2026 World Cup and 2027 Asian Cup Qualification process

Discussion in 'AFC: Tournaments' started by almango, Aug 2, 2022.

  1. almango

    almango Member+

    Sydney FC
    Australia
    Nov 29, 2004
    Bulli, Australia
    Club:
    Sydney FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Australia
    Asia’s pathway to the FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup™ 2027 confirmed (the-afc.com)

    The AFC has announced the qualification process for 2026 WC and 2027 AC.

    World Cup
    Stage 1 Bottom 22 teams play a knock out round
    Stage 2 Top 25 plus 11 stage 1 winners drawn into 9 groups of 4. Top 2 in each group go to Stage 3 and Asian Cup 2027 (18 teams)
    Stage 3 18 teams drawn into 3 groups of six. Top 2 in each group qualify for WC.
    Stage 4 Teams finishing 3rd and 4th drawn into 2 groups. Single round robin. Top teams qualify for WC.
    Stage 5 Teams finishing 2nd in stage 5 play off for the AFC IC playoff spot.

    Asian Cup
    Playoff round 10 lowest ranked stage 1 losers play off against each other to enter the group stage.
    Group Stage Playoff round winners join highest ranked WC stage 1 winner and teams eliminated in WC stage 2. Six groups of 4 teams with group winners qualifying for Asian Cup 2027.

    Not sure what will happen if the host of AC 2027 doesn't qualify
     
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  2. dinamo_zagreb

    dinamo_zagreb Member+

    Jun 27, 2010
    San Jose, CA / Zagreb, Croatia
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
    Croatia
    So again there will be a handful of teams play only four official matches in a WC cycle. Horrible.
     
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  3. r0adrunner

    r0adrunner Member+

    Jun 4, 2011
    London, UK
    Club:
    AS Roma
    Nat'l Team:
    Italy
    I wonder why the AFC continues to run the WC and AC qualifiers together, thereby limiting the amount of competitive games the continent’s NTs play and creating excessively long intervals between the qualifying and final tournaments. Under their approved 2023-2027 cycle competition format, 11 teams will be eliminated from the 2026 WC by October 2023 and 18 teams will qualify for the 2027 AC by June 2024.

    Surely it would be better to play the qualifiers for each tournament in the year before the finals – which would be easier if the AC was held 2 years after the WC instead of the following year – creating greater synergy between qualifying and final tournaments and avoiding situations like will happen for 2026 (and as happened for 2022 and 2018) of teams being eliminated from the WC 3 years before the final tournament while other teams qualify for the AC 3 years before the final tournament.
     
  4. almango

    almango Member+

    Sydney FC
    Australia
    Nov 29, 2004
    Bulli, Australia
    Club:
    Sydney FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Australia
    There are still plenty of games. The teams that didn't make the second round played in a tournament called the solidarity Cup (the 2020 edition was cancelled due to covid but hopefully its revived in 2024 or 2025). They will all rejoin AC qualifying at the playoff round stage. Only five wont partake in the 3rd stage of AC qualifying. In previous systems of separate qualifying the AFC had trouble getting a lot of the smaller nations to compete at all. In this system at least everyone is entering. As for the number of games if we exclude the Solidarity Cup, 5 teams get 4 games, 5 teams get 8 games, successful 2nd round teams get 16 games (more if involved in playoffs) and unsuccessful 2nd round teams get 12 matches (+ any playoffs required). 8 nations will get a World Cup and Asian Cup on top and a further 16 get an Asian Cup. It also seems a very good system to make sure the strongest teams are the ones that qualify.
     
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  5. r0adrunner

    r0adrunner Member+

    Jun 4, 2011
    London, UK
    Club:
    AS Roma
    Nat'l Team:
    Italy
    But it is very bad for developing the Asian NT eco-system generally. Potential Asian and global powerhouse teams like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia will continue to struggle to develop in such a format.
     
  6. almango

    almango Member+

    Sydney FC
    Australia
    Nov 29, 2004
    Bulli, Australia
    Club:
    Sydney FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Australia
    Indonesia do OK and have qualified for the 2023 (or whenever it ends up getting held) Asian Cup. Bangladesh played in both round 2 and round 3 after winning in the first round without a lot of success. Pakistan missed out this time, but covid caused the cancellation of the solidarity cup. What sort of system would you propose?
     
