonia, Wales, Macedonia, Latvia, Cyprus, Albania, Moldova, Iceland.
Pot 6: Azerbaijan, Liechtenstein, Kazakhstan, Faroe Islands, Luxembourg, Malta, Andorra, San Marino.

The first name out of the hat was Wales, or team one from pot 6, which would have been Azerbaijan. Following the rest of the procedure in the same vein would create the following groups:

Group A
France, Russia, Israel, Lithuania, Latvia, Azerbaijan
Group B
Sweden, Turkey, Belgium, Scotland, Armenia, Malta

Group C
Germany, Norway, Romania; Northern Ireland, Iceland, Faroe Islands

Group D
Netherlands, Greece, Hungary, Belarus, Wales, Andorra

Group E
England, Ukraine, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kazakhstan

Group F
Italy, Switzerland, Slovenia, Austria, Moldova, Luxembourg

Group G
Croatia, Czech Republic, Poland, Georgia, Latvia, Liechtenstein

Group H
Portugal, Denmark, Montenegro, Finland, Cyprus, San Marino

Group I
Spain, Republic of Ireland, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Estonia

This would have produced a much fairer draw with more balanced groups.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The road to Brazil

The preliminary qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup got underway in Asia and the Caribbean islands. Bahamas sailed past Turks & Caicos picking up a 10-0 aggregate win while St Lucia needed a penalty shootout at home after suffering a 4-2 defeat away to Aruba and in the battle of the Virgin Islands the U.S. got the better of the British winning 2-1 away and 2-0 at home.
In Asia Mongolia shocked Myanmar with a single goal in Ulaan Baatar though they were sunk by a double in the return match and Philippines enjoyed a 4-0 win at home to Sri Lanka while Malaysia had to rely on away goals after losing 3-2 in Taiwan. Afghanistan held their Palestinian hosts to a 1-1 draw but lost 2-0 at home while Laos reversed their 4-2 defeat in Cambodia and scored 2 more in extra-time to eliminate their Cambodian visitors. In the final round Nepal who had already been annihilated 9-0 in their away match held Jordan to a 1-1 draw in Kathmandu while Bangladesh rallied to a 2-0 win over Lebanon only halving the deficit from the first leg and Qatar lost 2-1 in Vietnam but progressed thanks to a 3-0 win in their home tie.
Brazil themselves took part in Copa America hosted by Argentina and won by Uruguay who moved into 2nd place in the rankings. The Brazilians began with a goalless match against Venezuela and were eliminated in the next round on penalties as were Argentina who were held to a 1-1 draw by Bolivia in their first match. Venezuela put Chile out 2-1 and eventually finished 4th losing 4-1 to Peru who had struck twice in extra-time to eliminate Colombia.
Earlier the Gold Cup was hosted by U.S.A. who were humiliated 2-1 by Panama, but reached the final where they were outclassed 4-2 by the Mexicans.