FIFA Announces 2014 World Cup Qualifying Opener

Posted June 13th, 2011 at 12:15 pm (UTC-5)
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Qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup football finals in Brazil officially begins Wednesday in Malabar, Trinidad, with a match between Montserrat and Belize.

Preliminary qualification rounds are being held in the North, Central American and Caribbean region and in the Asian Zone this month and next month.

Teams are meeting in two-game playoffs to determine which will join the worldwide qualifying draw set for July 30 in Rio de Janeiro.

FIFA said Monday that the July 27 world rankings will be used for the continental draws with the exception of CONCACAF, which already used the March 2011 rankings for the preliminary qualifying competition.

In March, FIFA decided that the allocations for berths at the 2014 World Cup will be as they were for last year's tournament in South Africa.

Europe will have the most with 13. Africa gets five places, South America has four automatic berths plus host Brazil. Asia has four. CONCACAF has three places.

Two other qualifiers will come from playoffs among teams from South America, CONCACAF, Asia and Oceania.