  7. r0adrunner

    r0adrunner Member+

    Jun 4, 2011
    London, UK
    Club:
    AS Roma
    Nat'l Team:
    Italy
    A league system (3 leagues of 16 teams playing in 4 groups of 4 teams each, one of the League C groups would have to be of 3 teams), inter-connected between NL every two years and qualifiers every two years.

    In qualifiers seasons, only League A would offer automatic qualification places at World Cups and Asian Cups, with other League A teams and higher ranked League B and C teams qualifying via playoffs. Promotion and relegation (automatic in all seasons and additionally via playoffs in NL seasons) would reward performance and lead to greater fan engagement because the format is dynamic and meritocratic.

    Matches would be of higher quality because teams would be better matched and every season would be important because it would determine in which league a team played in the following season (in addition to deciding which teams qualified automatically and via playoffs during qualifiers seasons).

    I calculated that between group stage matches, NL Final Four matches, and qualifying and promotion/relegation playoffs, 646 matches would be played during each 4-year cycle (excluding World Cup and Asian Cup finals matches), with every team playing between 6 and 10 competitive matches each year (again excluding World Cup and Asian Cup finals matches).

    UEFA is expected to adopt a format like this for its men's NTs from 2024/25 and by doing so it will force all NTs to take NL seriously. It has already done so for its women's NTs starting in September:

    https://www.uefa.com/insideuefa/new...the-new-uefa-women-s-national-team-competiti/

    In essence, it is basing the format of NT football on the format of club football, while maintaining the opportunity to qualify for all NTs during qualifiers seasons.
     
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  8. r0adrunner

    r0adrunner Member+

    Jun 4, 2011
    London, UK
    Club:
    AS Roma
    Nat'l Team:
    Italy
    You could also schedule the matches so that entering the October international window during a WCQ season (say 2025/26) 20 of the 47 teams would either have qualified automatically or still be in the WCQ playoffs, while entering the November international window during a ACQ season (say 2027/28) 39 teams (including the host team) would have either qualified automatically or still be in the ACQ playoffs.

    Therefore there would be a much greater synergy between qualifiers and the final tournaments.
     
  9. almango

    almango Member+

    Sydney FC
    Australia
    Nov 29, 2004
    Bulli, Australia
    Club:
    Sydney FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Australia
    Haven't got time to respond in detail now but thanks for putting that up. I usually have little to no respect for people that knock things without an alternative but lots of respect for those that criticise and also propose an alternative they believe would be better.
     
  10. r0adrunner

    r0adrunner Member+

    Jun 4, 2011
    London, UK
    Club:
    AS Roma
    Nat'l Team:
    Italy
    Okay thanks, in terms of the details, it could look something like this for the AFC.
    • 47 teams drawn into 4 groups of 4 teams each in 3 leagues (A, B and C) with one group in League C only having 3 teams;
    • every team starts every year with a fresh objective, in the League in which it was in the previous year unless it was promoted or relegated;
    • in Nations League seasons (24/25, 26/27 etc), all 4 x League A group winners play Final Four tournament for NL title, 4 x bottom teams in Leagues A and B groups automatically relegated and 4 x League B and C group winners automatically promoted, promotion/relegation home-and-away playoffs between 4 x League A third-placed teams and 4 x League B runners-up and between 4 x League B third-placed teams and 4 x League C runners-up;
    • in WCQ seasons (25/26, 29/30 etc) all 4 x League A group winners qualify automatically for WC (4 teams), WCQ playoffs involving 16 teams (Round 1: 4 x League A group runners-up drawn to play 4 x League C group winners and 4 x League A group third-placed teams drawn to play 4 x League B group winners in home-and-away ties; Round 2: Round 1 winners drawn to play 4 home-and-away ties, winners qualify for WC (4 teams) while highest ranked Round 2 eliminated team (based on all 10 WCQ games played) qualifies for Intercontinental playoff. 4 x bottom teams in Leagues A and B groups automatically relegated and 4 x League B and C group winners automatically promoted (no promotion/relegation playoffs);
    • in WCQ seasons, 20 NTs have qualified or can still qualify entering October Match Days (MDs) in year before WC;
    • in ACQ seasons (27/28, 31/32 etc) all 4 x League A group winners and runners up qualify automatically for AC (8 teams), ACQ playoffs involving 30 teams (4 x League A third and fourth-placed teams, 4 x Leagues B and C group winners and runners-up and 3 highest ranked third-placed teams), playoff winners qualify for AC (15 teams). 4 x bottom teams in Leagues A and B groups automatically relegated and 4 x League B and C group winners automatically promoted (no promotion/relegation playoffs);
    • in ACQ seasons, 39 NTs (including host team) have qualified or can still qualify entering November MDs in year before AC.
    Cycle calendar
    2023/24
    June: NL GS MD1-2
    June-July: Asian Cup

