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    CONCACAF announces new World Cup Qualifying format, schedule changes

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    concacaf announced on Monday a new qualifying format for the 2022 world cup that will involve eight teams in the final round as part of a newly revised international calendar.

    the new schedule also includes the concacaf nations league and the 2021 concacaf gold cup. the revisions were necessitated by the impact of the covid-19 pandemic, which has wreaked havoc on the international schedule due to the cancellation of matches during the international windows of March, June and September.

    Reading: Gold cup world cup qualification

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    the new world cup qualifying format consists of three rounds, with the top five ranked teams in concacaf based on the july 16 fifa rankings (mexico, united states, costa rica, jamaica and honduras) advancing directly to the final round.

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    “many communities in the concacaf region continue to face very difficult circumstances due to the current public health situation and my thoughts and prayers are with them,” said concacaf president victor montagliani. “Given the suspension of the March, June and September FIFA match windows, and with so many of our member associations unable to complete a full FIFA qualifying cycle, previous CONCACAF qualifiers were compromised and a new approach”.

    In a conference call with reporters, Montagliani added that there was some flexibility built into the schedule in case there are additional waves of Covid-19 or increased travel restrictions that result in further postponements. he said additional accessory windows could be added, or a double accessory window could become a triple accessory window. but montagliani added that concacaf has limited ability to use such mechanisms.

    “I’m knocking on wood here when I say this, but if 2021 starts to mimic 2020, then I think it’s not just concacaf that [goes back to] the drawing board, it’s the whole world of football.”

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    The previous format involved a six-team final round involving the top six ranked teams, three of which would qualify directly for the world cup. The fourth-place team would advance to a playoff against the winner of a CONCACAF tournament involving the remaining 29 teams. the winner of that match would have advanced to the intercontinental playoff.

    In the revised format, the first round will involve the 30 teams ranked outside the top five. the teams will be divided into six groups of five teams each, with the winner of each group advancing to the second round. Each team will play four games in the first round, two at home and two away, with the games played in the October and November FIFA international windows.

    The six group winners will advance to a round of playoffs, in which the winner of group a will play the winner of group f, the winner of group b will play the best team in group e, and the winner of group c will will face the first team in group d. each matchup will be played over two stages, with the three winners advancing to the final round to join the top five ranked teams.

    See also: World Cup 2022 Group B draw: England, USA, Iran, Wales schedule & fixtures | Sporting News

    In the final round, the eight teams will play each other home and away for a total of 14 games. the top three finishers will qualify directly for the world cup, with the fourth-place finisher moving on to the intercontinental playoff. matches will start with the fifa match window in June 2021 and continue until March 2022.

    “all teams now have the opportunity to compete for direct access to qatar 2022 and dream of playing in a world cup, while we have also respected the positions of those nations that had already qualified mathematically for the final round under the old system,” Montagliani said.

    The CONCACAF Nations League Semifinals and Final, originally scheduled for June 2020, will now take place in March 2021 in the USA. uu. venue to be determined. the semifinal matchups are mexico vs. costa rica, and the united states. against honduras.

    concacaf also announced that the 2022-23 nations league will start in June 2022 and will conclude in March 2023.

    As for the 2021 gold cup, the 16-team tournament will start on July 10 and the final will be played on August 1. 1.

    the gold cup qualifying tournament was due to be played in the fifa match windows of march 2020 and june 2020, which were suspended. concacaf will now work to create a centralized gold cup preliminary round for the teams that were due to play in that competition.

    See also: How to watch Carabao Cup: Chelsea vs. Liverpool in 2021-2022 League Cup final | Sporting News

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