Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Latest on the Road to Brasil 2014

Greetings football fans,

Pompey Canuck here again with an update on the Road to Brasil 2014. After the grand spectacle of the World Cup (which required many late nights & early mornings to follow from Australia), I spent two travelling around the Outback, making it difficult to keep up with the all of the football news...but I have found out some crucial info affecting Canada's journey to Brasil.

First off, after the strong performances of our CONCACAF brethren Mexico & the States at the World Cup in South Africa, CONCACAF has seen our Global co-efficient rise from the minimum .85 to .88! That is great news! It means that Canada will now get more ranking points for beating CONCACAF opponents, which should see all CONCACAF teams move up the overall FIFA rankings. It also means that CONCACAF is the third strongest football federation in the World after Europe and South America (which both have the maximum co-efficient of 1). I should also point out that the strong performance of Ghana boosted the CAF to .86 leaving only Asia & Oceania on the minimum.

Second, I have the current standings for the May 2011 FIFA rankings, which as far as I am aware is still when the draw for World Cup Qualifying is likely to take place. The top six are seeded in the draw and should progress to the final stage. So without further ado here are the standings which include Puerto Rico's win over Anguilla on October 2.

May 2011 Rank Country Points
1 USA 963
2 Mexico 835
3 Honduras 499
4 Costa Rica 440
5 Canada 366
6 Panama 346

7 Jamaica 344
8 El Salvador 273
9 T & T 254
10 Grenada
11 Guatemala 142
12 Haiti 123
13 Antigua 121
14 Puerto Rico 117
15 Guyana 105
16 Dominica 101
17 Bermuda 94
18 Cuba 82
19 Barbados 72
20 St. Kitts 68
21 Suriname 67
22 St. Vincent 58
23 N. Antilles 57
24 Nicaragua 53
25 Belize 44
26 Cayman Islands 24
27 Turks & Caicos 13
27 St. Lucia 13
29 British VI 12
30 Bahamas 9
31 Aruba 7
32 Dominican R. 4
33 USVI 3
34 Anguilla 0
34 Montserrat 0

There you have it: Canada is sitting in 5th place. However we are by no means comfortably in 5th place - Panama and Jamaica are right on our heels. Now with May 2011 just around the corner, the matches we play count for a lot more towards the standings, so it is not out of the question for Canada to catch Costa Rica or even Honduras. To give you an idea of the amount of movement possible, Dominica picked up two wins over Barbados, grabbing nearly 100 points and moving from 26th to 16th. With that in mind, here are the matches coming up for the top eleven teams in October:

USA - Home to Poland & Colombia
Mexico - Home to Venezuela
Honduras - Away to New Zealand, Home to Guatemala
Costa Rica - Away to Peru, Home to El Salvador
Canada - Away to Ukraine
Panama - Home to El Salvador & Peru
Jamaica - Home to Trinidad & Tobago
El Salvador - Away to Panama & Costa Rica
Trinidad & Tobago - Away to Jamaica
Grenada - No matches scheduled
Guatemala - Home to Belize, Away to Honduras

If Canada manages a victory over Ukraine it will take our points total to 471. That would put us ahead of Costa Rica if they drop both of their matches and just behind Honduras if they lose theirs. It is going to be a close fight to make the top six no matter what happens. That said, because Canada have been playing matches we are going to be a lot better off than we were four years ago, when we were only the 11th ranked side in the region.

I am going to put out the next update at the start of November. Look for a lot of movement from some of the smaller nations as the qualifiers for the 2011 Gold Cup get underway.

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