    2024/25
    September-October: NL GS MD3-6
    November: NL Final Four + NL promotion/relegation playoffs + friendlies (2 MDs)
    March: WCQ GS MD1-2
    June: WCQ GS MD3-4

    2025/26
    September: WCQ GS MD5-6
    October: WCQ PO R1 + friendlies (2 MDs)
    November: WCQ PO R2 + friendlies (2 MDs)
    March: WCQ Intercontinental PO + FIFA World Series (2 MDs)
    June: Friendlies (2 MDs)
    June-July: World Cup

    2026/27
    September-November: NL GS MD1-6
    March: NL Final Four + NL promotion/relegation playoffs + friendlies (2 MDs)
    June: ACQ GS MD1-2

    2027/28
    September-October: ACQ GS MD3-6
    November: ACQ PO + friendlies (2MDs)
    March: FIFA World Series (2 MDs)
    June: NL GS MD1-2
    June-July: Asian Cup

    2028/29
    September-October: NL GS MD3-6
    November: NL Final Four + NL promotion/relegation playoffs + friendlies (2 MDs)
    March: WCQ GS MD1-2
    June: WCQ GS MD3-4

    2029/30
    September: WCQ GS MD5-6
    October: WCQ PO R1 + friendlies (2 MDs)
    November: WCQ PO R2 + friendlies (2 MDs)
    March: WCQ Intercontinental PO + FIFA World Series (2 MDs)
    June: Friendlies (2 MDs)
    June-July: World Cup

    etc...
     
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  11. almango

    almango Member+

    Sydney FC
    Australia
    Nov 29, 2004
    Bulli, Australia
    Club:
    Sydney FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Australia
    I'll start by saying I'm not a huge fan of nations leagues. I also have some issues with the 4 groups per division as proposed by you. There aren't a lot of top level Asian sides and dividing the top dividion into 4 means less games amongst the 1st tier sides as there are only 5 of them. I'm even a little dubious about having 3 groups of six in the 2026 qualifiers as one of the top 5 won't play against another top 5 team. I also think what you've proposed is too busy and doesn't leave enough dates for other things, hopefuly more games between teams from different confederations. UEFA may not like them, but I think more opportunities for the best teams from Africa, Asia and Concacaf to play each other can only improve the standard in the rest of the world. Having said that, your system would work, I'm just not sure its the best solution.
     
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  12. r0adrunner

    r0adrunner Member+

    Jun 4, 2011
    London, UK
    Club:
    AS Roma
    Nat'l Team:
    Italy
    NLs as we have known them since their introduction in 2018 have been stand-alone competitions with the availability of limited qualifying playoff places. This format completely changes that by fully integrating them into the 4-year NT competition cycle and forcing teams to give them a very high priority. With only League A having automatic qualifying places and by making qualifying playoffs more winnable the higher the league a team is in, NLs become integral to qualifying. For example, England was relegated from League from A to B in the 2022/23 UNL, so if they are not promoted in the 2024/25 edition they will not be able to automatically qualify for the 2026WC, they would be forced to qualify via the playoffs (assuming UEFA adopts a similar format to the one I outlined starting in 2024/25).

    NL would have its own Final Four every 2 years, so the very highest ranked Asian NTs would be able to meet in competitive games 3 years out of 4 (also at the Asian Cup finals).

    This cycle calendar leaves open several dates for friendlies against teams from other confederations. For example, the 2MDs in June of WC years are free for all 47 teams to play friendlies, while the qualifying and NL playoff MDs will be free for teams not involved to play friendlies (16 teams would play WCQ playoffs Round 1 (2 MDs), 8 teams would play WCQ Round 2 (2 MDs), 30 teams would play ACQ playoffs (2 MDs), 16 teams would play NL promotion/relegation playoffs (2 MDs)). In addition, FIFA has specifically designated the March window of even years (2MDs) for friendly games between teams from different confederations.

