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Proposal: USMNT to start World Cup qualifying in semifinal round next June


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CONCACAF has submitted its proposal for 2014 World Cup qualifying to FIFA, and under the proposed set-up, the United States and the five other highest-ranked teams in the region according to the March FIFA world rankings will begin qualifying in the semifinal round in June, 2012.

Under the proposal, which will be reviewed by the FIFA Executive Committee at the end of May, the preliminary round will consist of 10 nations vying for five spots in the first round. The preliminary winners and first-round entrants will go through a group stage featuring six groups of four teams each. Those six group winners will be entered into another group stage — this one with three groups of four — with the United States, Mexico, Honduras, Jamaica, Costa Rica and Cuba.

The top two teams in each group will advance to the final round of qualifying, the hexagonal, where each team plays each other home and away, and the top three teams automatically qualify for the World Cup. The fourth-place team would play in a qualifying playoff against a team from a different region. If the proposal is approved, the United States would play up to two fewer games than it has in each of the last two qualifying cycles.

What do you think of the proposal?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. HAHA funny, reminds of the times when US players have gotten kicked in the groin, choked out, slapped, stomped on, elbowed to the face…good times. Wish our players would grow a pair and not take it, but then again that’s not the American way.

  2. Never mind. It’s somewhat poorly explained, but the March 2011 rankings are used because the preliminary round AND the first round are played THIS summer, and the semi-final is played in 2012, so the six seeds who sit out the first round have to be determined now.

    It does affect the importance of rankings points earned during the Gold Cup.

  3. You have to understand that wins in official games are weighed more heavily in FIFA rankings than wins in friendly games. And the US has already scheduled a slew of friendlies against strong opponents – Brazil (a loss), Argentina (a tie), Spain (TBD), etc. How many points toward FIFA rankings they will get from these friendlies remains to be seen, but I suspect not many and these points will be even further discounted down because they were in friendly games. The irony is that playing a couple of low ranked teams in an official qualification tournament, even after downward adjustment for strenth of the opponents, is likely to give us more points towards FIFA rankings than a bunch of friendlies against strong teams.


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