2026 World Cup - Asian qualifiers

World Cup 2026, Euro 2028, etc.
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amenina
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2026 World Cup - Asian qualifiers

Post by amenina »

Stage set for FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027™ Qualifiers draw

https://www.the-afc.com/en/national/fif ... _draw.html

Kuala Lumpur: All eyes will be on the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Thursday, July 27, 2023 for the official draw ceremonies of the Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 1 and Round 2 of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027™ at 2pm and 4pm respectively.

As many as 45 Member Associations (MAs) are expected to discover their road to the 23rd FIFA World Cup, to be co-hosted by Canada, Mexico and the United States. This is the third time that the first two rounds of Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup will also serve as the Qualifiers for the AFC Asian Cup™.

As there will be 48 teams – a first – at the FIFA World Cup 2026, the AFC has made some changes to the qualification format as there will be eight and a half slots on offer for the Continent’s national teams. It means that the 18 lowest-ranked MAs out of the 45 – according to the next FIFA Ranking release on July 20 and subject to the number of entries submitted to FIFA – will begin their qualifying journey in Round 1.

These 18 teams will be divided into nine pairings, with each pair to play one home and one away match on October 12 and 17, 2023 respectively.

The nine winners of Round 1 proceed to Round 2, where they are joined by the remaining 27 teams. These 36 sides will be drawn into nine groups of four, competing against each team in a home-and-away round-robin format, between November 2023 and June 2024.

All nine group winners and the respective runners-up will advance to the third round of World Cup qualifying, and at the same time seal their places at the AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027™.

The draw for the third round of the global showpiece in 2026 will be conducted in 2024, where the 18 teams will be divided into three groups of six; the top two from each group will qualify directly for the FIFA World Cup 2026. The other two direct AFC entrants will be determined in the fourth round of World Cup qualifying, with one more possible berth available via an Intercontinental Playoff.

The other 18 teams from Round 2 will proceed directly to the third and final round of AFC Asian Cup™ qualifying. More details on the latter qualifying stages will be released in due course.
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Post by Kamtedrejt »

Very important thread as the World Cup remains the pinnacle of the game. The AFC is on the rise. It's worth to follow closely the Asian teams throughout their quest to reach the 2026 World Cup.

The WCQ draw will happen on 27 July. After the draw I'll initially narrow down my AFC nations in contention to qualify to 12 teams before predicting everything from round 1 all the way to round 5 which will determine which Asian nation can go on to seal their ticket via the intercontinental playoffs.
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Post by Shing »

I feel that round 1 is not necessary. It will make some teams having only four matches (two more in ACQ play-off) in the four-year cycle. The format could be slightly modified like the following:

Preliminary Joint Qualification: 46 teams divided into 9 groups of 5 or 6. Top two of each group advance to WCQ, remaining advance to ACQ.
WCQ: 18 teams same format as now
ACQ: 28 teams divided into 6 groups of 4 or 5. Group winners qualify for AC

This will make each team having minimum 14 matches
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Post by Lorric »

Shing wrote: Tue Jul 18, 2023 15:18 I feel that round 1 is not necessary. It will make some teams having only four matches (two more in ACQ play-off) in the four-year cycle. The format could be slightly modified like the following:

Preliminary Joint Qualification: 46 teams divided into 9 groups of 5 or 6. Top two of each group advance to WCQ, remaining advance to ACQ.
WCQ: 18 teams same format as now
ACQ: 28 teams divided into 6 groups of 4 or 5. Group winners qualify for AC

This will make each team having minimum 14 matches
I'm guessing they just don't have enough windows for that and their new playoff rounds. However, unless it's a cost issue for the countries involved, they didn't need to have a second KO round for the Asian Cup qualifiers. They could have had group stage for the first round losers, running alongside the 2nd round, 2 groups of 4, top 2 to the Asian Cup qualifying groups.
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Post by Shing »

I also feel the WCQ playoff is overcomplicated. It could be simplified to top two and the best 3rd placed team (7 teams) directly qualify for WC. The remaining two 3rd placed teams play a two-legged playoff. The winner directly qualifies and the loser advances to intercontinental playoff
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Post by Lorric »

Shing wrote: Tue Jul 18, 2023 17:00 I also feel the WCQ playoff is overcomplicated. It could be simplified to top two and the best 3rd placed team (7 teams) directly qualify for WC. The remaining two 3rd placed teams play a two-legged playoff. The winner directly qualifies and the loser advances to intercontinental playoff
That's exactly how I thought they'd do it. But I suppose it is possible one group's third and fourth place teams could be better than all four of the other third and fourth place teams, you have that clear cut top five in Asia but there's plenty of movement among the teams below them and this allows both to possibly stay in the hunt.
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Post by Jackson Harrison »

