Official Red Devils 2022 WCQs thread

Discussion in 'Belgium' started by Blondo, Jul 15, 2018.

  1. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    Qatar ... sun, sea and salafism.
    As hosts they'll most likely do a wonderful job, like the Russians did. Let's see first if we can get there. The preliminary draw is next year, July 2019, and in a few days, on 19 July, FIFA will release their new and "improved" ranking. Mainly the Nations League will allow for a bit of movement in the subsequent rankings but it will be as slow as a continental shelf. Belgium should be one of the top seeds during the preliminary draw.

    Bookies have shortened our odds for Qatar 2022 compared to the last World Cup. We're still the ultimate dark horse.

  2. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013

    Belgium, 2nd place (1723 points), 3 points behind France.
    Using the old style ranking Belgium would have been 3rd but with a massive lead over 4th (about 200pts) or 5th (over 300pts) while it's 80 points and less than 100 points, respectively, now.

    With a delay of a month it looks like FIFA have been hard at work to get France the No.1 spot on their new ranking. Luckily for them Tunisia dropped 7 places on the previous (June) ranking/Belgium winning less points in that game. FIFA should have released the starting values ahead of Russia but they like to tinker.

    Somewhat odd that on FIFA's country page for Belgium it says 8 games were played since the June ranking (with 2 friendlies in June). It should be 9, with the win in the friendly against Egypt counted according to the new method.

    With results going our way Belgium could reclaim the Team Of The Year "Award".
    Switzerland being still up there is less harmful to our ranking however our next two games are against Iceland and Scotland who are quite low. France have a tough group, Germany dropped as a brick but OTOH Holland's points total is much closer to France's than it would have been using the old formula.

    Remaining 2018 games:

    7 Sep. ... friendly v. Scotland (away)
    11 Sep. ... NL game v. Iceland (away)

    12 Oct. ... NL game v. Switzerland (home)
    16 Oct. ... friendly v. Holland

    15 Nov. ... NL game v. Iceland (home)
    18 Nov. ... NL game v. Switzerland (away)

    ***2 December: Preliminary Draw EURO2020 (4 NL Final Event participants guaranteed to be drawn into groups of 5 teams). Preferably draw teams that are vastly overvalued ATM and qualify for the NL Final Event.

    2019 games (ahead of the July 2019 Preliminary Draw for Qatar2022):

    21–26 March 2019: 2 ECQ games

    5 - 9 June 2019: Belgium victorious in the NL Final Four (yes, please)
    ... or
    7–8 & 10–11 June: 2 ECQ games (if no NL Final Four and drawn into a group of 6 teams)
  3. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    #3 Blondo, Aug 17, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
    Assuming FIFA opt for 10 WCQ groups, to allow for the 2020/21 Nations League, then Holland (1540pts) are currently on the bubble regarding top seed status. Germany (1561) are 10th now but both them and Holland could easily move up, e.g. take points off France in the NL. Belgium (1723) are 183 points clear of dropping down a pot. With 2 friendlies, 4 NL games, first 2 ECQs + 2 NL Final Four games (or possibly the first 4 ECQs in case we miss out on the NL finals) we should be safe enough and are headed for a top seed in the July 2019 Preliminary Draw.

    Together with Belgium and France I'd also expect Croatia (1643), England (1615) and Spain (1580) to have top seed status. They're in the same NL group and won't harm each other's ranking too badly. It's the group with the smallest points gap but also the highest points average.

    Portugal (1599) face Italy (1532) and Poland (1538) in their NL group. On average this is the weakest group by far, based on the ranking, and like Spain's group the points gap is quite small. Portugal should be able to join the top seeds in July. Currently Poland and Italy don't have to overtake many teams and they'll join Holland in the chasing pack.

    The Swiss (1597) are in our group but that also includes low-ranked Iceland (1471) and they could do some damage. From the League A teams Switzerland, together with Germany, are in danger of dropping down to pot 2. In League B, Denmark and especially Sweden are the most likely candidates to be replaced in the current top 10 and be overtaken by the likes of Holland, Italy, Poland, Wales, ... (these last two still profit from gaming the rankings before WC2018).

