Friday, November 23, 2007

World Cup Qualifying Draw

As many of you know, the qualifying draw for the 2010 World Cup will be made on Sunday in Durban, South Africa, the host nation for the world's biggest tournament. Because this is an English, American, and to a lesser extent, European soccer blog, I'll only be posting the UEFA and CONCACAF qualifying groups and commenting on those; if you want to see where your favorite Asian or African national team was drawn, there are plenty of other websites out there on which you can look.

Here are some notes surrounding the draw, taken straight from the BBC:

"The event will see Asia's groups drawn first, followed by those in the CONCACAF region, made up of countries in central and north America and the Caribbean.

About an hour into the draw, Europe will be put in the spotlight when its 53 teams are divided into nine qualifying groups - eight of six teams and one of five.

The winners of each European group will qualify for the World Cup finals and the best eight runners-up play off for four more qualifying berths.

The evening rounds off with the draw for the African Zone, where 48 teams will be placed into 12 groups of four teams.

There is no draw for South America and the Oceania region, who have already started their preliminary competition.

Europe has the biggest representation at the World Cup finals with 13 places.

Africa will have three rounds of qualification, the first of which is already completed.

Asia has five stages of qualification, two of which have been completed.

All of CONCACAF's 35 members have entered four stages of qualifying, the first two of which will be played on a knockout basis.

The 10 South American countries (CONMEBOL) began their super group in October.

Oceania is already deep into its qualifying campaign with a group competition involving Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand and Vanuatu."

England won't be amongst Europe's top seeds after they slipped to #12 in the latest FIFA world rankings, meaning they will be drawn in the same group as one of the following nations: Italy, the defending champions, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Holland, Greece, and the Czech Republic. Obviously from an English perspective, they'll hope to get drawn into a group with Greece.


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