Chuck Blazer met with members of the Mexican press this morning and outlined the upcoming qualifying format that they will present to FIFA. A few hilites for those who no hablo:
The highest FIFA ranked teams will earn byes all the way to the semi-final stage - 3 groups of 4 - top 2 qualify for the hex. Currently those are USA, Mexico, Honduras, CR, Cuba, and Jamaica.
The 10 lowest raked teams will play a home+home to qualify for the next stage, a 4 team 6 group round that will advance 6 teams to the semi-finals. These winners will join the other 6 highest ranked teams for the semi finals.
So, in the end, it looks like both arguments got what they wanted. The smaller federations got a more inclusive and competitive round to extend their World Cup dreams a little bit longer. The bigger fish have less games to play, but better competition.
The absolute best news, though, is that there is only one "one-off" scheduled in the hex. The first date.
Dare I say CONCACAF got something right?