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United States World Cup qualification page: questions, answers and links

Sep 12, 2013, 1:00 PM EDT

Mexico v United States - FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier Getty Images

I’ve gotten the same questions a few times since Jurgen Klinsmann and Co. got their official invitation to the 2014 World Cup. So, let’s run through them. (Followed by the ProSoccerTalk pieces from the last two days, which should answer any other questions about whys and wherefores as your United States national team qualified for its seventh consecutive World Cup.

Do the final CONCACAF standings impact World Cup seeding?

Here’s the deal when it comes to FIFA and World Cup seedings and how they are determined before teams are drawn into groups: FIFA folks pretty much do whatever they want. (And they will do it just before the December draw.)

They decide what’s best ostensibly for the tournament (or maybe for FIFA, I’m not really even sure) and then backtrack on the methodology until they arrive where they want to be. That’s my theory, anyway.

So, no … not much. Perhaps marginally if they use the FIFA World Rankings as part of the formula.

Q: Did Clint Dempsey miss that penalty kick on purpose?

Spend any time at all with Dempsey and you will know that he is all about soccer. (Well, fishing, too … but mostly soccer.) It’s a serious game to him, serious business. He approaches it honestly.

So, no. I never suspected for a second that he did. Why in the world would he? (No, not even for the sake of “Dos a cero.” My guess if he had scored: He would run to the crowd and say “Tres a cero!”) Besides, in post-game comments he said he didn’t miss on purpose. And he probably wondered why anyone would even ask such a thing.

Q: Will Mexico make it?

Best guess, 50-50. Third-place Honduras has a home game against already qualified Costa Rica, then a road game against bottom-of-group Jamaica. That’s ample opportunity for points collection, so I see Honduras keeping its lead on Mexico.

That means Mexico has to collect more points than Panama – just to get 4th-place and that playoff spot against New Zealand!

ProSoccerTalk posts on U.S. qualification for World Cup Brazil 2014:

  1. hildezero - Sep 12, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    “So, no … not much. Perhaps marginally if they use the FIFA World Rankings as part of the formula.”

    Yes, FIFA does uses it.

    • Steve Davis - Sep 12, 2013 at 1:38 PM

      They have in the past, but not always. I expect that they will this time, as they say … but it could be such a small measure of the equation as to have minimal influence.

      • boscoesworld - Sep 12, 2013 at 4:43 PM

        I hope for the day that the “Group of Death” is called that BECAUSE of the USNT not in spite of it!

  2. Dan Haug - Sep 12, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    Great post, Steve!

    I know that most of the time I comment on here it’s to disagree with something you guys have written. Just wanted to give you some props for all three parts of this post. I think they’re all right on the money.

    I’m especially happy to see the discussion of WC finals seeding. this has always frustrated me. It seems like a competition like this should set the rules beforehand rather than jiggering things after the fact to try to setup the more marketable match-ups. At the same time, I understand that no system is perfect, so sometimes it’s nice to have some leeway (the France situation in 2010 being a perfect example).

  3. dfstell - Sep 12, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    Ha…..I love it. FIFA has these weird rankings to begin with and then doesn’t necessarily use them to rank the teams. :)

  4. hildezero - Sep 12, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    @Steve,

    Yeah. A lot of people are expecting that.

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