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Concacaf World Cup Qualifying start date moved to March 2021


The COVID-19 pandemic impacted many leagues and tournaments around the world this year and has now forced Concacaf to push back its start date for World Cup Qualifying.

Concacaf announced Tuesday that qualifying matches for the 2022 FIFA World Cup will kick off in March 2021. The schedule was originally scheduled to begin in Oct. or Nov. 2020 but due to the pandemic continuing to impact all around the world, Concacaf and FIFA agreed on the change.

“Many parts of the region continue to have very challenging public health situations, and that has been a key factor in this decision,” Concacaf said in a statement. “Additionally, several countries across the confederation have travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, which would make international football involving 30 national teams extremely difficult.”

Among the teams scheduled to feature in the qualifying round is Canada, Trinidad & Tobago, Curacao, Panama, and Cuba.

The U.S. Men’s National Team was scheduled to begin play in the octagonal final round in June 2021, but due to the movement of the qualifying round, its matches will likely take place in the Fall. Gregg Berhalter’s team will also take part in the 2021 Gold Cup, currently scheduled to begin in June.

Berhalter’s squad last took the field on Feb. 1, 2020 in a 1-0 friendly win over Costa Rica in California. The pandemic forced the cancellation of March friendlies at both Wales and the Netherlands, in which U.S. Soccer has yet to announce any friendlies for this Fall.

2021 will certainly be a busy year for international play with the Tokyo Olympics, European Championships, World Cup Qualifying, and the Concacaf Gold Cup all scheduled to take place.


  1. This now would allow a top roster for the GC to prep for qualifying since their won’t be June qualifiers. Although given the compressed schedule some top players could be allowed to rest if we’re able to finish the Nations League.

    • I always get confused with how y’all want to play to win with the supposed “top roster” with players who actually don’t win that much. Definitional insanity. So, what, we add Reyna and Sargent to the same guys who couldn’t win 2019? Be serious. If you want “to win” you actually need to take some risks. If you want to play the “incumbents,” they already took second and then barely escaped a NL group with Canada and Cuba. But maybe if we give them 8 more games The System TM kicks in or something.

      • 2019 GC also didn’t include Brooks and Adams due to injury, Weah and Dest were at the U20 WC, Yeuill was left off the prelim roster. With Sargent and Reyna that you named that’s 7 likely starters or regular subs that didn’t play in the GC and we are still 10 months out. In the next 10 months we are likely to see Aaronson and McKenzie in Europe, Mendez debut for Ajax, Ledezma debut at PSV and Llanez make his pro debut. Throw in Richards and Vassilev also possibly playing Top 5 league football and the roster is very unlikely to resemble the 2019 squad. That doesn’t even include dual nats Johnny, Konrad, or Gioacochini. Also, I don’t really care if we win the GC, we won it in 2017 and failed to qualify that fall. We don’t have to be the best in Concacaf we just have to be top 3.
        As for your Covid thoughts, I think this schedule is based on there being an effective and widely available vaccine. That looks probable by next Summer but as you point out not certain. It certainly wouldn’t surprise me if it changes again.

    • To be blunt, they have already changed the format once, and the key countries are not getting that much smarter about virus policy. They finally give in on masks but then send many of their kids back to school and college in person. All these schedules have an asterix until the background reasons they keep getting rebooted go away ie smarter public health policies and/or vaccine(s). To run GC on time you need all this preliminary stuff running on time too, which is often the Central American or Carribean qualifying. If the other moving parts are seized up then everything else gets shifted as well. GC may give way to completing other aspects of quali. We shall see.


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