    Nations League groups ... points dif. top and bottom sides ... group average

    Belgium's group ..................... 252 (Belgium - Iceland) ............... 1597
    Germany's group ................... 186 (France - Holland) ................. 1609
    Spain's group ........................... 63 (Croatia - Spain) .................... 1613
    Portugal's group ...................... 67 (Portugal - Italy) .................... 1556


    - France, Belgium, Croatia, England, Portugal and probably Spain will be among the top seeds.
    - Germany, Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden are the most likely candidates to drop down to pot 2.
    - Holland, Italy, Poland, Wales, ... would have to overtake them in the next 10 or so games.
  4. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    In friendlies, as in these sort of games we somewhat have a choice picking the opponent and having home advantage or not, you stand to win/lose from the recent introduction of the new ranking method. Currently there are plenty of sides vastly over/undervalued. Simply avoid playing the undervalued ones and go for the overvalued ones instead. After a few years the points totals are expected to stabilize.

    These two friendlies were played before the introduction of the new method but the results, two wins, already were counted using the new formula. There were better options but our opponents weren't the worst picks either:

    - Costa Rica (23th in June, converted to new method: 1512pts)
    - Egypt (45th in June, converted to new method: 1424pts)

    The friendlies that we'll play in the upcoming months were already arranged before the new method was known:

    - Scotland (1444) ... more than enough better options out there. Could even prepared for our NL opener against Iceland in another nearby country like N.Ireland (1492) or better yet Denmark (1580) or Sweden (1565).
    - Holland (1540) ... always nice to play a derby. Let's hope they take points off their NL opponents first.

    The ranking is currently littered with interesting picks. I hope the Belgian FA, for once, makes the best of our dates for friendlies.
  5. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    In case FIFA's new ranking method had been introduced ahead of World Cup 2014, you can see below how many points teams would have added to their August 2018 totals (teams in red would have had fewer points). The teams in bold are Belgium's opponents in the last 6 games of 2018.

    1. France 112
    2. Belgium 100
    3. Brazil 144
    4. Croatia 50
    5. Uruguay 42
    6. England 87
    7. Portugal 119
    8. Switzerland 51
    9. Spain 112
    10. Denmark - 10
    11. Argentina 134
    12. Chile 78
    13. Sweden 9
    14. Colombia 99
    15. Germany 186
    16. Mexico 123
    17. Holland 67
    18. Poland - 28
    19. Wales - 19

    20. Peru 21
    21. Italy 74
    27. N.Ireland - 110 (go down 20)
    32. Iceland - 9 (go down 8 places)

    40. Scotland 42 (go up 10 places)
    *41. Montenegro - 72 (go down 32 places)

    Instead of a friendly with Scotland (away), playing the team just below them, Montenegro, plus home advantage would have been better for ranking purposes. As I said before "another nearby country like N.Ireland (1492) or better yet Denmark (1580) or Sweden (1565)" would have been fine choices (even for away games). Now that the NL has been added to the calendar there's only a limited amount of friendlies that can be penciled in during the current window of opportunity (in which overvalued teams are expected to spill points and undervalued ones can make hay).
  6. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    Matches before the July 2019 Preliminary Draw ....... Win ..... Draw ..... Loss

    - 1 friendly v. Scotland (with I = 10) ......................... + 2,55 .... - 2,45 .... - 7,45
    The next opponents will have won/lost points but that hardly has any impact for when Belgium plays them, rounded points now
    - 1 friendly v. Holland (with I = 10) ............................ + 3 ......... - 2 ........ - 7
    - 2 NL group games v. Iceland (with I = 15) ............. + 4 ......... - 3 ........ - 11*
    - 2 NL group games v. Switzerland (with I = 15) ...... + 6 ......... - 2 ......... - 9*
    - 4 games in 2019 with I = 25: TBD**

    *that's for each game, e.g. 2 x 4 when you win both NL group games v. Iceland
    **Preliminary Draw EURO2020 seeded based on the 2018/19 NL overall ranking (last League A game on 20 Nov.; draw on 2 Dec.), 4 NL Final Event participants guaranteed to be drawn into groups of 5 teams (Final Draw NL2019 in early Dec.)