    The advantages of this format are that:

    - all teams are playing at least 6 competitive games every year;
    - good performance is rewarded with automatic qualification/promotion or qualification/promotion playoffs and poor performance is punished with non-qualification/relegation or qualification/relegation playoffs;
    - it is dynamic, so teams have the opportunity to improve every year;
    - it provides all teams with a fresh objective every year;
    - every team has 4 group stage draws to look forward to every 4-year cycle;
    - it is developmental. Potentially strong teams which are currently weak and which are therefore marginalised by the AFC’s usual formats with little developmental opportunities are fully integrated into the AFC NT ecosystem and have an annual opportunity to improve by playing regular competitive games;
    - it is lucrative. All teams – including those from countries with large populations – play more competitive games of a higher quality more regularly because teams are better matched and so games are more winnable, thereby increasing fan engagement. There is also greater synergy between qualifiers and final tournaments which should also increase fan engagement;
    - it is fair. Every team has an opportunity to qualify for a major tournament every 2 years and even if they are unsuccessful they still play at least 6 games in trying to do so and can use the NL seasons in between to gain promotion or avoid relegation in order to improve their chances in the following season’s qualifiers.

    AFC commercial performance is relatively poor. This format can increase exploitation of more developed markets and generate significant revenue from under-developed markets. Increased solidarity and prize-money payments to AFC member associations should in turn help to improve competitiveness, which should be reflected in both future improved commercial performance and performance of AFC NTs in FIFA competitions.
     
  13. Kamtedrejt

    Kamtedrejt Member+

    Internazionale Milano
    Albania
    Mar 14, 2017
    Hamburg
    Club:
    FC Internazionale Milano
    Nat'l Team:
    Albania
    AFC Nations Ecosystem Ranking

    https://kassiesa.net/uefa/forum2/viewtopic.php?t=6034



    I carried out some extensive research on the AFC nations and about where their programs stand right now. Here are the results:

    It's important to know that

    my grading system refers from 1 (lowest grade possible) to 10 (highest grade possible).

    NT form = national team form since the 2019 Asian Cup. Other than the Asian Cup, the World Cup qualifiers, the World Cup itself, the Gulf Cup, the AFF Championship and the Arab Cup 2021 are considered. Also friendlies for the lesser ranked nations who play less competitive matches.
    The weighting for "NT form" was 50%

    Youth = youth reusults in the last decade (last 8-10 years). Competitions taken into account include the U23 Asian Cup, U20 Asian Cup and the Asian Games as it's an U23 competition plus only three overage players. U17 results were not considered. A rating system was adopted to hand out points for a nation's final position in the final standings of each competition taken into account.
    The weighting for "youth" was 20%.

    Pedigree refers to a national team's results in the most important competitions since 2004 i.e. five World Cup cycles and five Asian Cup cycles are considered. Again competitions like the Gulf Cup and the AFF Champinship were taken into account. The weighting for "pedigree" was 20%

    Club success refers to a league's results in the two highest tier Asian club competitions i.e. AFC CL and AFC Cup since the 2016/2017 season. A rating system was developed in order to calculate a league's performance. Since the gap between first and second tier competition is big (probably bigger than in UEFA) my point system rewarded i.e. a quarterfinal run in the AFC CL more than winning the AFC Cup. The weighting for "club success" was only 10%.

    If two nations have the same overall grade the nation ranks first that has a better "NT form".


    Nation_____________________Grade


    1. Japan__________________9.90
    NT Form___________________10
    Youth______________________9.5
    Pedigree___________________10
    Club success_______________10

    2. South Korea____________9.30
    NT Form___________________9.0
    Youth______________________10
    Pedigree___________________9.0
    Club success_______________10

    3. Australia________________8.15
    NT Form___________________8.5
    Youth______________________8.0
    Pedigree___________________9.0
    Club success_______________5.0

    4. Iran____________________8.00
    NT Form___________________8.5
    Youth______________________6.5
    Pedigree___________________8.0
    Club success_______________8.5

