The World Cup in Brazil is still nearly two years away but the qualifying process to decide the 31 countries that will join hosts Brazil in the finals has been running since June 2011. On this week’s report we take a look at how each of the FIFA Federations decide which teams will qualify for the Brazil 2014 World Cup. You can listen to the report by clicking on the link below, while vocabulary support (in bold) appears at the foot of the report.
Though the next World Cup in Brazil is still almost two years away the qualifying rounds to see which teams will play in the finals in 2014 started way back in June 2011. Indeed, 75 of the 203 teams that entered the competition have already been eliminated. With Brazil qualifying as hosts, this week’s main report looks at how the remaining 31 spots will be filled.
Europe is the biggest and most powerful federation which can be seen from the fact that it provides the most qualifiers: 13. The 53 teams are divided into 9 different groups – eight of which will have six teams competing and one group having only five teams. All nine group winners will qualify directly with the remaining places being filled by four of the eight best runners-up after a series of play-offs. Though competitive – Group I sees France and World Cup holders Spain drawn together – it is unlikely that any of the ‘big names‘ will miss out
After a series of knock-out matches the number of teams from the Asian region has been reduced from 43 to only ten. This has left two groups of five with the top two teams from each of these groups qualifying for Brazil. The best-placed fifth team will have to face the fifth team from South America to make it through. Currently Japan and South Korea lead the two groups and look odds-on favourites to qualify, while it is expected that any two from Australia, Iran and Iraq will join them.
North and Central America (CONCACAF)
Currently there are twelve countries still in with a chance of qualifying for the finals of 2014 and they are divided into three groups. The top two in each of these groups will go on to form a final group of six teams with the top three in this group directly qualifying for Brazil and the fourth-placed side involved in a play-off against the Oceania winners. Mexico, The USA and Panama currently lead the groups and should qualify for the final stage along with Costa Rica, Canada and possibly Jamaica.
South America (CONMEBOL)
With Brazil already qualified as hosts the remaining nine countries play a league system with the top four sides joining Brazil while the fifth-placed team will be involved in a play-off with a team from Africa. Chile currently lead the table and they should make it to Brazil along with Argentina, Uruguay and maybe one from Venezuela, Ecuador and Paraguay.
52 sides are battling it out for five places at the 2014 World Cup finals. There are currently ten groups of four teams with only the top sides going through to the final round which is made up of a set of two-legged knock-out matches. Most of the big sides should make it to this knock-out stage though recent African champions Zambia face Ghana in what is the group of death in the African section.
Only four teams remain in this section with the top team at the end of the group playing off against the fourth-best team in the CONCACAF region. Currently New Zealand are favourites though they will struggle to make it through to Brazil 2014.
have already been eliminated: Some teams have been knocked-out
competing: Taking part in
places being filled: To fill the places = to qualify (the place means qualification)
competitive: This group will be close – the teams in the group are of a similar level
‘big names‘: The favourites for example Germany, Italy and Spain
to face : To play against
odds-on favourites: Complete favourites, strong favourites
are battling it out for: Fighting to qualify