Lorric wrote: Tue Jul 18, 2023 18:19
Shing wrote: Tue Jul 18, 2023 17:00 I also feel the WCQ playoff is overcomplicated. It could be simplified to top two and the best 3rd placed team (7 teams) directly qualify for WC. The remaining two 3rd placed teams play a two-legged playoff. The winner directly qualifies and the loser advances to intercontinental playoff
That's exactly how I thought they'd do it. But I suppose it is possible one group's third and fourth place teams could be better than all four of the other third and fourth place teams, you have that clear cut top five in Asia but there's plenty of movement among the teams below them and this allows both to possibly stay in the hunt.
Clear cut top 5! Who do you consider as these 5? Iran, Saudi, Japan, Australia and Korea Rep?

Do you think it is fair that 2 4th placed teams qualify to WC but the 3rd placed don't?
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Post by Lorric »

Jackson Harrison wrote: Tue Jul 18, 2023 18:37
Lorric wrote: Tue Jul 18, 2023 18:19
Shing wrote: Tue Jul 18, 2023 17:00 I also feel the WCQ playoff is overcomplicated. It could be simplified to top two and the best 3rd placed team (7 teams) directly qualify for WC. The remaining two 3rd placed teams play a two-legged playoff. The winner directly qualifies and the loser advances to intercontinental playoff
That's exactly how I thought they'd do it. But I suppose it is possible one group's third and fourth place teams could be better than all four of the other third and fourth place teams, you have that clear cut top five in Asia but there's plenty of movement among the teams below them and this allows both to possibly stay in the hunt.
Clear cut top 5! Who do you consider as these 5? Iran, Saudi, Japan, Australia and Korea Rep?

Do you think it is fair that 2 4th placed teams qualify to WC but the 3rd placed don't?
Of course.

Now that would depend on circumstances. For example if the fourth place teams had the same points as the third place teams, the playoffs would probably be a better separator than GD. I think I'd be comfortable with it if you tallied the points from group stage and playoffs together and the fourth place teams had got above the thirds.
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Post by Jackson Harrison »

Lorric wrote: Tue Jul 18, 2023 18:44
Jackson Harrison wrote: Tue Jul 18, 2023 18:37
Lorric wrote: Tue Jul 18, 2023 18:19

That's exactly how I thought they'd do it. But I suppose it is possible one group's third and fourth place teams could be better than all four of the other third and fourth place teams, you have that clear cut top five in Asia but there's plenty of movement among the teams below them and this allows both to possibly stay in the hunt.
Clear cut top 5! Who do you consider as these 5? Iran, Saudi, Japan, Australia and Korea Rep?

Do you think it is fair that 2 4th placed teams qualify to WC but the 3rd placed don't?
Of course.

Now that would depend on circumstances. For example if the fourth place teams had the same points as the third place teams, the playoffs would probably be a better separator than GD. I think I'd be comfortable with it if you tallied the points from group stage and playoffs together and the fourth place teams had got above the thirds.
Qatar and UAE are close to the top 5. Qatar won AC remember.

What about if there is a 5 point gap?
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Post by Lorric »

Jackson Harrison wrote: Tue Jul 18, 2023 18:56
Lorric wrote: Tue Jul 18, 2023 18:44
Jackson Harrison wrote: Tue Jul 18, 2023 18:37

Clear cut top 5! Who do you consider as these 5? Iran, Saudi, Japan, Australia and Korea Rep?

Do you think it is fair that 2 4th placed teams qualify to WC but the 3rd placed don't?
Of course.

Now that would depend on circumstances. For example if the fourth place teams had the same points as the third place teams, the playoffs would probably be a better separator than GD. I think I'd be comfortable with it if you tallied the points from group stage and playoffs together and the fourth place teams had got above the thirds.
Qatar and UAE are close to the top 5. Qatar won AC remember.

What about if there is a 5 point gap?
I'm not convinced by Qatar anymore.

Could still close that with 2 wins and 2 losses.
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Post by Jackson Harrison »

Lorric wrote: Tue Jul 18, 2023 18:58
Jackson Harrison wrote: Tue Jul 18, 2023 18:56
Lorric wrote: Tue Jul 18, 2023 18:44

Of course.