    5. Saudi Arabia____________8.00
    NT Form___________________8.0
    Youth______________________8.5
    Pedigree___________________6.5
    Club success_______________10

    6. Qatar__________________7.05
    NT Form___________________7.5
    Youth______________________7.0
    Pedigree___________________6.0
    Club success_______________7.0

    7. Iraq____________________6.95
    NT Form___________________7.0
    Youth______________________8.5
    Pedigree___________________6.5
    Club success_______________4.5

    8. Uzbekistan_____________6.90
    NT Form___________________6.5
    Youth______________________9.5
    Pedigree___________________6.0
    Club success_______________5.5

    9. UAE____________________6.40
    NT Form___________________6.5
    Youth______________________7.0
    Pedigree___________________5.5
    Club success_______________6.5

    10. Jordan________________6.30
    NT Form___________________7.0
    Youth______________________6.5
    Pedigree___________________5.5
    Club success_______________4.0

    11. China_________________5.95
    NT Form___________________6.0
    Youth______________________5.5
    Pedigree___________________5.5
    Club success_______________7.5

    12. Bahrain_______________5.50
    NT Form___________________7.0
    Youth______________________2.5
    Pedigree___________________5.5
    Club success_______________4.0

    13. Vietnam______________5.40
    NT Form___________________6.0
    Youth______________________7.0
    Pedigree___________________4.0
    Club success_______________2.0


    14. Thailand______________5.35

    NT Form___________________6.0
    Youth______________________6.0
    Pedigree___________________3.5
    Club success_______________4.5

    15. North Korea___________5.30
    NT Form___________________5.0
    Youth______________________7.0
    Pedigree___________________5.5
    Club success_______________3.0

    16. Oman_________________4.95
    NT Form___________________7.0
    Youth______________________1.5
    Pedigree___________________4.5
    Club success_______________2.5

    17. Syria__________________4.80
    NT Form___________________5.5
    Youth______________________5.0
    Pedigree___________________4.0
    Club success_______________2.5

    18. Palestine______________3.65
    NT Form___________________5.0
    Youth______________________3.0
    Pedigree___________________2.0
    Club success_______________1.5

    19. Lebanon______________3.60
    NT Form___________________5.0
    Youth______________________1.0
    Pedigree___________________2.5
    Club success_______________4.0

    20. Malaysia______________3.60
    NT Form___________________4.5
    Youth______________________3.0
    Pedigree___________________2.0
    Club success_______________3.5

    21. Tajikistan_____________3.55
    NT Form___________________4.5
    Youth______________________4.0
    Pedigree___________________1.0
    Club success_______________3.0

    22. Kuwait________________3.40
    NT Form___________________4.5
    Youth______________________2.0
    Pedigree___________________3.0
    Club success_______________1.5

    23. Indonesia_____________3.15
    NT Form___________________3.5
    Youth______________________4.0
    Pedigree___________________2.0
    Club success_______________2.0

    24. Kyrgyzstan____________3.10
    NT Form___________________4.5
    Youth______________________1.5
    Pedigree___________________2.0
    Club success_______________1.5

    25. Turkmenistan__________3.05
    NT Form___________________4.0
    Youth______________________2.0
    Pedigree___________________2.0
    Club success_______________2.5

    26. India__________________3.00
    NT Form___________________4.0
    Youth______________________1.0
    Pedigree___________________2.0
    Club success_______________4.0

    IMO the highest ranked 17 nations can eye a place at the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Remember that with the expansion to 48 teams the AFC has 8+1 sposts for the World Cup. I think it will be an absolute dogfight for the last three four spots behind the usual suspects Japan, South Korea, Australia, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
     
  14. Kamtedrejt

    Kamtedrejt Member+

    Internazionale Milano
    Albania
    Mar 14, 2017
    Hamburg
    Club:
    FC Internazionale Milano
    Nat'l Team:
    Albania
    #14 Kamtedrejt, Apr 5, 2023
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2023
    @almango

    Australia are ranked 3rd in my rankings. The good World Cup performance just pushes them over the line ahead of Iran and Saudi Arabia. Otherwise they would have been ranked 5th.

