The World Cup 2014 is underway!, this will probably be news to lots of Europeans but the World Cup Qualifiers are already underway and in fact have been since last year.

The reason behind this is a simple one, there are far more teams than places available in the competition and the only way you to fit them all in is to start early. The last World Cup was held in South Africa in 2010, it was still fresh in everybody’s mind when within the year the Asian teams were contesting the preliminary round.

This meant 43 teams chasing 4.5 spots (more about the .5 later, it started with the 38 lowest-ranked teams playing two preliminary rounds during June and July 2011, after this first round the following teams progressed to round 2; Laos, Nepal, Palestine, Philippines, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia.

The next set of games were played during Round 3, these games saw the following teams qualify for Round 4; China PR, Lebanon, Thailand, Indonesia, Iraq, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Jordan, Qatar, Singapore, Kuwait, Iran, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia.

The teams that progressed through Round 3 enter round 4 (these are the teams that qualified) in Group A: Korea Republic, Iran, Qatar, Uzbekistan, Lebanon and in Group B: Japan, Iraq, Australia, Oman, Jordan

This is made up of two groups of 5, the top two teams from these groups will qualify while the third place team from each group will play each other in round 5, a continental play off, the winner of this game becomes the .5 mentioned earlier. This team will enter round 6, which is an intercontinental play off with the 5th placed team of the South American playoff’s

1st Leg
Asia – South America
2nd Leg
South America – Asia

The Group 5 matches are expected to be played on 15 and 19 November 2013.

Africa

The continent’s 52 member associations will play for five available spots at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The 24 lowest-ranked teams contested Round 1, which was played in November 2011.

The following teams contested this first round

Sao Tome e Principe played Congo, Congo Won
Djibouti played Namibia, Namibia Won
Comoros played Mozambique, Mozambique won
Eritrea played Rwanda, Rwanda won
Swaziland played Congo DR, Congo DR won
Equatorial Guinea played Madagascar, Equatorial Guinea won
Chad played Tanzania, Tanzania won
Guinea Bissau played Togo, Togo won
Seychelles played Kenya, Kenya won
Lesotho played Burundi, Lesotho won
Somalia played Ethiopia, Ethiopia won

Round 2 comprises ten groups of 4 teams
Africa Round 3, consisting of ten groups, only the group winners can progress. These teams will be paired and they will play home and away, the five winning teams will qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

CONCACAF – Round 4, this comprises the top two teams from each of the three groups in round 3. They will meet in a home and away format between 6th of February 2013 and 15th October 2013, the top three teams in this mini league will qualify for the 2014 World Cup. The fourth place team will go on to play in an Intercontinental Play off against the winner of the Oceania Groups.

Intercontinental Playoffs
The Intercontinental play offs are to be played between the fourth placed team of North, Central America and the Caribbean plus the winner of Oceania. The games will be played over two legs between the 15th and 19th of November 2013

1st Leg North, Central America and the Caribbean – Oceania
2nd Leg Oceania – North, Central America and the Caribbean

Europe

All 53 European member associations will participate in the Preliminary Campaign for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The qualifiers will consist of nine groups, beginning in September 2012, 13 teams will qualify for the finals in Brazil.

EUROPE – Round 2 CONTINENTAL PLAY-OFFS
The nine group winners will automatically qualify for the finals while the eight best group runners up will contest Round 2. The eight teams will be paired off and will play home and away, the four winners will qualify for the finals.

North, Central America and Caribbean
With just 3.5 spots up for grabs, for the region’s 35 teams, the ten lowest ranked member associations contested Round 1 during June and July 2011. The following teams qualified from this round – Round 1 qualifiers were Belize, Bahamas, US Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, St Lucia.

The following teams were eliminated Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Aruba.

Round 2 consisted of 6 groups of 4 teams
The following teams progressed to round 3 Antigua & Barbuda, Guatemala, Canada, Panama, Guyana, El Salvador.
Round 3 Consist of three groups of four teams.

Oceania

New Zealand has qualified for the last four of the OFC Nations Cup with a 2-1 win that eliminated Papua New Guinea from contention, while Fiji and the Solomon Islands drew 0-0 to leave both still in contention.

The Solomon Islands kept their Brazil 2014 ambitions alive with a 1-1 draw against continental champions New Zealand, to the delight of an animated crowd in Honiara, while Fiji were eliminated after drawing against Papua New Guinea.

Eleven teams will battle it out for the right to play-off for a place at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The four lowest ranked teams contested Round One in November 2011. These teams are Samoa, Tonga, American Samoa, Cook Islands

Round 2
Group A Consisted of the following four teams, Tahiti, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Samoa
Group B Consisted of the following four teams, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea.

Tahiti and New Caledonia progressed from Group A with New Zealand and the Solomon Islands progressing from Group B

OCEANIA – Round 3

The four semi-finalists from Round 2 – New Caledonia, New Zealand, Solomon Islands and Tahiti – will play a round-robin round between 7 September 2012 and 26 March 2013. The winner advances to an intercontinental play-off.

Below is a list of the matches, they will take place between 7 September 2012/26 March 2013, the venues are yet to be decided.

7 September 2012
Solomon Islands v Tahiti
New Caledonia v New Zealand

11 September 2012
Tahiti v New Caledonia
New Zealand v Solomon Islands

12 October 2012
Tahiti v New Zealand
Solomon Islands v New Caledonia

16 October 2012
New Zealand v Tahiti
New Caledonia v Solomon Islands

22 March 2013
Tahiti v Solomon Islands
New Zealand v New Caledonia

26 March 2013
Solomon Islands v New Zealand
New Caledonia v Tahiti

Intercontinental Playoffs

The Intercontinental play-offs will be played between the fourth placed team of North, Central America and the Caribbean and the winner of Oceania, they are expected to be played on the 15th and 19th November 2013.

1st Leg North, Central America and the Caribbean – Oceania
2nd Leg Oceania – North, Central America and the Caribbean

South America
As the host nation, Brazil automatically qualify for the competition, the remaining nine Member Associations will play each other on a home and away basis for 4.5 spots between October 2011 and September 2013. The top 4 teams will automatically qualify, the fifth placed team will progress to an Intercontinental play off between the round 5 winner of the Asia Group. These games are expected to be played between 15th and 19th November 2013
1st Leg
Asia – South America
2nd Leg
South America – Asia

The South American teams in the league and their current standings are:

Team
Chile
Uruguay
Argentina
Ecuador
Venezuela
Colombia
Bolivia
Paraguay
Peru

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