Now that would depend on circumstances. For example if the fourth place teams had the same points as the third place teams, the playoffs would probably be a better separator than GD. I think I'd be comfortable with it if you tallied the points from group stage and playoffs together and the fourth place teams had got above the thirds.
Qatar and UAE are close to the top 5. Qatar won AC remember.

What about if there is a 5 point gap?
I'm not convinced by Qatar anymore.

Could still close that with 2 wins and 2 losses.
They did perform rubbish at WC but that was partly host pressure on them, they were underwhelming though!
Team hasn't change since since AC win has it? They outplayed Japan that night in Abu Dhabi!

How do you think they'll do group draw? FIFA ranking or group seeding? If latter we would end up with 3 4ths in A and 3 3rds in B which would be totally unfair.
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Post by Lorric »

Jackson Harrison wrote: Tue Jul 18, 2023 19:01
Lorric wrote: Tue Jul 18, 2023 18:58
Jackson Harrison wrote: Tue Jul 18, 2023 18:56
Qatar and UAE are close to the top 5. Qatar won AC remember.

What about if there is a 5 point gap?
I'm not convinced by Qatar anymore.

Could still close that with 2 wins and 2 losses.
They did perform rubbish at WC but that was partly host pressure on them, they were underwhelming though!
Team hasn't change since since AC win has it? They outplayed Japan that night in Abu Dhabi!

How do you think they'll do group draw? FIFA ranking or group seeding? If latter we would end up with 3 4ths in A and 3 3rds in B which would be totally unfair.
Probably top 3rd with 4ths from the other two groups.
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Post by TommyChat »

Lorric wrote: Tue Jul 18, 2023 16:48
Shing wrote: Tue Jul 18, 2023 15:18 I feel that round 1 is not necessary. It will make some teams having only four matches (two more in ACQ play-off) in the four-year cycle. The format could be slightly modified like the following:

Preliminary Joint Qualification: 46 teams divided into 9 groups of 5 or 6. Top two of each group advance to WCQ, remaining advance to ACQ.
WCQ: 18 teams same format as now
ACQ: 28 teams divided into 6 groups of 4 or 5. Group winners qualify for AC

This will make each team having minimum 14 matches
I'm guessing they just don't have enough windows for that and their new playoff rounds. However, unless it's a cost issue for the countries involved, they didn't need to have a second KO round for the Asian Cup qualifiers. They could have had group stage for the first round losers, running alongside the 2nd round, 2 groups of 4, top 2 to the Asian Cup qualifying groups.
If they started the first group stage in September instead of November it would be possible to still finish it in June 2024 as it is now. (They are also not using the September 2025 window at all) For the Asian cup quals they can certainly have groups of 5... with the current schedule they will play 1 match every window in 6 windows
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Post by Jackson Harrison »

Lorric wrote: Tue Jul 18, 2023 19:24
Jackson Harrison wrote: Tue Jul 18, 2023 19:01
Lorric wrote: Tue Jul 18, 2023 18:58

I'm not convinced by Qatar anymore.

Could still close that with 2 wins and 2 losses.
They did perform rubbish at WC but that was partly host pressure on them, they were underwhelming though!
Team hasn't change since since AC win has it? They outplayed Japan that night in Abu Dhabi!

How do you think they'll do group draw? FIFA ranking or group seeding? If latter we would end up with 3 4ths in A and 3 3rds in B which would be totally unfair.
Probably top 3rd with 4ths from the other two groups.
Apart from top 5 who do you think will take last 3 spots and IC PO spot?

I think China, UAE and Qatar with Iraq for IC PO!
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Post by Jackson Harrison »

Lorric wrote: Tue Jul 18, 2023 19:24
Jackson Harrison wrote: Tue Jul 18, 2023 19:01
Lorric wrote: Tue Jul 18, 2023 18:58

I'm not convinced by Qatar anymore.

Could still close that with 2 wins and 2 losses.
They did perform rubbish at WC but that was partly host pressure on them, they were underwhelming though!
Team hasn't change since since AC win has it? They outplayed Japan that night in Abu Dhabi!

How do you think they'll do group draw? FIFA ranking or group seeding? If latter we would end up with 3 4ths in A and 3 3rds in B which would be totally unfair.
Probably top 3rd with 4ths from the other two groups.
Or top 2 3rds in pot 1, other one and best 4th in Pot 2 and other 4ths in pot 4.
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