For a long time, the Asian Football Confederation has had an additional half a spot for World Cup qualification. Similarly, the Oceanic Football Confederation has had a half a spot for World Cup qualification for quite some time as well.
My proposal would finally see the merging of the AFC and the OFC into one football confederation. I believe that this would result in five World Cup Qualification spots, and leave the only half spots between CONCACAF and CONMEBOL.
Immediately merging the two confederations would result in one confederation of 57 teams – a bigger confederation than UEFA.
Obviously, this requires some juggling around to work out the process of World Cup qualification.
I believe that the Asian Football Confederation has a solid model for qualification that would involve the smaller nations in the Oceanic Football Confederation.
Using the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification model for the Asian Football Confederation, I can show what I believe would be the fairest result for all the OFC nations.
Countries who get a bye to the third round
These are teams ranked 1-6 in the now combined AFC/OFC rankings, and competed in the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals and the intercontinental playoffs.
Countries who get a bye to the second round
United Arab Emirates
These are teams ranked 7-31 in the AFC rankings as well as the three first round losers with the ‘best’ results, plus the three OFC teams who participated in the third round of World Cup qualification but did not qualify for the World Cup finals.
Teams ranked 32 to 57 enter at the first round
Papua New Guinea
World Cup Qualification Modelling
Under this model, the first round would consist of 13 home and away fixtures.
For the purpose of this modelling, I assume that Brunei, Bhutan and Guam are competing.
Based on FIFA World Rankings for June 2013, the seeded teams would be:
Sri Lanka (172)
Chinese Taipei (175)
The non-seeded teams would be:
Brunei Darussalam (185)
Papua New Guinea (194)
American Samoa (197)
Cook Islands (201)
Based on a random draw I conducted out of two hats, the 13 games of the first round would be as follows:
Vietnam (133) versus Fiji (182)
Afghanistan (140) versus Bhutan (207)
Palestine (151) versus Cambodia (189)
Philippines (144) versus Brunei Darussalam (185)
Malaysia (159) versus Cook Islands (201)
Sri Lanka (172) versus Tonga (190)
Bangladesh (152) versus Samoa (188)
Chinese Taipei (175) versus American Samoa (197)
Guam (178) versus Papua New Guinea (194)
Pakistan (168) versus Macau (202)
Mynamar (155) versus Vanuatu (191)
Laos (168) versus Mongolia (182)
Nepal (171) versus Timor-Leste (185)
If you call the winner of each of those games WX, where X is the game number (for example, the winner of Vietnam versus Fiji would be coded W1), the second round draw would be drawn at the same time as the first round.
This would result in 19 games with the following draw:
Iraq (98) versus W11 (winner of Mynamar and Vanuatu)
Jordan (75) versus W2 (winner of Afghanistan and Bhutan)
Saudi Arabia (108) versus W10 (winner of Pakistan and Macau)
Thailand (142) versus W13 (winner of Nepal versus Timor-Leste)
New Caledonia (97) versus W1 (winner of Vietnam and Fiji)
Tajikistan (112) versus W8 (winner of Chinese Taipei and American Samoa)
Tahiti (138) versus Singapore (165)
United Arab Emirates (87) versus Maldives (157)
Kuwait (111) versus W9 (winner of Guam and Papua New Guinea)
Lebanon (131) versus India (147)
Kyrgyzstan (143) versus Solomon Islands (166)
Oman (101) versus Yemen (173)
China PR (95) versus W6 (winner of Sri Lanka and Tonga)
Turkmenistan (132) versus Indonesia (170)
Hong Kong (147) versus W12 (winner of Laos and Mongolia)
Iran (67) versus W7 (winner of Bangladesh and Samoa)
Syria (138) versus W4 (winner of Philippines and Brunei Darussalam)
Uzbekistan (58) versus W3 (winner of Palestine and Cambodia)
Qatar (104) versus W5 (winner of Malaysia and Cook Islands)
The second round resulted in 19 winners. This combines with the six teams that got byes into the third round which comes to a total of 25 teams.
I propose that the original five groups of four teams should become five groups of five teams.
I would rank the six teams who got the bye through to the third round in the following order:
Korea Republic (40)
New Zealand (57)
Korea DPR (114)
The top five teams (Japan, Korea Republic, Australia, New Zealand and Korea DPR) would receive top billing in each group, and then the remaining 20 entrants would then be ranked in order of their FIFA World Ranking at the relevant time.
Each group would take part in a double round robin tournament, where the top two countries would go through to the fourth and final round.
As tempted as I was to make this one group of 10, I simply wasn’t convinced there was sufficient time in the international calendar for 18 matches in an 18 month period.
Therefore, I have opted to leave the AFC model as is – two groups of five teams, the top two teams automatically qualify and the third team in each group would play off for the fifth and final spot for World Cup Qualification.
This is just my idea – obviously there are many models for FIFA World Cup qualification that could be used.
I’m always interested to hear what people have to think about my thoughts and opinions – let me know.