Seeing as it’s the World Cup, what better way is there to understand the multi-tiered branches of the qualification pecking order than through the awesome power of a world map? This is no ordinary map, either. Using Wikimedia’s imageset as a blueprint, XN Sports has taken MapBox‘s framework to create the interactive image below. With it, users can get a better sense of:
- What nations have qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup (in blue)
- Which ones are still scrambling for position (in light blue)
- The teams that cannot qualify despite having matches left to play (salmon pink)
- Nations that have already been eliminated (red)
- Those that never entered the WC process (purple)
- And the places that aren’t members of the FIFA high society (grey)
(Drag, zoom in or hover over the map’s regions)
[dciframe]http://a.tiles.mapbox.com/v3/balonso.Worldcup1.html#3/40.11/16.35,600,400,0,auto,border:1px solid blue;align:left;width:800px;height:360px;[/dciframe]
As it stands, 14 teams have qualified for the tournament.
- Costa Rica
- South Korea
- United States
That leaves 37 teams jockeying for 18 remaining tickets to the big stage. Once it is determined who those 18 squads are, FIFA will disperse the 32 qualified units across the group stage. There are eight groups in that stage, from letters A to H, composed of four competitively checkered first-rounders. That means that each group is headed by one of the world’s eight best-ranked teams. It makes it enticing to be the world’s best as the competition is arranged in a way that benefits the strong and typically works against the meek. Such is life.
The group winners and runners-up are determined by the following:
- Total points obtained in all group matches
- The goal difference in all group matches played
- And the # of goals they’ve tallied up
The other two squads get to try it all again in four years time.
If there happens to be two or more teams ranked equally based on the above criteria, their next-round eligibility is determined by:
- Points obtained in the matches between the teams at play
- Their goal difference
- The # of goals scored between the teams
- And, finally, a blind drawing by the FIFA Organizing Committee
It then becomes sudden death through the next stages, as in, the Round of 16, the Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals, and, goddamn!, the World Cup Final—in other words, the greatest of all athletic stages.
XN Sports will update the map and provide analysis as the road to the 2014 FIFA World Cup paces forward. The fútbol gods are most pleased.
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