    Playing a higher ranked team in our first friendly could earn us a point or two more than a win against Scotland (and less risk of harming our ranking), with the gaps as small as they currently are we'd be able to get a higher points total than France have now ... still it's excruciatingly slow, compared to the responsiveness of the old method the new one will take getting used to. Draws were almost as bad as losses in the old formula. Now a draw can help high-ranked teams avoid a "big" points loss while it doesn't help the lower-ranked teams gain much points. Maybe it's best that teams that are ranked much lower than their opponents start playing for a win instead of a draw.

    Best case scenario at the end of 2018 = 1748 (+ 25 points from 6 wins) and FIFA TOTY / worst case = 1668 (- 55 from 6 losses) and Croatia overtakes us (have to win all their games; England and so on can't overtake us even if they win every game). Max. points that can be gained + max. points that can be lost = 80 or the combined I factor from these 6 games. In other words Belgium have to put 55pts at stake to win a max. of 25pts. The combined I factor for the 4 games in 2019 = 100 and let's say Belgium will have to put 70pts at stake to win a max. of 30pts.
  7. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    Winning all games Belgium would currently average about:

    - 3 points/game in friendlies
    - 4-5 in the NL League stage (Sep.-Nov. 2018)
    - 7-8 in the ECQs and/or NL Finals (Mar.-Nov. 2019)
    - 7-8 in the WCQs
    - 15 in the EUROs
    - 21 in the World Cup (probably less if there's enough movement in the rankings prior to Qatar 2022)

    Once gaps widen and points totals better reflect comparative strengths of teams these averages go down and the averages for losses go up. For example, the averages for friendlies could then be 2 points/game for wins and - 8 for losses.

    Considering about 80% of games are intra-confed affairs European teams better keep feeding points into UEFA. The NL hardly was given any importance (I = 15; only 4 KO games with I = 25) and unlike some other confeds UEFA only holds the one final competition every four years, i.e. other confeds benefitting more from points inflation, especially when there are more KO round upsets.
  8. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    A reminder, a few dates:

    - Qualification format to be disclosed: late March 2019 (around the start of the ECQs)?
    - Preliminary Draw: 28 July 2019
    - Start of WCQs: late March 2021?
    - Play-offs: late March 2022?
    - Final Draw: April 2022
    - World Cup: 21 Nov. - 18 Dec. 2022

    Possibly the WCQ format includes ten groups, to allow for the 2020/21 Nations League and nine groups would require a group of seven teams, with only the ten group winners qualifying directly/play-offs for the three remaining spots. Seeding based on FIFA's Ranking of July 2019. Five pots with ten teams and one pot with five (NL Final Event participants guaranteed to be drawn into groups of five teams). The format could be largely the same as for the 2020 ECQs. In case the WCQs will also be linked to the NL then those three play-off berths could be contested by twelve teams from the NL that didn't qualify directly (as group winners in the classic WCQs). FIFA wouldn't like minnows from UEFA at their flagship event so it could be the highest ranked teams from the overall ranking instead ones from the lower leagues. Three seeded Final Four competitions with the twelve best, yet to qualify, teams to decide the the last three berths.
  9. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    The race for top seeds:

    - Belgium, France, Croatia, England, Portugal, Switzerland, Spain and Denmark are (basically) nailed on
    - Germany (9th on 1555pts) and Holland (10th/1550pts) are closest to joining the top seeds, especially in case of 10 (or more) groups
    - Sweden (11th/1548), Wales (12th/1538) and Italy (13th/1533) make up the chasing pack
  10. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    As I expected the WCQs will consist of 10 groups with only the group winners qualifying directly/play-offs for the 3 remaining berths. Also, the NL's 2nd season will probably be linked to the WCQs. The 3 remaining berths would be contested by 12 teams (10 runners-up + 2 teams from the NL), 4 teams in each of the 3 play-off paths with semis and finals both being one-legged affairs. UEFA expects to finalize its World Cup qualifying format around Sep. 24.

    That's 5 pots with 10 teams and 1 pot with 5 (NL finals participants guaranteed to be drawn into groups of 5 teams). Seeding will most likely be based on FIFA's ranking but UEFA teams won't be in the July 2019 preliminary draw. Possibly the draw will go ahead once the NL's 2nd edtion League Stage has been completed in Nov. 2020.

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