2014 World Cup qualifying update
Here is a look at where each region stands:
Africa: In Round 2, the 40 teams remaining are paired in 10 groups of four each and have played two matches each in group play. This round will continue until September 2013. Group leaders advance to the next round, which currently are: Ethiopia (Group A), Tunisia (B), Ivory Coast (C), Sudan (D), Congo and Gabon (co-leaders in E), Nigeria (F), Egypt (G), Benin (H), Libya (I) and Senegal (J).
Asia: In Round 4, the 10 teams remaining are paired in two groups of five each, with some teams having played three matches each in group play. This round will continue until June 2013. The group winners advance to the World Cup, which currently are South Korea (A) and Japan (B), as well as the group runners-up, which are currently Iran and Qatar (tied in A) and Iraq and Australia (tied in B).
Europe: With Euro 2012 in the books, all European teams will begin group play on Sept. 7. The eight group winners qualify for the World Cup, and the eight runners-up will be drawn into four home-and-home series for the four remaining spots. Group play will continue until Oct. 15, 2013.
North/Central America and the Caribbean: In Round 3, the 12 remaining teams are paired in three groups of four each and have played two matches each in group play. This round will conclude Oct. 16. The top two teams in each group advance to Round 4, which are currently the United States and Jamaica (A), Mexico and Costa Rica (B) and Panama and Canada (C).
Of particular note, the U.S. will be hosting Jamaica at Crew Stadium in Columbus on Sept. 11.
Oceania: The four semifinalists are New Caledonia, New Zealand, Solomon Islands and Tahiti, and they will have round-robin play between Sept. 7 and March 26. Oceania gets "half" of a World Cup qualifying spot, with the winner playing the fourth-place CONCACAF team for a berth in Brazil.
South America: Group play is already well under way for the nine countries contesting South America. Since Brazil is the World Cup host, it does not have to participate in qualifying. The current top four teams in South American qualifying are Chile (12 points), Uruguay (11), Argentina (10) and Ecuador (9).
- Chris Lillstrung | @CLillstrungNH