CONCACAF 2022 Qualifiers

Canucks4Ever

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ICYMI: New qualifying format announced today by the powers that be in CONCACAF.


So the top six CONCACAF teams based on FIFA World Ranking as of June 2020 got straight into the Hex. Everybody else plays for a backdoor with 8 groups of either 3 or 4 teams and the 8 winners of said groups advancing to two-leg knockout home and away quarter finals, semi finals and final. That back door winner gets a two-leg playoff with fourth place in the Hex for the right to go to the Intercontinental Playoff against a team from either OFC (Oceana), CONMEBOL (South America) or AFC (Asia) for one of the last spots in Qatar.

FYI: Canada currently sit #8 in CONCACAF, 30 points behind El Salvador who are currently #6.


This now puts a massive amount of additional meaning to the up coming Nations League group stage games (which is obviously exactly what CONCACAF want). For anyone who likes math the formula for how the FIFA rankings are calculated can be found here:


Nation's League group stage games have a factor of 15, so Canada's games against Cuba are now essentially must win while a the benefits of a win against the US could be almost immeasurable. Realistically though, Canada are likely to lose those US games you would think, meaning that Herdman will have to do the math and find friendlies in for the March window that give us a chance to move into the top six, depending on how the other teams around us have fared.

Overall, the initial reaction to this new qualifying has been largely negative. However, as mentioned, with CONCACAF wanting to give credence to its new Nations League, they were going to have to alter their format as their would simply not be enough windows to get all the matches in.

My prediction would be that Canada stays roughly where it is in CONCACAF, finishing 7 or 8, outside of the Hex. We then romp to wins in our "everybody gets a chance" group against minnows like St. Lucia, Aruba, Suriname, etc. before choking horribly in the quarterfinals. Likely against insert one of Nicaragua/Guatemala/Trinidad to whom, after playing conservatively at home in the first leg and expounding the great advantage that keeping a clean sheet in a 0-0 gives us, we lose away to and are once more out of the World Cup after woefully under performing.
 
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