Now the World Cup route will be a little more difficult for the teams in the region. Author: CONCACAF
The Confederation of North American, Central American and Caribbean Football (Koncacaf) recently announced that its Council has agreed to several changes to the format of the men’s competition between 2023 and 2026.
As indicated on the official website of CONCACAF, the League of Nations (CNL), which will start its 2023-2024 campaign next September and run until March 2024, will include more direct knockout matches in order to distribute tickets for regional and continental summer competitions.
While it will still have the original divisions (A, B and C), the 41 participants will be placed according to their position in the previous course.
As for League A, now it will include 16 teams instead of the 12 that are currently available. Everything will start with the group stage, which will be attended by a dozen of the lowest squads, divided into two brackets of six contenders.
Each team will play four matches (two home and two away), and after this stage is over, the two leaders of each section will advance to the top eight round, where the top four teams of the confederation will wait.
The quarter-finals will be two-legged qualifiers and the winners will advance to the “Final Four” in addition to qualifying for the 2024 America’s Cup.
For its part, Liga B will retain its format of 16 teams divided into four groups of four to play six games.
There will then be nine competitors in League C, divided into three groups with the same number of participants, each of which will meet four times.
Due to the expansion of League A, this edition of CNL will only have promotions.
Already for 2023-2024, the drawing of which will take place in May, the increase and decrease will be as follows:
- Fifth and sixth place in each group of League A go to B
- The four leaders of the group in League B go to A, while the bottom four go to C.
- The top three from League C plus the best runner-up advance to League B.
Meanwhile, the 2024-2025 edition will be held on FIFA days in September, October and November 2024, and the determination will take place in March 2025.
More tickets to give away
As already known, the next version of the America’s Cup, which will be held in the United States, will be attended by six CONCACAF teams as guests. The sextet will consist of the four winners of the 2023–2024 CNL Quarter-Finals, with the four who lose those matches going into a play-off in search of the two remaining tickets.
The other major qualifiers are the 2026 World Cup qualifiers hosted by Mexico, Canada and the United States. Since these three host nations have already been classified, there will be three straight places and one more pairing that will depend on the intercontinental playoff with which Koncacafe can have up to eight representatives in this planetary competition.
The classification system will be as follows:
- In the first round, the four lowest ranked teams will face each other in a doubles match.
- The second round will include the two squads that came out of the first and the remaining 28 squads in the area. Six groups of five will be formed and two pointers from each will move forward.
- 12 teams divided into four draws will take part in the third and final stage. The three winners of each section will qualify to play in the World Cup, while the top two finalists will advance to the Intercontinental Playoffs.
At the moment, the only tournament whose route has yet to be determined is the 2025 Gold Cup.
Source: Juventud Rebelde