WC 2014 First Round Update

Posted on June 15, 2011 5:03 pm

Blink and you’ll miss it: while FIFA only has the Belize-Montserrat series registered on its Preliminaries site, and CONCACAF’s main page is fully focused on the Gold Cup, the latter did post the schedule for the first round of World Cup qualifying on its “World Cup” page only. UPDATE: FIFA has released the final schedule, with the exception of the postponed return match between Belize and Montserrat.

The other four first-round series will not begin until July, so I will save my regular preview (including the questions and “Match of the Round”) until after the Gold Cup. As for a preview of tonight’s World Cup 2014 opener between Belize and Montserrat: even without the players that are being held back at home, the 11 men representing the Football Federation of Belize out in Couva, Trinidad this evening should comfortably handle Montserrat, a side that simply served as cannon fodder in the last Caribbean Cup (getting hammered by St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados in the first qualifying round). Whether or not they get to finish the series on Sunday, of course, is up to how the Belizean Sports Council and FIFA come to terms (if at all) over the horrid state of the FFB.

Finally, a quick word on semantics: Duane Rollins has elected to call the first group stage the “quarterfinal round“, which makes sense because his country is in it. Given that the five strongest national teams in the region (plus Cuba) will all have byes from the round, however, I wanted to go with a name that more accurately reflects the level of competition at this stage. And so, inspired by the US public educational system, here are the names that hereafter will be used in The Regional Review for the World Cup qualifying stages:

- First Round
- Elementary Round
- Semifinal Round
- Hexagonal

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