    Asian World Cup qualifiers will start off in October. I plan to give my predictions for who I think will qualify before it kicks off. All I can say for now is that all the usual suspects i.e. Japan, South Korea, Australia, Iran and Saudi Arabia are expected to qualify. And I think all these teams will qualify. The long-winded format sees each nation play at least 16 World Cup qualifiers (in the case of needing the intercontinental playoffs the number can rise to 22 matches even).
    I think quality will eventually shine through in a format like this hence I firmly expect the "big five" to qualify.

    As for which nations take the remaining three or four spots I'll still wait with a prediction.

    The ranking I computed can serve as a good indicator for which nations should be viewed as hopeful prospects for qualfying for the FIFA World Cup 2026.
     
  15. almango

    almango Member+

    Sydney FC
    Australia
    Nov 29, 2004
    Bulli, Australia
    Club:
    Sydney FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Australia
    The new format below
    Stage 3 18 teams drawn into 3 groups of six. Top 2 in each group qualify for WC.
    Stage 4 Teams finishing 3rd and 4th drawn into 2 groups. Single round robin. Top teams qualify for WC.
    Stage 5 Teams finishing 2nd in stage 5 play off for the AFC IC playoff spot.

    Means that in Stage 3 there will be fewer dead rubbers with only the bottom 2 in each group eliminated. Our previous system meant that there were probably only 6 sides thought they could get a direct spot, another 4 a playoff spot and a couple that were thrilled to make it this far. I'm thinking that most of the 18 teams that make stage 3 this time will fancy themselves a chance, particularly if they draw the group with only 1 of the big five.
     
  16. almango

    almango Member+

    Sydney FC
    Australia
    Nov 29, 2004
    Bulli, Australia
    Club:
    Sydney FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Australia
    SImilar to my own assessment. I would also have ranked us 5th before the WC but the performance there (and in the 2 "friendlies" against Ecudor) have given me some hope we may even be a chance of winning the Asian Cup next year. Our club performance, as you've pointed out, is pretty poor and this I think affects our youth development and performance in youth tournaments.
     
  17. glennaldo_sf

    glennaldo_sf Member+

    Houston Dynamo, Penang FC, Al Duhail
    United States
    Nov 25, 2004
    Doha, Qatar
    Club:
    FL Fart Vang Hedmark
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Is AFC ever going to have a Nations League like UEFA and Concacaf? If so, that probably explains why, but yeah it's a weird system. However, the AFC qualifying is quite forgiving as practically all teams in the semifinal round find themselves in the AC qualifying final round.
     
  18. glennaldo_sf

    glennaldo_sf Member+

    Houston Dynamo, Penang FC, Al Duhail
    United States
    Nov 25, 2004
    Doha, Qatar
    Club:
    FL Fart Vang Hedmark
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Potential global powerhouses lol? Anyway, Bangladesh and Indonesia both got to play in the final qualifying round with the latter actually qualifying. It should have been 6 games home and away series but I guess covid meant it was only 3 games. Pakistan went out in the first round as they did in 2019 to Cambodia and Yemen respectively so don't know if I'd call them "potential global powerhouses" of football just yet....
     
  19. Kamtedrejt

    Kamtedrejt Member+

    Internazionale Milano
    Albania
    Mar 14, 2017
    Hamburg
    Club:
    FC Internazionale Milano
    Nat'l Team:
    Albania
    He used the term 'potential global powerhouse' for Pakistan because it being a country with a very large population.
     
  20. Kamtedrejt

    Kamtedrejt Member+

    Internazionale Milano
    Albania
    Mar 14, 2017
    Hamburg
    Club:
    FC Internazionale Milano
    Nat'l Team:
    Albania
    Not anytime soon. Asia is a very large continent hence long and exhaustive travelling hours plus some regional tournaments like the Gulf Cup and the AFF Championship being still a huge deal means that the conditions and the framework to launch a Nations League are not as favourable as it's in UEFA and CONCACAF.

    I guess before the AFC creates a Nations League we would rather see FIFA creating something that ressembles a worldwide Nations League with centralised venues in order to prevent excessive travelling.
     
  21. Kamtedrejt

    Kamtedrejt Member+

    Internazionale Milano
    Albania
    Mar 14, 2017
    Hamburg
    Club:
    FC Internazionale Milano
    Nat'l Team:
    Albania
    My finalised predictions are yet to come but I can already narrow it down a bit.

    I see three tiers. They are pretty similair to my ecosystem ranking.

