Sunday, March 31, 2013

2014 World Cup update

With the World Cup qualifying calendar in a holding pattern until June, here is another look at who has the upper hand in each region for 2014 FIFA World Cup spots - obviously with a lot of soccer left to play:

AFRICA - In Round 2, with 10 group winners advancing to Round 3. The current group leaders are Ethiopia (A), Tunisia (B), Ivory Coast (C), Zambia (D), Congo (E), Nigeria and Malawi (tied on points and goal differential in F), Egypt (G), Algeria (H), Cameroon (I) and Senegal (J).

ASIA - In Round 4, with the group winners and group runners-up qualifying for the World Cup. Uzbekistan currently leads Group A with 11 points, one point ahead of South Korea (10). In Group B, Japan has a comfortable advantage with 13 points, and Jordan is in second with seven points. The two third-place teams advance to a playoff, and those are currently Iran and Australia.

EUROPE - Nine group winners advance to the World Cup, and very early in qualifying, group leaders are Belgium (A), Italy (B), Germany (C), Netherlands (D), Switzerland (E), Russia (F), Bosnia-Herzegovina (G), Montenegro (H) and Spain (I).

NORTH AMERICA/CARIBBEAN - In Round 4, the top three teams advance to the World Cup and the fourth-place squad gets a playoff for a spot. The top three are currently Panama, Costa Rica and the United States, with Honduras in fourth on goal differential.

OCEANIA - The winner of Round 3 advances to an intercontinental playoff. New Zealand won the group with a 6-0 record and 18 points and will await the fourth-place team from North America/Caribbean.

SOUTH AMERICA - In its group format, Brazil automatically advances as 2014 host. The top four advance to the World Cup, and the fifth-place team goes into a playoff. The current top four is Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia and Chile, with Venezuela in fifth.

- Chris Lillstrung | @CLillstrungNH


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