WC 2014 Qualifying: Hold Your Horses [Updated]

Posted on May 31, 2011 1:59 pm

The last time the Regional Review reported on qualifying for Brazil 2014, I mentioned that the first-round playoffs would start on Friday, June 3. So then, the next World Cup is starting in three days!

And of course, FIFA has already set up its Match Center for the preliminary matches that will kick off at various outposts in the Caribbean…right? Actually, not at all: the “Preliminary Draw” link still leads only to the explanatory article covering what will take place in Rio de Janeiro on July 30 at 2:00 p.m. (all times EST). FIFA has attached documents outlining the qualification process for each confederation, including CONCACAF (side note: our qualifying process remains as CONCACAF reported back in April, with all the group winners from Round 2 ending up in the same pot for drawing the three groups of four in the “semifinal” stage). But our “draw procedure” states, with reference to the schedule for the first round:

For its part, CONCACAF has yet to update its World Cup qualifiers page accordingly.

I decided to browse the pages of the national teams set to participate in this round; but, as you can imagine, a few simply did not have websites (e.g. both Virgin Islands FAs), and others lacked up-to-date information on their national teams.

The following is what I could find. Aruba’s Voetbal Bond states on its front page:

Now, my command of Papiamento is admittedly non-existent, but it seems to state that the first leg of their World Cup series will take place on June 5 in St. Lucia (the same day as the start of the Gold Cup), with the second leg set for June 9 in Aruba.

Meanwhile, the Bahamas FA has confirmed the dates for their derby matches against the Turks and Caicos Islands:

Finally, the maligned Football Federation of Belize mentioned “the 12th and 19th [of] June 2011″ as “tentative” dates for their series against Montserrat, although they did not specify which leg they would be hosting.

Mind you, the CONCACAF draw procedure document does not confirm any of the dates; but taking the national associations’ word for it, here are the matches for three of the first five playoff series that will kick off our region’s long march to Brazil (home team listed first, except in Belize-Montserrat series).

UPDATE: First of all, Sunday has come and gone without any news of the supposed St. Lucia-Aruba match, so that series will be dropped from the list below due to lack of reliable, up-to-date information.

However, FIFA itself has finally added a “Preliminaries” tab to the 2014 World Cup page, with the exact dates and times listed for the Belize-Montserrat series only (in CONCACAF). Notably, Belize will finally host a World Cup match in Belmopan, presumably at the FFB National Stadium, instead of in neighboring Guatemala. Montserrat, however, will “host” the first match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Malabar, Trinidad and Tobago.

Also, courtesy of the Balompie Dominicano blog: the Dominican Republic will host both legs of their series against Anguilla at the FIFA-approved Estadio San Cristobal on July 8 and 10. The entry does not specify in which leg the Dominicans will play as the “home” team (since away goals count in FIFA home-and-away series), but it does inform us that FIFA delayed the start of World Cup qualifiers in our region in order to finish up their stadium inspections.

Finally, the 1st – and 2nd – designations refer to the legs in the series, in order to do away with writing out the whole “first leg” thing at the end.

Wednesday, June 15:

1st – Montserrat vs. Belize, 6:00 p.m.

Sunday, June 19:

2nd – Belize vs. Montserrat, 4:00 p.m.

Saturday, July 2:

1st – Turks and Caicos Islands vs. Bahamas

Friday, July 8:

1st – Dominican Republic vs. Anguilla

Saturday, July 9:

2nd – Bahamas vs. Turks and Caicos Islands

Sunday, July 10:

2nd – Dominican Republic vs. Anguilla

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