FIFA: Qualifying rounds for 2014 World Cup ready to begin
The first match-up of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign will begin in earnest on Wednesday. Belize and Montserrat, ranked in positions 172 and 202 of FIFA’s World Rankings respectively, will begin the qualification process in the CONCACAF region with a two-legged fixture taking place on June 15th and 19th. The first leg takes place in Trinidad as the Montserrat national team has no adequate facilities to hold the game on the island. The second leg will be played in the Belizean capital of Belmopan on Sunday and the likelihood, looking at the rankings, is that Belize will go through to the next round.
The other four matches in the first qualifying round matches of the CONCACAF region will be played in early July. Anguilla face off against the Dominican Republic, Saint Lucia plays Aruba, the Turks and Caicos Islands are paired against the Bahamas whilst a derby of sorts will be contested between the British Virgin Islands and the US Virgin Islands.
Amongst the other regions the next continent to begin their qualification process will be Asia (AFC) with sixteen teams playing eight two-legged matches from late June to early July. Oceania (OFC) will begin their process in August when the men’s football tournament in the 2011 Pacific Games will also double as the first round of World Cup qualifying. African (CAF) qualifying begins in November, following the completion of the qualification rounds for the 2012 African Cup of Nations. South American (CONMEBOL) qualifying will commence later in the year following this year’s Copa America tournament whilst European (UEFA) qualifying doesn’t get under way until next year after the completion of the UEFA 2012 European Championship tournament finals in Poland and Ukraine.