    First tier is filled with the teams of Japan, South Korea, Australia Iran and Saudi Arabia. These teams should be shoe-ins to qualify.

    In the second tier I see the teams of Bahrain, Iraq, Uzbekistan, Qatar and Jordan. I think these teams are in a healthy position to fight for a World Cup spot.

    In the third tier I see Thailand, UAE, Oman and China. These teams will have a word to say.

    The rest of teams I regard more or less as long shots to qualify.
     
  22. glennaldo_sf

    glennaldo_sf Member+

    Houston Dynamo, Penang FC, Al Duhail
    United States
    Nov 25, 2004
    Doha, Qatar
    Club:
    FL Fart Vang Hedmark
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Vietnam is an interesting one footballing-wise. I was having a conversation with my brother and his wife who is Malaysian and was talking about going to see some local games in Malaysia and Singapore this summer while visiting. She scoffed at that due to the rather low level of club football there and was asking whose league ranked higher between the two. I said basically Thailand probably have the best league in the ASEAN region followed by Malaysia (Johor probably inflating that a bit), then Indonesia, and then Singapore and then maybe the rest (Philippines, Cambodia, etc.). Vietnam is kind of an anomaly here. I don't recall their club sides doing much in the Champions league or AFC Cup, but their national team certainly has become a regional powerhouse, maybe even the best in the region. Just wondering how to rank the V-League amongst their neighboring leagues...
     
  23. Kamtedrejt

    Kamtedrejt Member+

    Internazionale Milano
    Albania
    Mar 14, 2017
    Hamburg
    Club:
    FC Internazionale Milano
    Nat'l Team:
    Albania
    I used a point system based on performance in the AFC CL and the AFC Cup for calculating my grades for "club success".

    My results were

    Thailand by considerable margin the best league in the region with a grade of 4.5

    Malaysia follows with a grade of 3.5

    Indonesia and Vietnam both at the same level with a grade of 2.0
     
  24. glennaldo_sf

    glennaldo_sf Member+

    Houston Dynamo, Penang FC, Al Duhail
    United States
    Nov 25, 2004
    Doha, Qatar
    Club:
    FL Fart Vang Hedmark
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The thing I find interesting about Vietnam is that their national team is strong by regional standards, but their league is not so much. Yet practically all their players come from the national league. Maybe that's down to foreigners propping up the other leagues or a sound national development system. Oman maybe has a similar situation in the gulf yet some of their players do play in Qatar or UAE at least. Vietnam is almost all local-based players.
     
    Kamtedrejt repped this.
  25. Kamtedrejt

    Kamtedrejt Member+

    Internazionale Milano
    Albania
    Mar 14, 2017
    Hamburg
    Club:
    FC Internazionale Milano
    Nat'l Team:
    Albania
    #25 Kamtedrejt, Apr 13, 2023
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2023
    Yes, I think in the case of Malaysia that their success on club level is mostly down to foreigners. They started even to hand out citizenship to some of these foreign players that have been plying their trade for long time in Malaysia so they could join the national side. Malaysia's national team was in crises but the new additions were one major reason they catched a decent form lately.

    Vietnam's national team success is quite recent. Before the 2019 Asian Cup they were seen by everyone as a third tier side in Asia. A quarterfinal run there plus getting to the final round of World Cup qualifiers have elevated their standing and reputation in the whole of Asia. Some people predict even Vietnam to qualify for the 2026 World Cup. I personally think this program is still not where it needs to be. Philippe Troussier was appointed recently to coach the U22 and the A national team simultaneously. The official and very ambitious target is to qualify for the 2026 World Cup. However Vietnam's success in the last years was built on a low block and quick counters. Troussier started to undertake the project of transitioning Vietnam to a possession based side. Usually a change in style requires some time. It can't be done overnight.
    That's why I don't see Vietnam being able to put forward a serious case for qualification for the 2026 World Cup.

    Regarding Oman. They are currently punching above their weight. I'm not sure if they can keep this up for the 2026 cycle. The domestic league is weak. 85% of Oman's players ply their trade in the domestic league. Another worrying factor is that Oman's youth teams were nowhere to be found in the last youth competitions. That with the national team consisting of mostly ageing players makes me putting them not in the driver seat to fight for a World Cup spot but a category lower.
     

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